December 20, 2012 - Florida Voters Oppose School Reforms By Big Margins, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Split On Same-Sex Marriage

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Florida voters are dead-set against a series of recommendations made by state officials regarding education, with the largest opposition, 71 - 7 percent, against a plan to set different achievement goals for students of different races, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Registered voters also strongly oppose, 66 - 26 percent, charging lower tuition to college students who major in subjects such as math, science, engineering and computers that lead to higher-paying jobs, and higher tuition for liberal arts majors, considered less employable, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Voters also oppose, 73 - 16 percent, the idea of allowing some public universities dubbed as "preeminent" to charge higher tuition that other state colleges.

Turning to public employee pensions, voters say 53 - 34 percent that it's a good idea to make new state employees participate in a 401-k type retirement plan rather than the defined- benefit plan offered to current state workers.

Opposition to race-based education goals is 73 - 7 percent among white voters, 63 - 11 percent among black voters and 67 - 7 percent among Hispanic voters. Voters with children in public schools oppose the measure 69 - 10 percent.

"Voters, with little difference along political, racial or gender lines, find setting different goals for different races to be distasteful," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"The data from this survey finds that voters like the idea of treating all students and colleges the same."

Florida voters also oppose 62 - 27 percent charging lower tuition rates for freshmen and sophomores than for juniors and seniors.

They are also quite skeptical of Gov. Rick Scott's challenge to the state's colleges and universities to offer some four-year degrees for a total of $10,000. Only 29 percent think it is very or somewhat likely to occur, while 66 percent say it is not very likely or not likely at all to materialize.

Interestingly, while voters seem strongly behind the idea of treating all schools and students equally, when it comes to education, they have a different view about state workers.

The majority who like the idea of creating a two-tiered retirement system for state workers shows little difference by gender, with 55 percent of men and 52 percent of women thinking it is a good idea. But the political divisions are wider: Support is 69 - 20 percent among Republicans and 52 - 36 percent among independent voters, while Democrats are opposed 46 - 40 percent. Voters in union households are opposed 57 - 34 percent. Same-Sex Marriage

Florida voters are changing their minds about same-sex marriage. They opposed this idea 50 - 40 percent in a May 23 Quinnipiac University poll. Today, voters are divided with 43 percent in favor and 45 percent opposed. Men are opposed 48 - 40 percent while women are divided with 45 percent supporting same-sex marriage and 43 percent opposed.

White Catholic voters support same-sex marriage 47 - 40 percent while white Protestants are opposed 63 - 28 percent. Voters 18 to 29 years old support it 66 - 23 percent.

Floridians are less supportive of legalizing personal use of marijuana than the rest of the country. A bare majority of voters, 51 - 44 percent, told a recent Quinnipiac University national poll it supported the idea. But Florida voters oppose it 52 - 42 percent.

From December 11 - 17, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,261 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

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

For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

25. Many state employees belong to retirement plans that pay set benefits based on peak earnings and years of employment. Some Florida lawmakers want new state employees to instead receive a 401k-like plan, that pays benefits based on investment earnings the way many retirement plans in the private sector do. Do you think that changing the state employee retirement plan for new employees to a 401k-like investment plan is a good idea or a bad idea?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Good idea            53%    69%    40%    52%    55%    52%    58%    36%    53%
Bad idea             34     20     46     36     34     34     30     52     35
DK/NA                12     10     14     12     10     14     12     12     11
                     
                     Union
                     HsHlds
 
Good idea            34%
Bad idea             57
DK/NA                 8
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K  50-100 >100K   18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
Good idea            58%    52%    50%    59%    57%    45%    56%    56%    53%
Bad idea             33     35     36     34     33     45     31     35     31
DK/NA                 9     13     14      7     10     10     13      9     16
 
 
26. Do you support or oppose allowing colleges and universities that are designated by the Board of Governors as 'preeminent' or 'top' schools to exceed the 15% cap on raising tuition?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Support              16%    17%    14%    17%    19%    14%    17%    14%    15%
Oppose               73     70     76     75     72     74     72     74     78
DK/NA                10     13     10      8      9     12     11     12      7
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K  50-100 >100K   18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
Support              18%    16%    15%    17%    17%    22%    12%    18%    15%
Oppose               73     73     75     75     75     71     82     73     69
DK/NA                 9     11     10      8      8      6      6     10     16
 
                     North/                             HAVE KIDS......
                     Panhd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   <18    InPubSch
 
Support              16%    15%    20%    15%    15%    16%    15%
Oppose               76     73     72     75     73     78     81
DK/NA                 8     13      8     10     12      6      4
 
 
27. Do you support or oppose allowing colleges and universities to charge more for degrees considered less employable like liberal arts and charge less for degrees considered more employable like science, technology, engineering and math?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Support              26%    27%    26%    27%    30%    23%    24%    35%    27%
Oppose               66     62     66     67     63     68     67     57     70
DK/NA                 8     11      8      6      7      9      9      8      4
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K  50-100 >100K   18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
Support              22%    28%    28%    29%    22%    30%    28%    26%    24%
Oppose               74     62     62     66     74     66     69     66     61
DK/NA                 4     10     10      5      4      3      3      8     15
 
                     North/                             HAVE KIDS......
                     Panhd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   <18    InPubSch
 
Support              25%    25%    31%    25%    25%    26%    28%
Oppose               65     66     61     67     68     68     68
DK/NA                 9      9      7      8      7      5      4
 
 
28. Do you support or oppose allowing colleges and universities to charge less for freshman and sophomore level classes and charge more for junior and senior level classes?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Support              27%    29%    25%    27%    32%    22%    27%    30%    24%
Oppose               62     58     65     63     56     67     62     58     65
DK/NA                11     13     11     10     12     11     11     12     11
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K  50-100 >100K   18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
Support              28%    26%    26%    29%    31%    32%    26%    30%    21%
Oppose               66     60     64     61     59     62     69     58     61
DK/NA                 6     13     10      9     10      6      5     12     18
 
                     North/                             HAVE KIDS......
                     Panhd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   <18    InPubSch
 
Support              30%    28%    21%    24%    29%    27%    27%
Oppose               62     59     68     66     58     65     67
DK/NA                 8     13     11      9     13      9      6
 
 
29. Governor Rick Scott has challenged Florida colleges to offer some of their four-year degree programs for ten thousand dollars. How likely do you think it is that Florida colleges will be able to offer four-year degree programs for ten thousand dollars? Do you think it is very likely, somewhat likely, not very likely or not likely at all?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Very likely           9%    10%    10%     8%     9%     9%     6%    11%    16%
Smwht likely         20     25     17     17     21     19     19     27     17
Not very likely      33     33     32     35     32     34     35     29     33
Not likely at all    33     28     36     34     34     32     34     28     30
DK/NA                 5      4      6      6      5      6      5      5      4
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K  50-100 >100K   18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
Very likely           8%     9%    10%     5%     7%     6%    13%    10%     6%
Smwht likely         17     21     22     20     17     27     17     20     18
Not very likely      32     34     35     32     36     34     32     32     35
Not likely at all    38     31     28     41     36     28     36     32     34
DK/NA                 5      5      6      3      5      4      2      6      7
 
                     North/                             HAVE KIDS......
                     Panhd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   <18    InPubSch
 
Very likely           6%     9%    10%    11%    10%    10%     9%
Smwht likely         24     17     21     21     17     21     23
Not very likely      35     34     32     36     31     27     26
Not likely at all    31     35     32     25     36     40     40
DK/NA                 4      5      4      7      6      2      1
 
 
30. To cut the achievement gap in Florida's public schools, the Board of Education has set different goals for different racial and ethnic groups. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea, or don't you have an opinion about that?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Good idea             7%     4%    13%     6%     7%     8%     7%    11%     7%
Bad idea             71     77     65     72     70     72     73     63     67
No opinion           20     18     21     20     22     19     19     24     25
REFUSED               1      1      1      2      1      1      1      2      1
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K  50-100 >100K   18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
Good idea            10%     6%     8%     5%     8%     5%     8%    10%     5%
Bad idea             75     70     66     79     78     68     71     73     70
No opinion           15     22     24     15     14     26     21     16     23
REFUSED               -      2      1      1      -      -      1      1      2
 
                     North/                             HAVE KIDS......
                     Panhd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   <18    InPubSch
 
Good idea             9%     5%     9%     6%     7%     9%    10%
Bad idea             72     76     70     71     69     70     69
No opinion           19     17     20     23     23     20     22
REFUSED               1      1      2      -      1      1      -
 
 
31. In general, do you support or oppose same-sex marriage?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Support              43%    23%    58%    47%    40%    45%    45%    31%    46%
Oppose               45     66     31     40     48     43     44     60     44
DK/NA                12     11     11     13     11     12     11      9     10
 
                     WHITE..............................................
                     COLLEGE DEG                               BornAgnEv
                     Yes    No     Prot   Cath   Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Support              54%    42%    28%    47%    42%    48%    19%    48%
Oppose               35     48     63     40     46     41     75     39
DK/NA                11     11      9     14     12     10      7     13
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K  50-100 >100K   18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
Support              53%    39%    40%    49%    47%    66%    47%    42%    30%
Oppose               36     49     50     41     42     23     43     46     58
DK/NA                12     11     10     10     11     11     10     12     12
 
TREND: In general, do you support or oppose same-sex marriage?
                     Dec 20  May 23
                     2012    2012
 
Support              43      40
Oppose               45      50
DK/NA                12      10
 
 
32. Do you think that the use of marijuana should be made legal in Florida, or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Yes                  42%    28%    48%    49%    49%    37%    45%    37%    32%
No                   52     66     46     46     47     56     49     55     64
DK/NA                 6      6      7      5      5      7      6      7      4
 
                     WHITE..............................................
                     COLLEGE DEG                               BornAgnEv
                     Yes    No     Prot   Cath   Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Yes                  48%    45%    32%    43%    49%    42%    28%    45%
No                   45     51     62     52     46     51     69     49
DK/NA                 8      5      5      4      5      7      3      6
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K  50-100 >100K   18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
Yes                  46%    41%    41%    49%    43%    54%    50%    47%    24%
No                   47     54     54     45     50     43     43     46     70
DK/NA                 7      5      5      5      7      3      7      6      6
 
 

Demographic Summary