High Support for Restoring Felon Voting Rights Among Likely Voters
The Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida has a new poll of likely voters that reveals Andrew Gillum in the lead for the upcoming gubernatorial election in Florida, with Ron DeSantis close behind, and Sen. Bill Nelson locked in a dead heat with Gov. Rick Scott in the upcoming Senate election for the state of Florida. The survey also shows that a supermajority of respondents support restoring the voting rights of individuals with felony convictions after they have served their sentences.
The poll, comprised of likely Florida voters, shows that 47 percent of respondents plan to vote for Gillum, the Democratic candidate in the upcoming election for Florida governor, while 43 percent plan to vote for the Republican candidate, DeSantis.
Of those likely voters, 10 percent don’t know who their choice will be. Among Democrats, 85 percent indicate they plan to vote for Gillum, 6 percent for DeSantis and 9 percent don’t know where they’ll cast their vote. Eleven percent of Republican likely voters say they will vote for Gillum, while 81 percent indicate they’ll vote for DeSantis; eight percent don’t know.
Regarding the upcoming U.S. Senate race, when asked who they would vote for if the election were held today, 45 percent of likely voters indicated they would vote for Nelson, the Democratic candidate, 45 percent would vote for Scott, the Republican, and 8 percent didn’t know. Of Democratic likely voters, 78 percent claim they will vote for Nelson, while 9 percent for Scott; thirteen percent don’t know. Among Republican respondents, 12 percent say they will vote for Nelson, 83 percent for Scott and 4 percent don’t know.
“It’s still early in the election season and even though Gillum has a small lead, a lot can happen in the next six weeks. Nelson and Scott are currently tied, but one bit of hope for Nelson is that more Democrats are unsure who they will vote for and partisans will come home in November,” said Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF. “With polling numbers this close, the candidates that are most successful getting their voters to the polls are the ones who are going to win. Historically, Florida has had very close statewide elections, and this year is shaping up to be no different.”
Additionally, the poll reveals that respondents show high support for restoring felon voting rights. When asked whether they would vote “yes” or “no” on a proposition to restore the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions, 71 percent of likely voters claimed they would vote “yes” on the proposition, with 21 percent voting “no.” Only 8 percent didn’t know how they would vote. Regarding race, 82 percent of African-American respondents indicated they would vote “yes” on the amendment, while 69 percent of white respondents and 65 percent of Hispanic respondents claimed they would vote “yes” on the proposition.
“These results reflect the status of African-Americans as the population most directly affected by Florida’s felon disenfranchisement laws,” said Dr. Natasha Christie, chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at UNF. “With such a large majority of likely voters saying they would vote “yes” on Amendment 4, this indicates views on this issue are becoming more progressive overall throughout the state, regardless of race.”
When asked about the most important problem in Florida, education—20 percent—led the way, followed closely by health care and environment with 18 percent. “Democrats across the state have been highlighting both health care and the environment, a message that appears to resonate with a lot of voters,” Binder noted.
For details about the methodology of the survey and additional crosstabs by partisanship, sex, education, race and age, click here.