Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.
Most Floridians believe the COVID-19 pandemic will get worse before it gets better, according to a new poll conducted by the University of South Florida School of Public Affairs.
The USF survey found 55% of Floridians believe that the worst is not yet behind us while a quarter believes that it is. About 22% said they were unsure. Republicans were the most optimistic with a 34-38 split, followed by independents at 59-19 and Democrats at 67-16.
Alongside the negative outlook came 73% support for keeping schools closed, with 54% saying they “strongly support” delaying kids’ return to campuses this fall.
Likewise, common behaviors and strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 scored highly among the 600 Floridians who participated in the survey.
Nearly nine in 10 Floridians back a statewide mask mandate, 73% of them “strongly”; 82% believe masks and social distancing are effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19; and majorities are OK with stricter limits on public gatherings (85%) as well as temporarily re-closing bars and restaurants (66%), houses of worship (63%), and beaches and public parks (60%).
Support mostly transcended party lines, with majorities of Republicans, Democrats and NPAs in favor of a mask mandate and crowd size limits. All subsets also believe schools should remain closed — the feeling was a near-universal 86-4 among Democrats. Independents agreed by a 71-11 margin while Republicans came in at 54-33.
Respondents softened when it came to politics, however.
Asked whether political candidates should be able to hold political rallies, 46% said no way while just one in eight said rallies should be held as they would in the pre-COVID-19 era. The balance, 42%, say rallies are in bounds so long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.
The survey was conducted on July 30-Aug. 10 and has a margin of error plus or minus 4% at a 95% confidence level.
— 551,232 FL residents (+6,192 since Wednesday)
— 5,905 Non-FL residents (+44 since Wednesday)
— 4,160 Travel related
— 167,479 Contact with a confirmed case
— 4,288 Both
— 375,305 Under investigation
— 32,537 in FL
— 9,047 in FL
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Quote of the Day
“It’s absurd that in the third largest state in the nation, the Governor has chosen to follow the marching orders laid out by a President who clearly has no idea what he’s doing, continuing to endanger the lives of even more Floridians, and stalling any chances for a robust economic recovery.” — Sen. Audrey Gibson, on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Thursday roundtable on the pandemic.
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