March 29, 2007 - Florida Governor Rides Wave Of Voter Approval, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Expect State Leaders To Cut Property Taxes
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist enjoys a stratospheric 73 - 9 percent job approval rating, but Florida voters are split about how he and lawmakers should lower their property taxes, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. The Republican Governor, in office three months, wins the approval of 71 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of independent voters.

The total tax burden in Florida is too high, 52 percent of voters say, and 51 percent say this tax burden is higher than in other states, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. But voters are split on how to bring taxes under control:
  • Eliminating local property taxes and replacing them with a state tax is a "bad idea," voters say 51 - 34 percent;
  • Voters support 69 - 23 percent reducing local government spending to 2001 levels;
  • Voters oppose 48 - 44 percent eliminating the property tax on primary residences and replacing that revenue with a 2.5 percent sales tax hike;
  • Voters are willing 49 - 40 percent to accept fewer government services to lower property taxes;
  • Voters say 63 - 28 percent that the sales tax is more fair than the property tax.
"Not only is Gov. Crist's approval rating out of sight, he still has room to grow since almost one in five Floridians haven't made up their mind about him yet. Even Democrats give him thumbs up by a eight-to-one margin," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Florida voters think he kept his word to lower their property insurance rates and are optimistic he will do the same to their property taxes," Brown added.

In an open-ended question, allowing for any answer, 19 percent of Florida voters cite taxes as the biggest problem facing the state, followed by 15 percent who list property insurance, 10 percent who say education and 6 percent for immigration.

A total of 60 percent of Florida voters say it is "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that Gov. Crist and state lawmakers will agree on a plan to cut property taxes, with 32 percent of voters expecting tax cuts of up to 10 percent and 30 percent expecting cuts of 10 - 20 percent.

In general, there was little difference on these questions in the responses from homeowners, who make up almost 80 percent of the sample, and renters.

But on the question that found Florida voters willing 49 - 40 percent to accept fewer local government services in exchange for lower property taxes, renters said no 44 - 40 percent.

By a narrow 46 - 44 percent margin, Florida voters support repealing the constitutional amendment that gives long-time homeowners a property tax break. But voters support 62 - 28 percent an amendment that would allow those homeowners to take part of that savings with them if they move.

Voters say 70 - 24 percent that property tax relief should be extended to small businesses, but 63 percent oppose extending tax relief to renters and 54 percent oppose extending it to landlords.

From March 21 - 27, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,061 Florida voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points.

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

For more data -- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x271.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

19. 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 73% 82% 71% 71% 75% 72% 79% Disapprove 9 4 9 11 9 10 8 DK/NA 18 14 20 18 17 18 13

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Approve 64% 76% 72% 76% 78% Disapprove 12 8 11 6 7 DK/NA 24 16 16 18 15

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Charlie Crist is handling his job as Governor?

                        Mar 29  Feb 6  
                        2007    2007


Approve 73 69 Disapprove 9 6 DK/NA 18 25



20. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Approve 42% 53% 38% 37% 46% 39% 44% Disapprove 33 20 36 41 36 30 25 DK/NA 25 26 26 21 18 30 31

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Approve 46% 44% 43% 36% 39% Disapprove 29 37 37 27 32 DK/NA 25 19 20 37 29

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?

                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Mar 29  Feb 6   Dec 20  Jul 26  Jun 29  Sep 23  Dec 20
                        2007    2007    2006    2006    2006    2004    2006  


Approve 42 50 38 43 44 51 38 Disapprove 33 27 43 41 40 34 43 DK/NA 25 24 19 17 16 15 19



21. 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 53% 47% 61% 51% 58% 49% 57% Disapprove 18 23 13 17 21 16 17 DK/NA 29 30 25 33 21 35 26

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Approve 59% 53% 55% 47% 50% Disapprove 13 17 23 19 17 DK/NA 27 30 22 34 33

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Nelson is handling his job as United States Senator?

                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Mar 29  Feb 6   Dec 21  Oct 11  Jul 27  Feb 6   Aug 12
                        2007    2007    2006    2006    2006    2007    2004


Approve 53 54 51 43 44 54 42 Disapprove 18 18 23 26 25 18 18 DK/NA 29 28 26 31 30 28 40



22. 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 44% 62% 36% 34% 45% 43% 50% Disapprove 25 13 32 30 32 20 15 DK/NA 31 26 31 36 23 37 34

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Approve 48% 48% 41% 39% 41% Disapprove 20 22 28 27 29 DK/NA 33 30 30 34 30

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mel Martinez is handling his job as United States Senator?

                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Mar 29  Feb 6   Dec 21  Jul 27  Jun 30  Feb 6   Jul 27
                        2007    2007    2006    2006    2006    2007    2006 


Approve 44 48 42 40 42 48 40 Disapprove 25 22 25 33 31 22 33 DK/NA 31 29 32 27 28 29 27



25. Generally speaking, would you say things in Florida are heading in the right direction, or are they off on the wrong track?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Right direction 52% 67% 44% 48% 56% 49% 62% Wrong track 35 21 42 42 33 37 27 DK/NA 12 11 14 10 10 14 11

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Right direction 60% 52% 53% 63% 43% Wrong track 27 36 36 27 44 DK/NA 13 11 11 11 14



26. What do you think is the most important problem facing Florida today?

                        Tot 
 
Taxes Total             19% 
 Taxes general           4  
 Property tax           15  
 
Property Insurance      15%
 
Education Total         10% 
 Education general       8  
 Funding education       2  
 
Immigration              6%
 
Economy Total            5% 
 Economy general         1  
 Unemployment/jobs       3  
 Cost of living          1  
 
Healthcare Total         4% 
 Healthcare/Costs/
 Ins/HMO's               3  
 Prescription
 costs                   1  
 
Overcrowding/Over
 population              4%
 
Crime general            3%
 
Insurance general        3%
 
Open space/Urban sprawl
 /Overdevelopment        3%


Environment/Pollution 2%

Hurricanes 1 Energy Total 1 Housing Costs/ Availability 1 Drought/Water problems 1 Mass Transit Total 1 Politicians general 1 War (Iraq) 1

Other 10 DK/NA 6

TREND: What do you think is the most important problem facing Florida today?

                                        Mar 29  Dec 20  Jun 29  May 24  Apr 20
                                        2007    2006    2006    2006    2006


Crime Total 3% 4% 5% 2% 3% Crime/Violence general 3 3 4 2 2 Drugs - 1 1 - 1

Economy Total 5% 6% 6% 6% 10% Economy general 1 2 1 1 3 Unemployment/jobs 3 2 2 2 3 Minimum wage too low - 1 1 1 1 Cost of living 1 1 2 2 3

Education Total 10% 15% 19% 19% 24% Education general 8 9 14 14 18 Teachers - 1 1 1 1 Funding education 2 2 3 3 3 School choice/Vouchers - 1 - 1 1 Education other - 2 1 - 1

Energy costs Total 1% 1% 2% 3% 4% Energy costs general 1 1 1 1 1 Gas prices - - 1 2 3

Environment/Pollution 2% 2% 3% 3% 4%

Healthcare Total 4% 2% 2% 3% 6% Healthcare/Costs/Insurance/HMO's 3 2 2 3 4 Medical malpractice - - - - 1 Medicare - - - - 1 Prescription costs 1 - - - -

Home/Property Insurance 15% 22% 5% 6% -

Hurricanes/Weather Total 1% - 5% 7% 5% Hurricanes 1 - 4 7 5 Prepared for weather - - 1 - -

Immigration 6% 9% 10% 13% 13%

Insurance general 3% - - - -

Open space/Urban sprawl/Overdev 3% 3 5% 4% 2%

Overcrowding/Over population 4% 4% 6% 7% 5%

Taxes Total 19% 9% 3% 3% 3% Taxes general 4 3 1 1 2 Property tax 15 6 2 2 1

Other 10 7 6 3 3 DK/NA 6 4 5 6 6



27. In general do you think taxes in Florida - that is all state and local taxes taken together - are too high, too low, or about what they should be?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Too high 52% 52% 57% 45% 51% 53% 48% Too low 3 2 4 2 3 2 1 What they should be 43 44 37 50 42 43 50 DK/NA 2 3 2 3 3 2 2

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Too high 52% 53% 44% 51% 48% 48% 65% Too low 3 2 2 6 3 1 1 What they should be 43 44 52 41 48 48 31 DK/NA 2 1 2 2 2 3 3



28. Do you think property taxes are a larger burden in Florida than they are in other states or about the same?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Larger burden in FL 51% 52% 53% 44% 47% 53% 43% About the same 36 35 33 43 40 32 36 DK/NA 13 13 15 13 12 15 21

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Larger burden in FL 50% 54% 39% 50% 48% 36% 67% About the same 37 33 40 38 38 59 22 DK/NA 13 13 21 12 14 6 11



29. One idea under consideration is eliminating local property tax and replacing the revenue by raising another state tax. In general, do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Good idea 34% 37% 27% 35% 36% 32% 32% Bad idea 51 48 55 53 53 50 50 DK/NA 15 14 18 12 11 19 19

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Good idea 34% 29% 26% 39% 31% 27% 40% Bad idea 50 58 61 46 52 51 47 DK/NA 16 13 14 15 16 22 14



30a. One specific plan under consideration has two major parts:

One would reduce local government spending to near 2001, pre-real estate boom levels and use the savings to finance property tax cuts. Local governments could spend more but they would have to vote to do so.

Do you support or oppose your local government reducing spending to 2001 levels to help lower property taxes?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Support 69% 73% 66% 66% 72% 66% 69% Oppose 23 17 26 26 24 22 21 DK/NA 8 10 9 8 5 12 10

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Support 69% 67% 72% 68% 63% 76% 70% Oppose 23 28 22 25 27 18 20 DK/NA 9 5 6 8 9 6 11



30b. The other part of that plan would eliminate all property taxes on primary residences and replace the lost revenue with a sales tax increase of 2.5 cents, bringing the total sales tax in Florida to 8.5 cents on the dollar.

Do you support or oppose raising the sales tax to 8.5 cents to help lower property taxes?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Support 44% 48% 42% 44% 46% 43% 49% Oppose 48 44 52 48 49 48 41 DK/NA 8 8 6 8 5 10 10

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Support 45% 37% 37% 50% 39% 49% 49% Oppose 47 56 55 40 55 50 42 DK/NA 8 7 8 10 6 1 9



31. Supporters of this combined proposal say that tourists contribute about 25 percent of Florida's sales tax revenue and this proposal would pass some of the tax burden on to them. Opponents of this combined proposal say it would force local governments to cut basic services.

Which comes closer to your point of view: A) It is more important to get tourists to finance some of our tax burden, OR B) It is more important to maintain basic government services?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


A) Tourists finance tax burden 39% 44% 35% 35% 41% 36% 50% B) Maintain gov services 50 43 54 53 46 53 37 DK/NA 12 12 11 12 13 11 13

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

A) Tourists finance tax burden 37% 46% 44% 43% 38% 33% 35% B) Maintain gov services 50 45 45 44 54 58 51 DK/NA 12 9 12 13 9 9 14



32. In general are you willing to accept fewer local government services in exchange for lower property taxes?
                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Yes 49% 61% 42% 40% 56% 43% 54% No 40 29 46 49 35 44 32 DK/NA 11 10 12 11 9 13 14

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Yes 52% 40% 45% 54% 48% 42% 51% No 38 44 44 33 41 49 37 DK/NA 11 16 11 13 11 9 11



33. Generally speaking which Florida tax do you feel is the one that is more fair to you - the property tax or the sales tax?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Property tax 28% 25% 33% 25% 27% 29% 25% Sales tax 63 67 57 66 65 61 66 DK/NA 9 8 10 9 8 10 9

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Property tax 30% 21% 28% 28% 29% 23% 29% Sales tax 62 66 61 65 60 56 66 DK/NA 8 13 11 6 11 21 5



34. Currently, longtime homeowners pay lower property taxes than neighbors with homes of equal value who bought more recently. Should the length of time that a person has lived in their house affect the amount of property taxes that a person pays or should taxes be based on property value alone?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Length of time 35% 36% 34% 32% 36% 34% 32% Property value alone 57 57 58 57 58 56 58 DK/NA 8 7 8 11 6 10 9

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Length of time 37% 26% 30% 35% 30% 38% 41% Property value alone 55 69 64 60 59 53 51 DK/NA 8 5 6 5 11 9 8

TREND: Currently, longtime homeowners pay lower property taxes than neighbors with homes of equal value who bought more recently. Should the length of time that a person has lived in their house effect the amount of property taxes that a person pays or should taxes be based on property value alone?

                        Mar 29  Feb 6   Dec 20
                        2007    2007    2006


Length of time 35 32 39 Property value 57 59 53 DK/NA 8 9 9



35. Would you support or oppose a constitutional amendment to eliminate the one that gives longtime homeowners lower tax bills?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Support 46% 49% 47% 40% 44% 48% 48% Oppose 44 43 42 51 49 40 40 DK/NA 10 8 11 9 7 12 12

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Support 45% 51% 47% 43% 47% 46% 47% Oppose 45 41 44 46 42 47 44 DK/NA 10 8 8 11 11 7 9



36. Would you support or oppose a constitutional amendment that would keep the tax advantage for longtime homeowners, but allow homeowners who move to take some of that tax break with them?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Support 62% 60% 65% 59% 61% 63% 62% Oppose 28 28 24 34 31 26 25 DK/NA 10 12 11 7 8 11 13

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Support 65% 53% 63% 57% 58% 57% 72% Oppose 26 36 31 30 29 33 22 DK/NA 9 11 6 14 13 10 6



37. Florida homeowners who qualify for the Homestead tax exemption currently pay property taxes on $25,000 less than their home's assessed value. Governor Crist wants to double the exemption to $50,000 less than a home's assessed property value. Do you support or oppose that proposal?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Support 73% 77% 71% 68% 72% 73% 73% Oppose 21 16 22 26 25 18 18 DK/NA 6 7 7 6 3 9 9

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Support 77% 59% 68% 75% 72% 82% 71% Oppose 18 32 28 16 21 16 23 DK/NA 6 9 5 9 7 2 6

TREND: Florida homeowners who qualify for the Homestead tax exemption currently pay property taxes on $25,000 less than their home's assessed value. Governor Christ wants to double the exemption to $50,000 less than a home's assessed property value. Do you support or oppose that proposal?

                        Mar 29  Feb 6
                        2007    2007


Support 73 77 Oppose 21 15 DK/NA 6 7



38. How likely is it that the state legislature and Governor Crist will be able to agree on a plan that will cut property taxes - Very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely or not likely at all?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Very likely 15% 19% 15% 13% 16% 14% 17% Smwht likely 45 45 45 48 42 47 43 Not too likely 21 23 18 22 21 22 21 Not likely at all 13 8 15 12 16 11 14 DK/NA 6 5 7 5 5 7 6

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Very likely 17% 6% 14% 13% 15% 13% 18% Smwht likely 43 52 43 43 44 50 48 Not too likely 22 21 20 23 23 20 20 Not likely at all 12 14 16 16 12 12 9 DK/NA 6 6 7 5 6 6 5



39. Should the legislature and Governor Crist agree on a property tax cut plan, Do you expect it will lead to average property tax cuts of - A)Less than 10 percent, B)10 to 20 percent, C)20 to 40 percent OR D)Elimination of the property tax

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Less than 10% 32% 35% 27% 33% 33% 31% 32% 10 to 20% 30 26 34 32 27 31 33 20 to 40% 13 13 12 13 13 12 9 Elimination 12 10 15 5 13 11 9 DK/NA 14 16 12 18 13 15 17

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Less than 10% 32% 31% 34% 41% 29% 37% 24% 10 to 20% 31 24 28 23 31 28 35 20 to 40% 12 18 12 9 12 12 16 Elimination 11 16 10 16 13 4 11 DK/NA 15 11 17 11 14 19 13



40. Some Florida leaders want to call a special election to decide on a property tax cut proposal. The special election will cost about 19 million dollars but could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax reductions this year.

Do you think there should be a special election this year or should the state wait until the next regularly scheduled election in 2008?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Special election 24% 25% 22% 24% 25% 23% 22% Wait until 2008 72 72 73 73 71 74 76 OTHER - - - - - - - DK/NA 3 3 5 3 4 3 2

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Special election 25% 20% 13% 26% 24% 18% 33% Wait until 2008 71 78 82 70 73 81 64 OTHER - - - - - - - DK/NA 4 2 5 4 3 1 4



41. Do you think that property tax relief in Florida should also benefit small business owners or just homeowners?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Small business owners 70% 67% 73% 69% 69% 72% 69% Just homeowners 24 26 21 25 26 21 25 DK/NA 6 7 6 6 5 7 6

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Small business owners 72% 65% 72% 70% 65% 80% 70% Just homeowners 22 28 19 26 28 17 23 DK/NA 6 6 9 3 7 3 6



42. Do you think that property tax relief in Florida should also benefit renters or just homeowners?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Renters 28% 29% 29% 28% 30% 27% 29% Just homeowners 63 62 62 63 61 65 62 DK/NA 8 9 8 8 8 9 9

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Renters 24% 48% 26% 33% 22% 24% 34% Just homeowners 67 44 63 61 69 65 59 DK/NA 8 9 12 5 9 11 8



43. Do you think that property tax relief in Florida should also benefit landlords or just homeowners?

                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl


Landlords 40% 44% 37% 39% 39% 41% 43% Just homeowners 54 50 57 55 56 52 51 DK/NA 6 6 6 6 6 7 7

North/ HmOwner Renter PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Landlords 40% 43% 44% 42% 38% 32% 40% Just homeowners 54 51 51 53 54 59 55 DK/NA 6 6 6 5 8 9 5