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No surprise: Poll shows Floridians don’t like sexual misconduct by candidates

Nearly three-quarters of Florida voters say they could not vote for a candidate who has been accused of sexual misconduct, according to a new statewide public opinion poll conducted by Gravis Marketing of Winter Springs.

Gravis found almost widespread agreement on that position. Voters in nearly all age groups, genders, religious affiliations, races, and education backgrounds overwhelmingly agreed with that position. Overall, 72 percent of registered voters polled said they could not vote for someone accused of sexual misconduct, while 28 percent said they could, and almost all demographic breakouts showed at least 65 percent also saying they could not vote for someone accused of sexual misconduct.

However, differences emerged among political beliefs, with Republicans and conservatives, who may still be suspicious of the issue following the Alabama U.S. Senate special election two weeks ago, offering far less certainty on that question.

Among Republicans, 46 percent said, yes, they could vote for a candidate accused of sexual misconduct. Those who called themselves “conservative” or “very conservative” weighed in at 46 and 47 percent yes, respectively.

Among Democrats, 87 percent said they could not vote for a candidate accused of sexual misconduct, and among independents, 74 percent said they could not.

The findings were among several public opinion issues Gravis polled last week in matters also including gay marriage, needle sharing, greyhound dog racing, the federal tax reform law approved by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump last week, gambling, gay conversion therapy, and the performances of Gov. Rick Scott and Trump to prepare for and respond to Hurricane Irma back in September.

Gravis reported it conducted a random survey of 5,778 registered voters from Dec. 19-24, citing a margin of error of 1.3 percent.

Many of the queried issues did not inspire absolute majorities on positions, but a few did, including an overwhelming [70 percent] approval of Scott’s overall job performance dealing with Hurricane Irma. Support for gay marriage and needle sharing programs, and opposition to gay conversion therapy also drew majorities, albeit tighter.

Scott and Trump also got pluralities approving of their performances managing nursing homes and other medical facilities during Hurricane Irma, but uncertain votes left both of them without absolute majorities on those questions. Forty-four percent approved of Scott’s performance relating to nursing homes and medical facilities during Irma, and 30 percent disapproved, perhaps tied to the shock and concerns raised by the tragedy in Hollywood Hills. Trump drew 46 percent approval and 45 percent disapproval on the same question.

Fifty-nine percent of voters told Gravis they support the legalization of gay marriage, while 30 percent opposed.

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Forty-six percent of voters said transgender individuals should not be banned from using the bathroom of the gender with which they identify, while 36 percent said they should be banned from doing so, with the rest of voters uncertain. When locker rooms replaced bathrooms in the question, the spread was 43-38 saying they should not be banned.

Forty-eight percent of voters said they supported legalizing poker and other forms of gambling in Florida, while 30 percent opposed.

Fifty-seven percent said they supported needle exchange programs, while 19 percent opposed.

Forty-six percent said greyhound dog racing should be made illegal in Florida, while 32 percent said it should remain legal.

Forty-six percent also opposed the federal tax bill approved last week, while 37 percent supported it.

Sixty-nine percent believe “gay conversion therapy” should be illegal in Florida, while 11 percent think it should be legal.

Many of the issues, particularly those involving gay and transgender questions, saw strong partisan splits, with Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly lining up on opposite sides, and strong pluralities or majorities of independent voters preferring the Democrat’s primary positions. The same was true of the tax reform bill, which got 73 percent support among Republicans; 27 percent support among independents; and 8 percent support amend Democrats.

The gambling and greyhound opinions were much more uniform across party affiliations. Pluralities of Republicans and independents opposed dog racing and supported gambling, while slight majorities of Democrats opposed dog racing and supported gambling.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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