Florida voters are far more concerned with inflation and rising costs than they are about any other issue affecting the Sunshine State — including immigration and gun violence, according to new polling data from James Madison Institute.
They also overwhelmingly believe Congress should prioritize passing regulatory measures to curb inflation instead of focusing on controlling America’s biggest tech companies.
Those two issues, inflation and tech regulation, aren’t separate issues in the minds of most Florida voters, pollsters found. Rather, Floridians believe bipartisan efforts in Washington to pass federal antitrust legislation — including the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and the Open App Markets Act — will accelerate inflation and cause prices to go even higher.
Robert Blizzard and Neil Newhouse of Alexandria-based Public Opinion Strategies surveyed 600 registered voters online from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1.
The survey has a 4.56% credibility interval, which is different from a margin of sampling error. While a margin of sampling error applies to polls in which respondents are randomly selected, credibility intervals apply to data derived from surveys of self-selected respondents, often to online polls, which are generally considered less accurate.
Blizzard and Newhouse found 83% of those polled prioritized addressing inflation more than regulating Big Tech companies. Just 9% said the reverse was more urgent.
Less than 9% of respondents overall said addressing illegal immigration should be the top priority for federal lawmakers, though opinion on the matter varied widely by party. Fifteen percent of Republicans cited illegal immigration as the prime issue facing America today. So did 10% of independents. Only 1% of Democrats agreed.
Democrats were far more concerned about curbing gun violence, with 14% placing it atop their list of issues. Seven percent of independents felt the same way, while just 3% of Republicans concurred.
Meanwhile, 42% of all respondents said Congress must focus first on controlling inflation and price hikes, including 54% of Republicans, 42% of independent voters and 28% of Democrats.
A plurality of Floridians across all ethnicities said they believe it is unfair for Congress to target tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google based on their sizes. When broken down by party, 66% of respondents regardless of party affiliation agreed tech regulation should apply to all companies equally, not just those designated as “Big Tech.”
Factoring heavily into the matter is worry over further price increases. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they believe costs will grow with more federal regulation, compared to 23% who said added strictures will have no impact. Just 3% said they expect prices to fall.
“Pursuing policies like antitrust is a lose-lose situation,” Blizzard said in a statement, adding that focusing on such policies “could actually be detrimental for lawmakers seeking re-election.”
Asked to rank other tech-related measures Congress should pursue, a quarter of those polled said the federal government needs to beef up cybersecurity to prevent hacks of national infrastructure. Thirty-six percent — 18% apiece — were split evenly between either increasing online protections for children or upgrading protections against the hacking and harvesting of personal data.
In recent years, there has been an increase in hackers hijacking Florida infrastructure system controls and holding them for ransom.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents to the survey identified as Republican, while 35% said they were members of the Democratic Party. The remainder said they belonged to another political party or none.
Demographically, 70% said they were White, 12% identified as Black and 16% listed themselves as Hispanic.
The largest source of respondents (24%) lived in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, followed by 21% who lived in the Orlando area, 20% in Miami, 10% in West Palm Beach, 9% in Jacksonville and 7% in Fort Myers/Naples. The remaining 9% lived elsewhere in the state.
Sal Nuzzo, vice president of policy at the James Madison Institute, said the poll confirms that Florida voters are against “heavy-handed government regulations that will increase prices and stifle innovation.”
“As inflation continues to stifle the economy,” he said, “voters are right to demand their elected officials focus on the kind of free-market principles that will lead to lower costs on everyday goods.”