New Surveys from Saint Leo Highlight National and State Politics and Policies

March 28, 2014

Floridians continue to provide valuable perspective on political feelings nationwide. New survey results issued this week by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute captured current attitudes toward state and national political figures, the political after-effect of the Affordable Care Act, immigration, minimum wage, and the legalization of marijuana. Just-released March poll results are getting widespread attention from media outlets that are finding the Saint Leo University Polling Institute’s nonpartisan work reliable and newsworthy.

For instance, the poll inquired about the appeal among voters of likely 2016 presidential political primary candidates. Among Florida’s likely voter Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had an 84 percent favorability rating with Vice President Joe Biden’s at 66 percent. Among Florida’s likely Republican voters, Jeb Bush’s favorability rating came in at 90 percent, while New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s is at 55 percent (down 13 percent from the polling institute’s December quarterly poll). Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan (also the former vice presidential candidate) ranked second with 75 percent.

“The story of this poll is the rise of Jeb Bush as not only viable, but a front runner for the Republican nomination,” Frank Orlando (pictured), political science instructor at Saint Leo University commented. “After keeping a low profile since the end of his second term as governor in 2007, he's re-emerged with some of the best favorability numbers of all the Republicans mentioned as 2016 candidates. He moved from fourth to first in our question asking Republicans which they would feel comfortable supporting in just the last few months,” Orlando explained.

The Saint Leo political scientist continued: “Chris Christie's numbers have declined since our December poll, largely due to revelations about the ‘Bridgegate’ scandal coming to light. Still, more voters expressed an opinion about him than any of the other candidates we asked about. This kind of name recognition is important, and although he is viewed less favorably than he was in December, there's a long way to go until 2016.”

Mr. Orlando’s comments were quoted nationally in media outlets.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute also released results from the same survey conducted among a national base of voters.

Also, the survey inquired about how much Americans follow sports and attend religious services, among other topics.

To keep up with the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, visit the polling institute’s website, http://polls.saintleo.edu You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls. Saint Leo’s main website is www.saintleo.edu. Polling methodology is also explained in detail there.