Florida loves truckers, according to a new Mason-Dixon poll.
The survey, conducted July 20-23, asked 625 voters for their opinions on truck drivers and the rigs they pilot, finding widespread approval for both.
Truckers fared particularly well, with 58% holding a “very positive” attitude toward truckers and 26% saying they saw them in a “somewhat positive” light. Only 6% said harbored a negative sentiment while 10% had no opinion.
The approval numbers are a marked jump from pre-pandemic levels, especially in South and Central Florida, where opinions have shifted upward by 30 percentage points.
Trucks were also above water, with 57% saying they were die-hard or moderate fans. Negatives combined to 16% while a little over a quarter of those polled fell in the “no opinion” column.
The Florida Trucking Association touted the results in a Thursday news release.
“The trucking industry usually operates invisibly, with people taking the transportation of everything they touch, eat and use for granted,” Florida Trucking Association CEO Ken Armstrong said. “The length of, and dramatic impact of COVID-19 to all Americans, has shed a light on the essentiality of trucks and professional commercial truck drivers. We are proud of our industry’s vital role in our state’s economy and daily lives as we ensure Floridians receive what they need during this difficult time.”
Invisible or not, FTA noted the magnitude of the Sunshine State trucking industry.
There are 38,000 trucking companies in the state, accounting for one out of every 21 Florida jobs. Drivers moved 720 million tons of freight in 2018, with 85% of Florida communities depending exclusively on trucks to move their goods.
Association VP Alix Miller added, “Florida was ahead of the curve in preparation and reaction to shifting supply chain needs during COVID-19. Our strong partnerships between federal and state agencies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Florida Department of Emergency Management and Florida Department of Transportation ensured trucking companies could increase freight volumes and respond to an intensified demand of products.”
The Mason-Dixon poll isn’t an outlier. A St. Pete Polls survey from late May produced nearly identical results, with 83% of voters approving of truckers, 14% unsure, and a mere 3% expressing disapproval.