New FAU Poll Delves Into Florida Voters’ Opinions
New FAU Poll Delves Into Florida Voters’ Opinions
In the dynamic political landscape of Florida, a recent poll by the Florida Atlantic University Mainstreet PolCom Lab sheds light on the sentiments among registered voters, revealing intriguing trends that could shape the political future of the state and country.
Floridians Prefer Trump over Biden
The poll found that 49 percent of Florida voters would cast their ballots in favor of former U.S. President Donald Trump, compared to 39 percent for U.S President Joe Biden. This 10 percent lead mirrors the results of a July survey issued by the FAU PolCom Lab, indicating a stability in voter preferences that may persist until the election.
Biden grapples with a significant approval deficit, with only 36 percent of registered Florida voters expressing a positive view of his job performance. Conversely, a substantial 62 percent view his performance negatively. In contrast, the survey shows that Trump continues to command a formidable presence in Florida politics; approximately 43 percent of respondents view him favorably, maintaining a solid base of support despite facing challenges on multiple fronts.
“The continued interest in Trump by voters isn’t just staying power of a celebrity candidate,” said Robert E. Gutsche, Jr., Ph.D., associate professor in FAU’s School of Communication and Multimedia Studies who researches Trump’s presidency. “Seemingly, he is just the kind of candidate these voters want in how he talks, what he talks about, and how he sees the world.”
Male voters exhibit an 18 percent higher inclination toward Trump, while whites and Hispanics express greater support compared to their Black counterparts. Regionally, the Northwestern panhandle emerges as a Trump stronghold, garnering around 65 percent support, while Palm Beach County lags at approximately 41 percent.
Most respondents consider Trump’s legal issues important to their vote choice, the poll shows. However, a marginal 3 percent difference between the two candidates suggests that, as of now, legal issues are unlikely to significantly sway voter preferences in Florida.
“Trump’s legal challenges appear to have little bearing on his electoral prospects in the state,” said Dukhong Kim, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at FAU.
Biden Plagued by Age Perceptions. Trump Is Not.
While Trump evades significant age-related scrutiny, Biden is plagued by doubts about his fitness for a presidential rerun, with 67 percent of respondents expressing concerns. This sentiment is strongest among Republicans (86 percent) compared to Democrats (51 percent), underscoring the enduring nature of age-related critiques on Biden. This is in sharp contrast to the much smaller percentage of voters (33 percent) who felt Trump was too old to run. Younger voters (18 to 34) were more likely than older voters (35 and older) to believe both candidates were too old for office.
“This gap is likely driven in part by the perception that Trump is more energetic, as well as the former president’s frequent activity on social media,” said Kevin Wagner, Ph.D., professor of political science at FAU. “Part of it is driven by Trump’s frequent labeling of the president as ‘Sleepy Joe.’ The concerns about Joe Biden’s age are likely a major reason his support lags in Florida and why he trails both Trump and DeSantis in head-to-head matchups.”
Contrasting Trajectories and Divides in the Republican Primary Race
Amid the Republican primary race, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finds himself struggling to narrow the gap with Trump, despite some positive reviews in the primary debates. Even among his strongest demographic, college-educated white voters, DeSantis trails Trump by a notable margin of nine points, the poll reveals. Nikki Haley shows signs of progress in Florida, but she remains in the shadows of both Trump and DeSantis.
“To emerge as a formidable contender, Haley must generate early momentum from pivotal states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, compelling Florida’s Republican voters to take a closer look,” Wagner said. “In contrast, Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign in Florida appears to be faltering, with support dwindling in the Sunshine State. Although it’s early in the race, the trajectory of his campaign does not bode well for future success.”
Support for Israel Strong, but Shows Weakness
Strong bipartisan support for Israelis remains across all age groups, genders and education levels although it is weakest among 18 to 35 year olds, the poll shows. For those in that age group, 35 percent said they do not know if they have sympathy for either group, while 34 percent supported Israel and 30 percent put their support behind Palestine.
“What is particularly notable here is that the number of these younger voters who have no sympathy for either group or don’t know is greater than even those who support Israelis or Palestinians,” said Rachel Harris, Ph.D., Gimelstob Eminent Scholar Chair for Judaic Studies at FAU. “This suggests that there is a gap in historical knowledge about the conflict and the situation in the Middle East among this younger group.”
The only group where support for Palestinians is greater is among Black voters, although that shows a greater degree of ambivalence across all categories.
“This may speak to efforts among activists since the 1970s parallel the African American experience with the Palestinian experience,” Harris said.
Complex Views on Unions
The FAU PolCom poll reveals complex public sentiment toward labor unions, with 55 percent of respondents expressing support, while 19 percent opposed and 23 percent were undecided. The data unravels a distinctly partisan pattern, with approximately 82 percent of union supporters aligning with Democrats in stark contrast to the 31 percent of Republicans in favor.
“Florida is a right-to-work state, meaning that the state has legislation that prevents union enrollment from being used as a condition of employment,” said Luzmarina Garcia, Ph.D., a political science professor at FAU. “A small percentage of union members in the sample is to be expected along with less support of unions generally. This is due to less union members overall, leading to less organizing, as well as the Republican majority in the state which is thought of as the party opposing unions.”
Nevertheless, the research underscores a majority in the sample supporting unions, underscoring the intricate and nuanced nature of public sentiment. Black and Hispanic respondents notably displayed higher support, at rates of 62 percent and 58 percent, respectively. Conversely, white college-educated respondents stood out as more likely to oppose unions, constituting 24 percent of the opposition. Union membership tallied at 8 percent of respondents, primarily comprised of Democrats.
Across age groups, only 6 percent of young voters (18 to 34) opposed unions, a noteworthy contrast to the doubled or tripled opposition observed in other age brackets. The recent writers’ strike, revolving around concerns about streaming’s impact on compensation and AI’s influence on the future of work, could have played a role in shaping attitudes, particularly among the younger demographic.
This poll was conducted from Friday, Oct. 27 to Saturday, Nov. 11, among a sample of 946 adults living in Florida. The survey was conducted using text message recruitment to complete the survey. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.2 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.