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UNF Poll: Most Voters Approve Of DeSantis, Support Legal Marijuana

Oct 24, 2019
Originally published on October 25, 2019 3:12 pm

A large majority of voters approve of the job Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is doing, according to the University of North Florida’s Opinion Research Lab.

Related: UNF Poll Finds Florida Voters Conflicted Over Potential Trump Impeachment

UNF’s latest poll of registered Florida voters finds 72% strongly or somewhat approve of the job DeSantis is doing as governor, with 17% disapproving. Job approval is highest among Republicans at 91%, with 56% of Democrats approving.

“This is the highest gubernatorial approval in recent history. You’d have to go back to the early days of the Charlie Crist administration to see numbers this high,” said Lab Director Michael Binder.

The movement to legalize recreational marijuana also appears to resonate with a majority of Florida voters. The poll found 64% support legalization, while 33% oppose making recreational pot legal.

The numbers are highest among Democrats, with 73% in support, while 54% of Republicans support the idea.

“Though it’s very unlikely a Republican [-controlled] Legislature will legalize recreational marijuana this session, it’s fascinating that even a majority of Republicans support legalization,” Binder noted.

Attorney John Morgan, who has offices in Jacksonville and is based in Orlando, is credited with helping legalize medical marijuana in Florida. In August, Morgan announced his support for recreational marijuana.

“We've legalized medical marijuana via the ballot box. And it looks like there's an opportunity that recreational marijuana might very well hit the ballot box in 2020. So this is an opportunity that that voters may have a chance to vote on,” Binder said on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross on Thursday.

The proposed recreational marijuana initiative is about 3,000 voters' signatures short of the nearly 800,000 needed, and it will undergo review by Florida's Supreme Court to make it to the voters. Contstututional amendments in Florida require 60 percent of approval to become law.

UNF pollsters also asked registered voters about Florida’s two U.S. senators, with 48% approving of the job Marco Rubio (R-FL) is doing. Rick Scott (R-FL) received a 49% approval rate.  

The poll also includes questions about Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried (D-FL), implementation of Amendment 4, restoring ex-felons' voting rights, and employers' use of the E-Verify federal immigration database to vet employees. See the full poll results.

UNF received 669 completed surveys for the poll, which the university says has a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points.

The full methodology is included on the full poll results page.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

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