Poll finds Florida voters back infrastructure plan, dislike proposed pension reform

pensions retirement (Large)
The poll found support for Joe Biden, Ron DeSantis, but concern over workforce issues.

A strong majority of Floridians support an infrastructure plan backed by President Joe Biden. But even more oppose a plan under consideration in the Legislature to change Florida’s pension system.

That’s according to a firm commissioned by RABA Research, a national bipartisan polling firm. The organization surveyed 575 Floridians on April 19 on a variety of state and federal issues. That included some clearly unpopular workforce matters being debated in Tallahassee.

The group found bipartisan support both for President Biden and for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

About 54% of respondents gave the Democratic President positive reviews, with 38% rating him very favorably, and 42% rated him negatively, 33% very unfavorably. There’s a distinct partisan break in the poll, with 71% giving Biden the highest possible marks and 66% of Republicans giving a low grade. 66% of independents and other party voters give him a favorable rating, compared with 28% who give an unfavorable one.

Meanwhile, about 56% give DeSantis favorable marks, with 39% grading him very favorably. By comparison 42% grade him unfavorably, with 26% giving a very unfavorable assessment. Similar to Biden, Republicans and Democrats hold different views, with 80% of GOP voters giving very favorable marks to the Governor and 52% of Democrats rating him very unfavorably. About 55% of other voters give a favorable rating while 45% give an unfavorable mark.

Some of Biden’s policies rank better than he does. About 65% support the COVID-19 relief package he signed and 59% like his infrastructure plan. Pollsters report a margin of error of 4.09%.

But there’s broad displeasure at several changes to workforce law being considered in Session.

“Respondents showed broad opposition across partisan lines for changes to the current state pension system,” a RABA Research release reads. “Respondents also expressed deep concerns about legislative efforts to weaken employment protections for teachers and healthcare workers.”

Asked about plans to weaken employment protections for teachers, health care workers and other first responders, 77% of those surveyed were opposed. That includes 81% of Democrats, 74% of Republicans and 77% of other voters. Additionally, 68% say after a year of pandemic response is a bad time to consider dropping protections.

Also unpopular? Pension reform. About 71% were opposed to a plan not to allow new employees to enter into a long-operating system.

How that would translate to voting behavior is less clear, but the signs don’t favor those voting to block pension access or limit worker protection. About 48% of voters said they would be less likely to support a legislator who voted for any of those things, while just 26% said they would be more likely. A full quarter said it makes no difference.

Notably, pollsters asked respondents if they personally benefitted from the actions of teachers, first responders or other workers impacted by the policy. About 53% of those surveyed had, and 47% had not.

Jacob Ogles

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 [email protected].

One comment

  • Jean

    April 23, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    Mask’s don’t work. I would say ask my mother in law but she died from neglect in a nursing home FROM A FALL ,a brain bleed after a false covid test. She was isolated , alone she died we had not seen her in 4 mos. We are beyond angry. She was the only one to get a positive test. This whole thing is insanity!

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