Florida Chamber poll: Voters still support state’s approach to COVID-19, but list education as a chief concern now

Caucasian male turning sign from closed to open on the entrance
Poll results from the Chamber of Commerce show schools and insurance as voters' top concerns.

As Gov. Ron DeSantis leans on his COVID-19 record as a national blueprint, polling shows Floridians remain supportive of his approach.

But those same voters also have different problems on their minds today.

A poll by the Florida Chamber of Commerce shows the voters in the Sunshine State believe Florida responded to the pandemic better than other jurisdictions.

About 61% of Florida voters polled believe the Florida model, which reopened states faster than many other large states, was the right approach.

Meanwhile, just 30% of voters felt that California’s approach was the better way to go.

Republican voters felt particularly confident about the Florida model, with 91% favoring the light-on-lockdown strategy. Meanwhile, 62% of Democrats told pollsters that states like California got it right in limiting large gatherings and reopenings for much longer.

DeSantis has campaigned heavily on his own record on COVID-19 and brought it up just Wednesday night at the first Republican Presidential Primary debate.

“We had schools open during COVID,” DeSantis said, “and a lot of the problems we’ve seen are because these lockdown states locked their kids out of school for a year, year-and-a-half. That was wrong. We stood up. I took a lot of fire for that. I was pilloried by the media, but I stood for our kids. As President, I will stand for you and your kids as well.”

The Chamber also polled Floridians on what their top issues are right now and found education as the leading issue with the state. But of note, that issue was the No. 1 concern for Democrats and for non-affiliated voters, but not for Republicans, who list jobs and the economy as their chief priority.

Education was also the top issue for female voters statewide, though male voters listed property insurance as their key worry right now. Insurance ranked second overall for voter priorities, behind education and ahead of jobs.

Detailed crosstabs on where issues stand was not made immediately available.

The poll was conducted by Cherry Communications between Aug. 9 and 19, and pollsters report a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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].


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