September 8, 2008 - Gov. Crist Riding High In Florida, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Back Ban On Gay Marriage, But Short Of 60%

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Gov. Charlie Crist retains his lofty 61 - 25 percent job approval rating, while the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage remains short, although within range, of the 60 percent vote needed for approval, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Gov. Crist's support includes 50 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of independent voters. At the same time, the State Legislature gets a split 40 - 41 percent approval rating.

Florida voters support 55 - 41 percent an amendment that would define marriage as being between a man and woman, slightly lower than the 58 - 37 percent support in a June 3 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. Republicans support the amendment 76 - 21 percent while Democrats oppose it 51 - 45 percent and independent voters oppose it by a similar 51 - 44 percent margin.

Men support the measure 55 - 41 percent while women back it 54 - 42 percent. White evangelical Christians support it 78 - 20 percent.

"In this very polarized electorate, it is very unusual for a public figure to have such popularity across party lines as does Gov. Charlie Crist," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Given that 83 percent of voters say Crist did a good job dealing with Hurricane Fay, it would be tempting to credit his popularity to that, but in reality his numbers have been higher than Jeb Bush ever had since he took office. "The 55 percent level of support for the same-sex marriage ban is a bit surprising given that similar amendments have passed in a dozen states. But backers have eight weeks to close that five-point gap by changing some minds and winning over undecided voters."

A total of 53 percent of Florida voters are "somewhat dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied" with the way things are going in the state, while 46 percent are "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied." While this satisfaction rate is low, it is an improvement over the rates in Quinnipiac University surveys June 3 and April 10.

This latest survey began before the Florida Supreme Court tossed three proposed constitutional amendments off the ballot. The poll stopped asking those questions after the decision was handed down.

Two nights of polling show Florida voters support 51 - 39 percent a proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate property taxes for schools and replace it with other levies, short of the 60 percent needed for passage. The numbers are virtually identical to the 50 - 38 percent margin in Quinnipiac University's June 3 poll.

Another proposed amendment that the court invalidated - requiring at least 65 percent of public school funds be spent in the classroom - appeared on its way to passage with 65 - 24 percent support.

Voters oppose 57 - 38 percent an amendment, now dropped from the ballot, making it easier for the state to provide public funds for vouchers to private or religious schools.

From September 2 - 4, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,427 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. For the school financing questions, 1,014 voters were surveyed, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more data -- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Charlie Crist is handling his job as Governor?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              61%    76%    50%    57%    64%    57%    69%
Disapprove           25     15     33     28     25     26     19
DK/NA                14      8     17     14     11     17     12
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Approve              61%    60%    65%    74%    52%
Disapprove           24     27     21     15     33
DK/NA                15     13     14     12     15
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Charlie Crist is handling his job as Governor? * also 73% on 3/29/07
                                                                     Highest Lowest
                                                                     Approve Approve
                     Sep 8   Jun 3   Apr 10  Oct 24  Sep 11  Jul 19  Jul 19  Apr 10
                     2008    2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2007 *  2008
 
Approve              61      61      59      65      65      73      73      59
Disapprove           25      23      25      17      17      11      11      25
DK/NA                14      16      15      18      18      16      16      15
 
 
2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              40%    54%    33%    35%    43%    38%    48%
Disapprove           41     31     44     48     41     41     34
DK/NA                19     14     23     17     17     21     18
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Approve              44%    37%    40%    46%    38%
Disapprove           38     40     42     32     45
DK/NA                18     22     18     22     17
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                                     Highest Lowest
                                                                     Approve Approve
                     Sep 8   Jun 3   Apr 10  Oct 24  Sep 11  Jul 19  Sep 23  Apr 10
                     2008    2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2004    2008
 
Approve              40      38      32      36      37      39      51      32
Disapprove           41      46      48      43      43      37      34      48
DK/NA                19      17      20      22      20      24      15      20
 
 
3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Nelson is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              49%    46%    54%    47%    50%    47%    49%
Disapprove           23     28     16     23     27     19     26
DK/NA                28     26     29     30     24     33     25
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Approve              46%    54%    49%    43%    48%
Disapprove           28     16     23     25     24
DK/NA                25     30     28     31     29
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Nelson is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                                     Highest Lowest
                                                                     Approve Approve
                     Sep 8   Jun 3   Apr 10  Oct 24  Sep 11  Jul 19  Feb 6   Aug 12
                     2008    2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2007    2004
 
Approve              49      51      49      48      50      47      54      42
Disapprove           23      26      25      24      22      26      18      18
DK/NA                28      24      26      28      29      27      28      40
 
 
4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mel Martinez is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              37%    52%    26%    36%    38%    35%    46%
Disapprove           32     24     36     34     36     27     28
DK/NA                31     24     38     30     26     37     26
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Approve              44%    29%    41%    37%    34%
Disapprove           29     32     31     34     34
DK/NA                27     39     29     29     32
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mel Martinez is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                                     Highest Lowest
                                                                     Approve Approve
                     Sep 8   Jun 3   Apr 10  Oct 24  Sep 11  Jul 19  Feb 6   Oct 24
                     2008    2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2007    2007
 
Approve              37      40      36      35      38      36      48      35
Disapprove           32      35      37      34      33      38      22      34
DK/NA                31      25      27      31      29      26      29      31
 
 
5. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Florida today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Very satisfied        7%    12%     2%     6%     8%     5%     9%
Smwht satisfied      39     49     35     35     39     39     43
Smwht dissatisfied   29     24     32     33     26     33     29
Very dissatisfied    24     14     31     26     25     23     18
DK/NA                 -      1      1      -      -      1      1
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Very satisfied        8%     6%     6%     9%     6%
Smwht satisfied      50     42     40     31     30
Smwht dissatisfied   26     25     33     33     31
Very dissatisfied    15     26     20     27     32
DK/NA                 -      -      1      -      -
 
TREND: In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Florida today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
                     Sep 8   Jun 3   Apr 10  Oct 24  Sep 11  Jul 19  Dec 20
                     2008    2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2006
 
Very satisfied        7       4       5       5       7       8      10
Smwht satisfied      39      35      32      42      40      45      41
Smwht dissatisfied   29      34      34      33      33      33      29
Very dissatisfied    24      26      28      19      18      13      19
DK/NA                 -       1       1       1       1       1       1
 
 
6. Do you think that Charlie Crist has kept his campaign promises so far or not?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Yes                  51%    64%    43%    47%    55%    47%    58%
No                   29     22     36     31     27     32     24
DK/NA                20     13     21     22     18     21     18
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Yes                  52%    45%    52%    58%    51%
No                   26     34     29     21     32
DK/NA                22     20     19     21     17
 
TREND: Do you think that Charlie Crist has kept his campaign promises so far or not?
                     Sep 8   Jun 3   Apr 10  Oct 24  Sep 11  Feb 6
                     2008    2008    2008    2007    2007    2007
 
Yes                  51      55      51      57      55      67
No                   29      29      33      24      23       6
DK/NA                20      17      16      19      22      27
 
 
7. (Asked two nights only, prior to Court ruling) There may be on the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment to reduce property taxes about 25 percent by doing away with local property taxes used to fund public schools. How much have you heard or read about this plan - A lot, some, not much or nothing at all?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
A lot                20%    19%    18%    22%    22%    17%    19%
Some                 35     33     35     36     32     37     37
Not much             28     31     28     26     29     27     27
Nothing at all       17     16     18     16     16     18     17
DK/NA                 1      1      -      -      -      1      1
 
TREND: There *may be on the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment to reduce property taxes about 25 percent by doing away with local property taxes used to fund public schools. How much have you heard or read about this plan - A lot, some, not much or nothing at all? * 6/3/2008 wording: There "is" a proposed...."
                     Sep 8   Jun 3
                     2008    2008*
 
A lot                20      23
Some                 35      43
Not much             28      23
Nothing at all       17      12
DK/NA                 1       -
 
 
8. (Asked two nights only, prior to Court ruling) The proposed constitutional amendment would require the funds to be made up through one or more of the following options - an increase in state sales tax of up to one cent, the elimination of some sales-tax exemptions, or reducing spending. Would you support or oppose this constitutional amendment?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Support              51%    57%    49%    47%    53%    48%    50%
Oppose               39     33     41     44     38     41     39
DK/NA                10     11     10      9      9     11     11
 
TREND: The proposed constitutional amendment would require the funds to be made up through one or more of the following options - An increase in state sales tax of up to one cent, the elimination of some sales-tax exemptions or reducing spending. Would* you support or oppose this constitutional amendment? *6/3/08 wording: "Do" you support or oppose....
                     Sep 8   Jun 3
                     2008    2008*
 
Support              51      50
Oppose               39      38
DK/NA                10      11
 
 
9. (Asked two nights only, prior to Court ruling) If this constitutional amendment were to pass, would you prefer the legislature - increase the state sales tax, eliminate sales-tax exemptions or reduce spending on state programs and services?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Increase sales tax   38%    36%    45%    37%    39%    38%    33%
Eliminate exemptions 30     26     32     31     28     32     30
Reduce spending      22     31     13     20     26     18     25
DK/NA                10      7     10     12      8     12     12
 
TREND: If this constitutional amendment were to pass, would you prefer the legislature - increase the state sales tax, eliminate sales-tax exemptions, or reduce spending on state programs and services?
                     Sep 8   Jun 3
                     2008    2008
 
Increase sales tax   38      35
Eliminate exemptions 30      34
Reduce spending      22      21
DK/NA                10      10
 
 
10. In general do you favor or oppose providing parents with tax money in the form of school vouchers to help pay for their children to attend private or religious schools?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favor                43%    50%    37%    42%    42%    43%    49%
Oppose               52     45     59     53     53     51     46
DK/NA                 5      5      5      5      5      5      5
 
                     North/                             HvKids HvKids
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   <18    PubSch
 
Favor                53%    40%    41%    42%    40%    53%    50%
Oppose               44     54     54     51     57     44     49
DK/NA                 3      6      6      8      4      4      2
 
TREND: In general do you favor or oppose providing parents with tax money in the form of school vouchers to help pay for their children to attend private or religious schools?
                     Sep 8   Jun 3   Apr 10
                     2008    2008    2008
 
Favor                43      41      41
Oppose               52      55      54
DK/NA                 5       4       5
 
 
11. (Asked two nights only, prior to Court ruling) Would you favor or oppose a constitutional amendment that would make it easier for the state to provide public funds for vouchers to private or religious schools?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favor                38%    42%    30%    40%    38%    37%    43%
Oppose               57     51     64     54     59     55     49
DK/NA                 6      6      5      6      4      8      8
 
TREND: Would you favor or oppose a constitutional amendment that would make it easier for the state to provide public funds for vouchers to private or religious schools?
                     Sep 8   Jun 3   Apr 10
                     2008    2008    2008
 
Favor                38      38      36
Oppose               57      56      59
DK/NA                 6       6       5
 
 
12. (Asked two nights only, prior to Court ruling) Another proposed constitutional amendment that may be on the ballot would allow school voucher programs in Florida and require that schools spend at least 65 percent of their budgets in the classroom. Would you support or oppose this proposed constitutional amendment?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Support              65%    67%    63%    65%    61%    70%    72%
Oppose               24     21     28     23     28     19     17
DK/NA                11     12      9     12     11     11     12
 
TREND: Another proposed constitutional amendment *that may be on the ballot would allow school voucher programs in Florida and require that schools spend at least 65 percent of their budgets in the classroom. Would you support or oppose this proposed constitutional amendment? *6/3/08 wording did not include "that may be on the ballot"
                     Sep 8   Jun 3
                     2008    2008
 
Support              65      63
Oppose               24      25
DK/NA                11      12
 
 
13. Do you think schools should spend more than 65 percent of their budgets on classroom instruction, less than 65 percent, or is 65 percent about right?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
More than 65%        37%    36%    39%    39%    37%    38%    36%
Less than 65%         5      4      7      4      5      6      6
65% is about right   46     47     45     45     46     45     47
DK/NA                11     12     10     12     12     11     11
 
                     North/                             HvKids HvKids
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   <18    PubSch
 
More than 65%        37%    39%    36%    36%    38%    42%    44%
Less than 65%         7      6      5      6      4      6      6
65% is about right   46     43     46     49     46     45     44
DK/NA                10     12     12      9     12      7      7
 
TREND: Do you think schools should spend more than 65 percent of their budgets on classroom instruction, less than 65 percent, or is 65 percent about right?
                     Sep 8   Jun 3
                     2008    2008
 
More than 65%        37      33
Less than 65%         5       5
65% is about right   46      50
DK/NA                11      12
 
 
14. In general, how much influence do you think state government should have on the decisions of local school districts in how they spend their funds? Do you think that state government should have a lot of influence, some, not much, or no influence at all?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
A lot                17%    15%    20%    16%    18%    16%    12%
Some                 51     55     51     48     49     53     51
Not much             19     18     19     20     18     20     23
No influence          9     10      6     13     11      8     12
DK/NA                 3      2      3      3      4      2      2
 
                     North/                             HvKids HvKids
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   <18    PubSch
 
A lot                15%    20%    15%    11%    21%    19%    19%
Some                 54     49     52     47     52     52     53
Not much             23     15     20     24     17     19     18
No influence          7     12     10     10      8      8      9
DK/NA                 -      4      3      7      2      2      -
 
TREND: In general, how much influence do you think state government should have on the decisions of local school districts in how they spend their funds? Do you think that state government should have a lot of influence, some, not much, or no influence at all?
                     Sep 8   Jun 3
                     2008    2008
 
A lot                17      16
Some                 51      53
Not much             19      18
No influence          9      11
DK/NA                 3       2
 
 
15. Another proposed constitutional amendment would specifically define marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman, making same-sex marriage illegal in Florida. Do you support or oppose this constitutional amendment defining marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Support              55%    76%    45%    44%    55%    54%    78%
Oppose               41     21     51     51     41     42     20
DK/NA                 4      3      4      5      4      4      2
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Support              66%    49%    66%    49%    42%
Oppose               31     46     31     47     53
DK/NA                 3      5      3      4      5
 
TREND: Another proposed constitutional amendment would specifically define marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman, making same-sex marriage illegal in Florida. Do you support or oppose this constitutional amendment defining marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman?
                     Sep 8   Jun 3
                     2008    2008
 
Support              55      58
Oppose               41      37
DK/NA                 4       4
 
 
16. Do you think same-sex couples should be allowed legally to marry, should be allowed legally to form civil unions but not marry, or should not be allowed to obtain legal recognition of their relationships?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Marry                27%    13%    39%    30%    23%    32%    13%
Civil unions         35     40     26     42     39     32     33
No recognition       31     43     27     23     33     30     50
DK/NA                 6      4      8      5      6      6      4
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Marry                20%    28%    21%    25%    39%
Civil unions         34     37     35     39     34
No recognition       44     27     39     27     20
DK/NA                 2      7      5      9      7
 
TREND: Do you think same-sex couples should be allowed legally to marry, should be allowed legally to form civil unions, but not marry, or should not be allowed to obtain legal recognition of their relationships?
                     Sep 8   Aug 8
                     2008    2007
 
Marry                27      27
Civil unions         35      29
No recognition       31      35
DK/NA                 6       9
 
 
17. Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Governor Charlie Crist responded to Tropical Storm Fay?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              83%    91%    80%    79%    86%    81%    88%
Disapprove            5      2      7      5      5      5      3
DK/NA                12      7     12     16      9     14      9
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Approve              90%    81%    83%    87%    79%
Disapprove            1      7      5      2      8
DK/NA                 9     13     12     11     13