A majority of Floridians are cutting back on nonessential spending as the cost of living in the Sunshine State — and across the country — continues to rise.
That’s according to the results of a new survey from the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative that examines how Floridians feel about the current political and economic climate.
The survey found around 47% of Floridians rate the condition of the national economy as poor or very poor, while 28% see it as fair and 25% view it as good or very good. Overwhelmingly, 91% of Floridians are very concerned or concerned about the current rate of inflation.
As for issues within the state’s economy, more than eight out of 10 respondents expressed concern about increasing housing and property insurance costs. Legislators are hoping to remedy the state’s unstable property insurance market with legislation slated to pass via a Special Session, which started Monday. No plans have progressed to address affordable housing in the state, however.
The rising costs are affecting how many Floridians budget. More than 53% of those surveyed said rising prices for food, goods and services have greatly affected their finances, and more than 70% said they are cutting back on travel and entertainment, while about 66% are buying less food.
Nearly 60% of respondents also said they are using savings to pay bills, and 38% said they are missing bill payments.
With many Floridians strapped for cash, summer travel plans will likely take a hit. The survey, which cites the latest Travel Price Index from the U.S. Travel Association, found that 79% plan to cut back on travel, and 80% will cut spending on entertainment.
“This increase in prices in the travel industry will lead to adjustments in summer vacation plans,” said Monica Escaleras, director of FAU BEPI. “The hospitality industry most likely will see a decrease in demand.”
Still, a AAA survey showed travel will surge among Floridians despite higher prices.
The FAU BEPI survey also asked Floridians about current political issues.
About 85% of Floridians consider the cost of living and inflation as a high priority for the country to address. Other high priorities among Floridians: Ukraine (50%) and education (61%).
The topic of abortion, on the other hand, was a high priority for 39% of respondents. Issues like COVID-19 (45%) and immigration (47%) were also below a majority.
As for how Floridians feel about such issues, nearly 67% of respondents, including more than half of the Republicans polled, said abortion should be legal in most or all cases.
“However, it is not clear this issue will drive voting as abortion was only ranked as a high priority issue by 39 percent of Floridians,” said Kevin Wagner, a professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of BEPI.
Most Floridians also opposed (43%) or had no opinion (20%) on recent state legislation banning instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity in elementary schools. The legislation was supported by 37% of respondents.
As for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 47% believe America is providing the right amount of support to the war-torn country. More than 20% believe America should give more support.
The online survey was conducted May 20-22 and has a margin of error of about 4 percentage points. The data, weighted by ethnicity, age, education and gender, was collected through Dynata.