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Clear majority of Florida voters support universal background checks, survey says

“It seems that the majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents agree on universal background checks.”

A survey by Florida Atlantic University finds a clear majority of Florida voters support universal background checks.

The poll released Wednesday by the FAU Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI) found 75 percent favor expanding background checks to all gun purchases; just 14 percent opposed the policy.

Those results come as state lawmakers gather in Tallahassee for the beginning of committee meetings.

Democratic lawmakers have said gun reform will be a high priority in the 2020 Session after a push for a Special Session failed. It remains to be seen whether Republicans controlling the Legislature approve further regulations.

But according to the FAU BEPI results, the issue does not show a sharp split along party lines. Eighty-two percent of Independents, 81 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans each support universal background checks.

While there is a gap between the parties, it’s not nearly as large as other divisive issues. And a significant majority of Republicans still say they support the measure, according to the survey results.

“It seems that the majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents agree on universal background checks,” said Monica Escaleras, director of the FAU BEPI.

The poll was conducted from Sept. 12 to 15 and polled 934 Florida registered voters. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Floridians had mixed feelings on President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. A plurality (40 percent) said Trump’s tariffs are hurting America, while 33 percent said they are helping. The remaining 27 percent said they have no effect.

Only 20 percent of Republicans felt the tariffs were hurting, while 40 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of Independents said the same.

“If tariffs become a central issue in the presidential election, then Independents appear to be more aligned with Democrats,” Escaleras added.

As for the 2020 presidential election, 21 percent of Florida voters rated the economy as the top issue. In second was immigration at 19 percent, followed by health care at 18 percent.

Those top two issues appear to be pushed by Republicans and Independents.

For Republicans, 30 percent of whom rated the economy as the most important. Another 21 percent said immigration was their top issue.

Those issues were flipped for Independents. Among that group, 25 percent had immigration as the top issue, with 19 percent saying it was the economy.

For Democrats, health care reigned supreme, with 22 percent saying it was the top issue. An additional 17 percent of Democrats rated the environment as the top priority.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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