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Another poll finds Florida voters backing E-Verify requirement

That goes for requirements on both public and private employers.

New polling data shows continued support for an E-Verify requirement in Florida.

The University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab poll shows that about three in four Floridians favor requiring employers to use the federal immigration database to check workers’ eligibility.

While finer points on putting a regulation in place for public or private employers have divided lawmakers, there’s little disagreement among voters.

“Clearly, Floridians are very supportive of instituting the use of E-Verify,” said Michael Binder, director of the university’s polling arm. “The only question that remains is whether the Legislature can come together on a bill that the Governor would actually sign before Session comes to a close on March 13.”

The Florida Senate has moved a bill through two committees but debated exemptions for agriculture and allowing businesses to develop their own verification system. The addition of the latter possibility has bill sponsor Sen. Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican, suggesting the legislation should be vetoed if passed in its current form.

Meanwhile, a version of the bill sponsored by Rep. Cord Byrd, a Neptune Beach Republican, in the House only applies to government employees.

There’s almost no appetite for such compromise, though, among voters, according to the UNF poll.

Roughly 75% of respondents support making taxpayer-funded businesses use E-Verify. The survey found support dropped only to 73% when asked if the E-Verify requirements should be applied to all employers across the board.

A closer look at those who favor the requirement for public and private employers shows voters favor the effort across party lines. Some 88% of Republicans favor the requirement, with 76% saving the strongly support the requirement.

Meanwhile, 79% of no-party-affiliation and third party voters strongly or somewhat favor the policy. And even 61% of Democrats feel the same.

The UNF poll also found 59% of voters favor creating an inter-agency research program within the Department of Environmental Protection to study and tackle the effects of climate change.

In comparison, only 16% supported a temporary task force within the Governor’s Office to tackle the same problem.

Pollsters also found 70% of voters say they would vote in favor of a constitutional amendment for open primaries. About 65% of voters would support an amendment raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Florida.

“Both of these measures have the potential to dramatically change Florida’s political system,” Binder said. “However, ballot measures almost always poll higher than their ultimate vote totals, and with Florida requiring 60% support to pass, both of these measures are far from guaranteed to pass.”

The poll was conducted Feb. 10-18 and includes responses from 725 registered Florida voters. Pollsters report a margin of error of 3.6%.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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