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Sunshine State Survey: More Floridians Optimistic About the Future


USF's School of Public Affairs and Nielsen released the season's final results from the Sunshine State Survey Tuesday,  giving the most recent indication of how Floridians feel about the issues that affect them the most.

USF Political Science Professor Susan MacManus said overall, Floridians are feeling more optimistic about the direction the state is headed.

"The key here is that you've seen a marked improvement in the percentage of Floridians saying that things have gotten better, and of course that tracks very closely with the economic recovery we've seen in the state," said MacManus.

Even though locals feel more optimistic, MacManus added there are six issues where Florida residents feel the state is headed more in the wrong than right direction. Those were rights to undocumented immigrants, repeal of the death penalty, sales tax on Internet purchases, police use of drones, allowing more casino gambling and repealing Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.

The area where Florida residents were in strongest agreement was in the need to do more to take care of returning military veterans.

There are three issues with little consensus on which direction the state should go: allowing off-shore oil and gas drilling, legalization of same-sex marriage and the implementation of Common Core standards in public schools.

Floridians consider themselves well informed, with 63 percent saying they pay "a lot" of attention to current events. Two-thirds get most of their news from local TV news and 18 percent rely on online sources for their news.

Nearly half of respondents don't use mobile devices for their news, but age plays a large factor. Floridians age 18 - 34 are most likely to "always" use a mobile device to get their news.


Credit Sunshine State Survey

M.S. Butler joined WUSF in October, 2014 after becoming the first recipient of the Stephen Noble Intern Scholarship. A Bay Area resident since 1999, he became a full-time student at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg in Fall 2012.He has written articles for the school newspaper The Crow’s Nest covering topics ranging from seasonal flu shots to students carrying guns on campus.
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