Three months ago, “heroes” wore capes, played in stadiums or starred in blockbusters.
In the coronavirus era, the definition has expanded to include the health care workers and other front-line responders risking their lives to beat back the virus’ spread.
Though it may sound like a platitude, a new survey conducted by St. Pete Polls found otherwise — it’s a genuine sentiment among Florida voters.
More than nine in 10 polled said they were fans of first responders such as police, firefighters and paramedics.
All have been facing additional on-the-job dangers in recent months, from performing CPR on COVID-19 positive individuals to, more recently, fighting to contain wildfires raging in the Panhandle and other pockets of the state.
The approval was near universal, regardless of party affiliation — just under 92% of Democrats and Republicans said they approved of first responders, while nearly 93% of independents said the same.
Overall, about 6% said they were unsure whether they approved or disapproved of first responders, while 2% took the contrarian view. Their disapproval, however, falls almost completely within the poll’s margin of error.
Police and firefighters have traditionally been viewed as everyday heroes, but another set of professionals have joined the ranks in recent weeks: health care workers.
Doctors and nurses risk exposure to the virus every time they clock in, at times without proper protective equipment.
There have been several indications that they’ve reached hero status since the pandemic hit full force two months ago. Sewing circles have been crafting masks from cloth and elastic for hospital workers; sidewalk chalk artists are decorating hospital entryways with encouraging words; and advocacy groups have launched campaigns to deliver them gift cards — with the secondary effect of keeping local businesses afloat.
The St. Pete Polls survey confirms those anecdotes are a reflection of Floridians’ heartfelt beliefs.
The poll found 88% of Floridians approve of doctors and nurses compared to just 3% who disapprove and 9% who say they are unsure.
As with first responders, approval ratings crossed party lines — 87% of Democrats, 89% of Republicans and 88% of independent voters were in their corner.
The poll surveyed 3,146 registered Florida voters from May 12-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.7 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.