Following one of the most grueling legislative sessions in Florida history, new statewide polling conducted by Progress Florida and Florida Watch, collectively known as the Florida Communications and Research Hub (Hub), shows that Floridians are dissatisfied with the agenda carried out by Governor Ron DeSantis and legislators in Tallahassee. While Floridians cited housing-related costs as some of the top causes of financial stress in their lives (36% select the cost of home and auto insurance and 22% select the cost of housing overall), research indicates they did not believe these issues were properly addressed.
Before the session began, previous statewide polling by the Hub in February showed comfortable approval for both Governor Ron DeSantis (60% approve / 40% disapprove) and the Florida Legislature (49% favorable / 40% unfavorable). However, as the legislative session drew to a close, public opinion of the Governor’s net job approval dropped by 19 points (50% approve / 49% disapprove) and the Florida Legislature is now underwater among Floridians (43% favorable / 47% unfavorable). Additionally, while a plurality of Floridians said the state was on the right track in February (46% right track / 42% wrong track), a majority now believe the state is headed in the wrong direction (42% right track / 50% wrong track).
The Hub surveyed 2,713 registered voters in Florida from April 26-May 3, 2023, as Florida’s legislative session came to a close, with a margin of error of ±1.85% at 95% confidence. Results have been weighted to reflect registered voters in Florida by gender, race, age, geography, and party registration as of the latest report (37% Republican / 34% Democrat / 28% NPA).
“While Florida’s affordability crisis deepened, with the cost of housing, property and auto insurance, and utility rates continuing to skyrocket, Governor Ron DeSantis and his legislative allies focused on a divisive agenda that did not address the real issues facing the people of our state,” said Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo. “It’s no surprise an agenda based on the political ambitions of an absentee Governor and carried out by a rubber stamp legislature proved unpopular to Floridians worried about keeping a roof over their heads. When we look back on this legislative session, it is clear Floridians do not believe that Gov. DeSantis and legislative leaders focused on the priorities they believed would improve their lives.”
The Hub’s polling also showed that the top two issues concerning Floridians, aside from economic ones facing the state, were gun violence (37%) and access to abortion care (34%). However, the policies passed during the session concerning these issues were highly unpopular, with the state’s near-total abortion ban (41% support / 56% oppose) and permitless carry of concealed guns (20% support / 78% oppose) opposed by majorities of Floridians. As Ron DeSantis prepares to launch a campaign for president, overwhelming majorities of Floridians oppose new legislation allowing the Governor and legislative leaders to conceal their travel records from the public (8% support / 86% oppose) and changing the state’s “resign-to-run” law (31% support / 60% oppose).
“Every Floridian deserves the freedom to be healthy, prosperous, and safe, but Governor Ron DeSantis and legislators in Tallahassee spent this session attacking those rights,” said Florida Watch Executive Director Josh Weierbach. “The people of our state are overwhelmingly opposed to allowing politicians to dictate private medical decisions and to putting public safety at risk by stripping away training requirements and background checks for concealed carry of guns, but those policies were centerpieces of Governor Ron DeSantis’ and the Florida Legislature’s anti-freedom agenda. We deserve leaders who put protecting our freedoms first, not those focused on political agendas that put public safety and our rights in jeopardy.”
The full memo from the Hub’s Research Department can be seen below.
Date: May 17, 2023
To: Interested Parties
From: Annika Ramnath, Director of Research and Polling
Re: New Statewide Polling
A new statewide poll from Florida Watch and Progress Florida, collectively known as the Florida Communications and Research Hub (Hub), weighted to reflect registered voters (R+3), shows Floridians are unhappy with the state of the state. Currently, a majority of Florida’s electorate says the state is headed on the wrong track – a 12-point swing from the Hub’s polling in mid-February, just weeks before the start of the 2023 Legislative Session.
Concurrently, the Florida Legislature and Governor face significant decreases in favorability and approval. The Legislature, which Floridians viewed favorably in February (49% favorable / 40% unfavorable), is now underwater (43% favorable / 47% unfavorable), and the Governor’s approval rating has dropped from +20 to +1. This plummet can be attributed to erosion among Democrats (-38 pts), NPAs (-16 pts), women (-12 pts), Latinos (-14 pts) – notably Cuban-Americans (-12 pts) – and Black Floridians (-37 pts).
Floridians’ discontent appears to be confined to state government. In terms of partisanship, a majority of Floridians continue to identify as Republican (51% Republican / 41% Democrat now vs. 50% Republican / 40% Democrat in February) and public opinion around federal officials remains relatively stable:
- President Joe Biden: 41% approve / 58% disapprove now vs. 38% approve / 60% disapprove in February
- Senator Marco Rubio: 45% favorable / 45% unfavorable now vs. 46% favorable / 45% unfavorable in February
- Senator Rick Scott: 37% favorable / 48% unfavorable now vs. 40% favorable / 48% unfavorable in February
Floridians cite housing-related costs as some of the leading causes of financial stress in their lives (36% select the cost of home and auto insurance and 22% select the cost of housing) and strongly disapprove of the job Governor DeSantis is doing when it comes to making housing more affordable (38% approve / 49% disapprove).
Aside from economic issues, Floridians say the top two issues facing the state are gun violence (37%) and access to abortion care (34%) out of a series of issues including wokeness (31%), illegal immigration (28%), and election integrity (13%). Most Floridians say they disapprove of the Governor’s handling of the issue of abortion (43% approve / 53% disapprove).
Moreover, several key bills passed in the 2023 Legislative Session are opposed by a majority of Floridians.
Survey of 2,713 registered voters in Florida from April 26-May 3, 2023 with a margin of error of ±1.85% at 95% confidence. Results have been weighted to reflect registered voters in Florida by gender, race, age, geography, and party registration as of the latest report (37% Republican / 34% Democrat / 28% NPA).
References to February/pre-session polling reflect a survey of 2,024 registered voters in Florida from February 6-14, 2023 with a margin of error of ±2.14% at 95% confidence.