Poll: Floridians overwhelmingly support doctors, nurses and first responders

Doctors or Nurses Wearing Medical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Against The American Flag Banner.
A new survey shows the sentiment is genuine.

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.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


2 comments

  • Sonja Emily Fitch

    May 19, 2020 at 6:28 am

    TO HONOR OUR FIRST RESPONDERS……WEAR A MASK. (mask or casket).

  • Glenn Reihing

    May 19, 2020 at 11:03 am

    As a 30 year ER nurse (retired) I want to say “Thank you” for the sentiment. It is nice to be appreciated.

    But for the current healthcare workers, they deserve more than just “Thank You’s”, and flyovers and pizza parties.

    What would really show our sincere appreciation would be to pay off the medical education debt for every healthcare worker that has worked this pandemic. This includes those that have been fired for speaking out about the horrific inability for our front-line people to get proper personal protection equipment causing them to become infected and/or die.

    Now I said “pay off” not forgive. We should demand our Federal Government to go to the banks and get a listing of all the medical student loans throughout the country that will be our starting point. Then starting with people of lesser means and working up, pay off their loan.

    The reason you do this is because it prevents what happened with the first bailout to small businesses. Remember that large banks lined up and got big loans for wealthy clients like Ruth Chris, L.A. Lakers, and so on.

    Paying off from the bottom of the rung will ensure that this doesn’t happen and that’s fairly easy to do. You match their loan to their income tax return and base it on their Adjusted Gross Income.

    It also helps the economy because the banks will see those loans off the books making them stronger, you see individuals that now instead of paying money to a loan now buying goods and services improving the economy and with those purchases of goods and services, they are paying sales tax which generates revenue for the State.

    So call your Congressperson, and Senators and ask that they forgive medical student debt for healthcare workers in the next bailout bill. Also call the Speaker of the House ad Senate.

    This is by far a better way to show your love for the healthcare workers who give of themselves during the pandemic. And remember some died over this.

    I do not think this is too extreme of a request…Thank you.

Comments are closed.


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