Wellness Week Archives - Florida Politics

Poll: Marijuana legalization support helps Nikki Fried’s Ag. Commish bid

Voters who support Florida’s medical marijuana law and especially those who support further legalization of marijuana appear to be lifting Nikki Fried into the lead in the Florida Agriculture Commissioner’s race, according to a new poll.

Fried, the Democrat, leads among all voters surveyed last week by St. Pete Polls, getting 47 percent of the support of likely Florida voters, while Republican nominee state Rep. Matt Caldwell picked up 45 percent. While that difference was within the poll’s margin of error, follow-up questions indicated at least some of Fried’s backing is tied to her support for broader marijuana legalization.

The poll is part of an effort involving St. Pete Polls, Empowering Wellness — the newly formed medical-marijuana advocacy group — and Florida Politics to examine marijuana policies and political leaders’ and candidates’ positions heading into Wellness Week, which will feature other looks at the issues.

Last week the poll results revealed the nominees for Governor also were essentially tied, with Democratic nominee Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum drawing 48 percent and Republican nominee U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis drawing 47 percent.

This time the results from the poll, taken last Wednesday and Thursday of 2,240 likely Florida general election voters found about 70 percent support the state’s medical marijuana law, approved by voters in the 2016 election. Almost half, 48 percent, disapprove of how the Flordia Legislature implemented the law, while a much smaller percentage, 29 percent, approved of how the Legislature did things.

Consequently, those voters said they have an increased likelihood to support Fried, who has been an advocate of broad marijuana legalization. An even stronger portion of voters said they would be less likely to vote for Caldwell, who has taken mixed positions on medical marijuana.

In 2014, Caldwell helped pass Florida’s initial medical marijuana law, which was limited to low-THC cannabis. He then opposed the state constitutional amendment allowing for medicines to be made from high-THC marijuana. When advised of that, 49 percent of those reached in the survey said they were less likely to vote for him, while 24 percent said they would be more likely.

When told that Fried’s campaign has been kicked out of two different banks because of her advocacy for expanding patient access to medical marijuana, 40 percent of those surveyed said they would be more likely to vote for her, and 36 percent said they would be less likely to vote for her.

The poll was conducted through an automated phone call polling system. The results were then weighted to account for proportional differences between the respondents’ demographics and the demographics of the active general election voter population for the state of Florida. The weighting demographics used were: political party, race, age, gender, and media market. The voters polled were chosen at random within the registered voter population within the state of Florida. Voters who said they were not planning to vote were excluded from the results below.

St. Pete Polls is saying the survey has a 2 percent margin of error.

matt gaetz

Poll: Matt Gaetz’s medical marijuana support A-OK with CD 1 Republicans

A poll commissioned after Matt Gaetz cruised past his two primary challengers found that Republican primary voters were just fine with their Congressman supporting medical marijuana.

Nearly 70 percent of Republicans in Florida’s 1st Congressional District told St. Pete Polls they cast their ballot for Gaetz in last week’s primary election.

Though the Shalimar Congressman’s actual vote total was closer to 65 percent, more than half of those who said they were in Gaetz’s corner were also supportive of the Sunshine State’s 2016 medical marijuana law while only 37 percent said they were against it.

That gives the law a plus-16 margin of support among Gaetz’s voters in the ruby-red district — registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats by more than 2-to-1 in CD 1.

In 2016, Floridians voted overwhelmingly in favor of a constitutional amendment allowing people with debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana.

Well before that amendment (or the failed 2014 version) went before voters, Gaetz sponsored the state House version of a bill legalizing the use of low-THC medical marijuana to treat certain patients, such as children who suffer from debilitating seizures.

When dispensaries started rolling out medical marijuana to patients, Gaetz even went on a ride along to deliver the medication to a Northwest Florida family.

The first term Congressman has also given medical marijuana some attention during his time in Washington. Earlier this year, he joined Kendall Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Orlando Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto in sponsoring a bill to legalize and promote federal research into medical marijuana.

When St. Pete Polls asked Gaetz supporters if they were aware that their Congressman was “a strong supporter of medical marijuana research and helped pass Florida’s first low-THC medical cannabis law,” 58 percent answered in the affirmative.

Among those who said they were aware, only 29 percent said it influenced their vote — 16 percent said that it was positive, while 13 percent said it was negative. For the remaining 71 percent, medical marijuana didn’t factor into their decision at the polls.

When asked if they had seen any advertising on Gaetz’s support for medical marijuana, 31 percent said they had while the balance said they had not.

The St. Pete Polls survey, conducted Sept. 4, received responses from 604 registered Republicans in Florida’s 1st Congressional District who said they voted in the Aug. 28 Republican primary. The survey has a margin of error of 4 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

The poll was commissioned as part of “Wellness Week,” a collaboration between Florida Politics, St. Pete Polls and Empowering Wellness.

Bill Nelson, Rick Scott deadlocked at 47% according to latest poll of race for Florida’s U.S Senate seat

New polling verifies Florida’s U.S. Senate fight as one of the tightest in the nation, with Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson and Republican Rick Scott virtually tied.

But even in a politically divided state, a substantial majority still favors legal medical marijuana use.

A survey by St. Pete Polls commissioned for Florida Politics finds both candidates at about 47 percent; in fact, it shows Nelson with just a tenth of a percentage point edge — well within the 2.3 percent margin of error.

And there’s little space for either side to grow, with just 5 percent of voters surveyed still undecided.

Nelson, a three-term U.S. Senator, faces the toughest fight since his 2000 election to the Senate in a challenge from two-term Gov. Scott, who so far has spent almost $28 million campaigning, while the incumbent spent a little more than $6 million.

But there is one issue where voters feel more aligned: The legal use of marijuana for medical purposes.

And that could spell problems down the road for Scott.

Florida Politics this week launches a collaboration with the medical marijuana advocacy group Empowering Wellness and will roll out a week’s worth of exclusive polling, data and analysis. That includes asking the same voters surveyed in the Senate race their thoughts on medicinal cannabis.

St. Pete Polls found 74 percent of likely voters in the survey favor allowing the use of medical marijuana if approved by a doctor, with 20 percent in disagreement and another 5 percent unsure

Additionally, 66 percent believe patients should be allowed to smoke the product, with 24 percent opposed to the practice and 11 percent unsure.

As for Scott, 45 percent of the voters in the poll disapprove of the way the governor has handled the implementation of Florida’s medical marijuana law, while just 30 percent approve. Another 26 percent were unsure.

And when pollsters informed those surveyed that Scott had opposed medical marijuana and his administration delayed its implementation significantly, the results got worse, with 49 percent of voters saying they were less likely to support his Senate run.

Another 37 percent said the news made them more likely to vote for Scott while another 15 percent said they were uncertain how they felt.

Some 71 percent of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing medical cannabis in 2016.

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