As states face decisions on when to reopen, Florida voters say 72 – 22 percent that Florida should NOT loosen social distancing rules by the end of April, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. About three quarters of registered voters, 76 percent, say that the state’s economy should only reopen when public health officials deem it safe, compared to 17 percent who say it should reopen even if public health officials warn against it.
“The state’s stay-at-home order is scheduled to expire at the end of the month of April, but nearly three quarters of Floridians are not ready to drop their guard,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.
Florida voters also do not expect the coronavirus crisis to end quickly:
- 49 percent expect the crisis to last a few months;
- 26 percent expect the crisis to last more than a year;
- 18 percent expect the crisis to last a few weeks.
GOVERNOR DESANTIS AND THE CORONAVIRUS
Half of Florida voters, 50 – 41 percent, approve of the way Governor Ron DeSantis is handling the coronavirus response, with wide partisan gaps. Republicans approve 81 – 14 percent, Democrats disapprove 64 – 28 percent, and independents are split with 45 percent approving and 45 percent disapproving. The governor’s overall job approval is a positive 53 – 33 percent rating.
Still, about six out of ten voters, 61 percent, say Governor DeSantis could have responded sooner to the coronavirus outbreak while 34 percent say he responded quickly enough. And voters disapprove 52 – 43 percent of his decision to exempt religious services from Florida’s stay-at-home order.
PRESIDENT TRUMP AND THE CORONAVIRUS
President Trump gets a slightly negative approval rating from Florida voters for the way he is handling the response to the coronavirus, with 46 percent approving and 51 percent disapproving. He gets a nearly identical overall job approval rating, with 45 percent approving of the way he is handling his job as president, while 51 percent disapprove. This is the best job approval rating Trump has received in Florida by a hair, with a negative 44 – 51 percent as his previous high in June 2019.
THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Florida voters don’t have a clear favorite in the upcoming presidential election. If the election for president were being held today, former Vice President Joe Biden would get 46 percent of the vote, while Trump would get 42 percent. The candidates are holding their bases just about equally well, as Biden wins among Democrats 91 – 4 percent and Trump wins among Republicans 89 – 7 percent. The race is close among the key swing group, independents, with Biden getting 44 percent of the vote and Trump receiving 37 percent.
“Even in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, Florida delivers a familiar deja vu in the head to head presidential race. It’s Biden, but it’s close as independents play a huge potential role. Sound familiar?” added Malloy.
Voters hold a mixed view of Biden and a negative view of Trump, but their favorability ratings are moving in different directions. Trump is viewed favorably by 43 percent of voters, while 50 percent view him unfavorably – a new high favorability for the president in Florida. This compares to March 2019, when Trump had a negative 40 – 52 percent favorability rating. Biden is viewed favorably by 43 percent of voters, while 40 percent view him unfavorably. However, this is down from a positive 49 – 35 percent favorability rating in March 2019.
While Florida voters think Trump would do a better job handling the economy than Biden, 50 – 44 percent, they think Biden would do a better job handling health care than Trump 54 – 39 percent, and think Biden would do a better job handling a crisis than Trump 50 – 43 percent.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS
When asked who voters rely on most for accurate information about the coronavirus:
- 62 percent of voters say public health officials;
- 18 percent say President Trump;
- 8 percent say Governor DeSantis;
- 4 percent say “your mayor.”
There are clear partisan divides on who voters rely on most to get accurate information about the coronavirus. Large majorities of Democrats, 79 percent, and independents, 66 percent, say that they rely most on public health officials. Republicans, however, are split: 39 percent rely most on public health officials and 37 percent rely most on President Trump.
“Voters make it very clear they want guidance on navigating the crisis not from the White House or the State House in Tallahassee, but from public health officials,” added Malloy.
When asked who they rely on least for accurate information about the coronavirus:
- 47 percent of voters say President Trump;
- 21 percent say “your mayor;”
- 13 percent say public health officials;
- 8 percent say Governor DeSantis.
Almost eight in ten, 79 percent, of Florida voters are either very or somewhat concerned that they or someone they know will be infected with the coronavirus. However, when it comes to the level of concern, there are wide gaps among political parties, race, and age.
Among the very concerned:
- 68 percent of Democrats, compared to 32 percent of Republicans and 40 percent of independents;
- 66 percent of black voters, compared to 42 percent of white voters and 47 percent of Hispanic voters;
- 53 percent of voters aged 65 and older, compared to 35 percent of voters aged 18 to 34.
Concerns about being hospitalized because of the coronavirus are also high, with 70 percent of voters either very or somewhat concerned that they or someone in their family will need to be hospitalized because of the coronavirus.
Leading among the very concerned:
- 63 percent of black voters, compared to 33 percent of white voters and 41 percent of Hispanic voters;
- 58 percent of Democrats, compared to 24 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of independents.
Most voters, 81 percent, say people should wear a face mask or face covering when inside a store, while 15 percent say people should not be wearing them.
UNEMPLOYMENT AND THE ECONOMY
Florida voters are split on Governor DeSantis’ handling of the unemployment situation in Florida, as 41 percent approve and 41 percent disapprove.
Four in ten voters, 40 percent, say they feel financially strapped because of the coronavirus crisis, while 58 percent say they do not.
When asked to describe the state of Florida’s economy, 45 percent of voters say excellent or good and 51 percent say not so good or poor. This compares to a March 2019 poll, in which 71 percent of voters said the economy was excellent or good, while 27 percent said not so good or poor.
1,385 self-identified registered voters in Florida were surveyed from April 16 – 20 with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts gold standard surveys using random digit dialing with live interviewers calling landlines and cell phones. The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts nationwide surveys and polls in more than a dozen states on national and statewide elections, as well as public policy issues.
Visit poll.qu.edu or www.facebook.com/quinnipiacpoll