June 3, 2008 - Florida Voters Balk At School Vouchers, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; But Back Them When Linked To 65 % Classroom Spending

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Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's job approval remains a lofty 61 - 23 percent, while Florida voters support so strongly a requirement that 65 percent of education funds be used in the classroom that it could carry along a less popular proposal that would allow school vouchers, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Florida voters oppose 56 - 38 percent a constitutional amendment to make it easier for the state to provide public funds for vouchers for religious and private schools, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Republicans split 48 - 46 percent, as Democrats oppose it 62 - 31 percent and independent voters oppose it 66 - 30 percent.

But voters support 63 - 25 percent another constitutional amendment that allows school vouchers and requires that schools spend at least 65 percent of their budgets in the classroom. Republicans, Democrats and independent voters all support the measure by 60 percent or more.

Florida voters support 58 - 37 percent a constitutional amendment that specifically defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman, making same-sex marriage illegal in Florida. Republicans back the measure 77 - 19 percent, as independent voters support it 52 - 44 percent, while Democrats oppose it 52 - 44 percent. Voters with no college degree back the amendment 64 - 32 percent, while college-educated voters oppose it 50 - 46 percent.

"Any politician would die to have Gov. Charlie Crist's approval rating. The economy is down; state programs are being cut and 60 percent of voters say they are somewhat or very dissatisfied with the way things are going in Florida today, yet his numbers remain very, very good," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"If Arizona Sen. McCain is seriously thinking about picking Gov. Crist as his Republican running mate, these numbers certainly will not dissuade him," Brown added.

Crist's support remains solid across the board with 67 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents giving him a thumbs up. In addition, 55 per cent of voters say Crist has kept his campaign promises.

Other statewide Florida officials' job approval ratings are:
  • U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, 51 - 26 percent;
  • U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, 40 - 35 percent;
  • State Attorney General Bill McCollum, 52 - 20 percent;
  • Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, 33 - 25 percent.
"While the constitutional amendment on same-sex marriage is just short of the 60 percent needed for passage, similar measures have passed in more than a dozen states and it would be something of a surprise if it were to fail here," said Brown.

Florida voters support 50 - 38 percent a proposal to eliminate the part of the local property tax that goes for schools and replace it with another levy, such as a sales tax hike, to be determined by the State Legislature.

"Supporters of this one have work to do with the public," said Brown.

The survey finds that if it were to pass 35 percent of voters would like the money replaced by raising the state sales tax rate; 34 percent would want to eliminate sales tax exemptions, and 21 percent would want to make up the cash by cutting state spending.

Looking at the amendment linking vouchers to the 65 percent classroom spending requirement, 33 percent favor spending more than 65 percent in the classroom, while 50 percent say 65 percent is "about right."

"The pro-voucher folks who linked their proposal with the 65 percent requirement may have made a smart political move. Opponents of that amendment are going to have difficulty convincing voters because of the 65 percent requirement," said Brown.

From May 27 - June 1, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,625 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.

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%     67%     60%     55%     62%     59%     58%
Disapprove              23      21      26      25      25      22      24
DK/NA                   16      13      14      19      12      19      17
 
                        North/
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE
 
Approve                 56%     65%     49%     73%     67%
Disapprove              26      18      33      13      21
DK/NA                   18      17      18      14      12
 
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
                        Jun 3   Apr 10  Oct 24  Sep 11  Jul 19  Jul 19  Apr 10
                        2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2007 *  2008
 
Approve                 61      59      65      65      73      73      59
Disapprove              23      25      17      17      11      11      25
DK/NA                   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                 38%     46%     32%     35%     42%     34%     43%
Disapprove              46      37      55      46      45      46      36
DK/NA                   17      17      13      19      13      20      20
 
                        North/
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE
 
Approve                 43%     36%     34%     54%     32%
Disapprove              43      45      49      32      50
DK/NA                   15      19      17      13      18
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Jun 3   Apr 10  Oct 24  Sep 11  Jul 19  Sep 23  Apr 10
                        2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2004    2008
 
Approve                 38      32      36      37      39      51      32
Disapprove              46      48      43      43      37      34      48
DK/NA                   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                 51%     43%     63%     47%     48%     53%     45%
Disapprove              26      33      16      30      30      22      29
DK/NA                   24      24      21      23      22      25      26
 
                        North/
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE
 
Approve                 49%     50%     52%     46%     53%
Disapprove              27      27      25      29      23
DK/NA                   23      23      24      25      24
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Nelson is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Jun 3   Apr 10  Oct 24  Sep 11  Jul 19  Feb 6   Aug 12
                        2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2007    2004
 
Approve                 51      49      48      50      47      54      42
Disapprove              26      25      24      22      26      18      18
DK/NA                   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                 40%     49%     35%     39%     41%     40%     40%
Disapprove              35      25      42      38      38      31      30
DK/NA                   25      25      23      24      21      29      30
 
                        North/
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE
 
Approve                 40%     40%     46%     47%     33%
Disapprove              30      37      33      31      38
DK/NA                   30      23      21      21      28
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mel Martinez is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Jun 3   Apr 10  Oct 24  Sep 11  Jul 19  Feb 6   Oct 24
                        2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2007    2007
 
Approve                 40      36      35      38      36      48      35
Disapprove              35      37      34      33      38      22      34
DK/NA                   25      27      31      29      26      29      31
 
 
5. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill McCollum is handling his job as Florida's Attorney General?
                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl
 
Approve                 52%     62%     48%     46%     51%     52%     55%
Disapprove              20      12      27      24      22      18      16
DK/NA                   28      26      26      30      26      30      29
 
                        North/
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE
 
Approve                 53%     50%     54%     57%     48%
Disapprove              21      18      24      13      21
DK/NA                   27      32      22      30      31
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill McCollum is handling his job as Florida's attorney general?
                        Jun 3   Oct 24
                        2008    2007
 
Approve                 52      44
Disapprove              20      17
DK/NA                   28      39
 
 
6. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Alex Sink is handling her job as Florida's chief financial officer?
                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl
 
Approve                 33%     30%     36%     33%     36%     29%     30%
Disapprove              25      23      24      32      23      27      21
DK/NA                   42      47      40      35      41      44      49
 
                        North/
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE
 
Approve                 32%     36%     33%     33%     30%
Disapprove              27      23      26      26      24
DK/NA                   42      42      40      42      46
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Alex Sink is handling her job as Florida's chief financial officer?
                        Jun 3   Oct 24
                        2008    2007
 
Approve                 33      38
Disapprove              25      15
DK/NA                   42      47
 
 
7. 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           4%      6%      3%      2%      5%      3%      5%
Smwht satisfied         35      42      29      33      37      33      39
Smwht dissatisfied      34      34      35      34      34      34      32
Very dissatisfied       26      16      32      31      23      29      23
DK/NA                    1       1       -       1       1       1       1
 
                        North/
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE
 
Very satisfied           6%      4%      4%      5%      3%
Smwht satisfied         41      39      34      37      27
Smwht dissatisfied      33      31      34      35      38
Very dissatisfied       19      26      28      22      32
DK/NA                    1       1       1       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?
                        Jun 3   Apr 10  Oct 24  Sep 11  Jul 19  Dec 20  Jun 29
                        2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2006    2006
 
Very satisfied           4       5       5       7       8      10      13
Smwht satisfied         35      32      42      40      45      41      45
Smwht dissatisfied      34      34      33      33      33      29      26
Very dissatisfied       26      28      19      18      13      19      16
DK/NA                    1       1       1       1       1       1       1
 
 
8. Do you think that Charlie Crist has kept his campaign promises so far or not?
                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl
 
Yes                     55%     60%     52%     54%     55%     55%     56%
No                      29      24      33      29      30      27      25
DK/NA                   17      15      15      17      15      18      19
 
                        North/
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE
 
Yes                     51%     60%     45%     67%     59%
No                      30      25      34      20      28
DK/NA                   19      16      21      12      13
 
TREND: Do you think that Charlie Crist has kept his campaign promises so far or not?
                        Jun 3   Apr 10  Oct 24  Sep 11  Feb 6
                        2008    2008    2007    2007    2007
 
Yes                     55      51      57      55      67
No                      29      33      24      23       6
DK/NA                   17      16      19      22      27
 
 
9. There is 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                   23%     23%     24%     21%     26%     20%     23%
Some                    43      42      45      41      42      43      38
Not much                23      24      21      24      22      23      25
Nothing at all          12      10      11      14      10      13      14
DK/NA                    -       -       -       1       -       -       -
 
                        North/                                  HvKids  HvKids
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE    <18     PubSch
 
A lot                   23%     17%     27%     23%     22%     17%     19%
Some                    41      41      41      44      48      45      42
Not much                23      29      21      22      19      23      25
Nothing at all          13      13      10      11      11      14      13
DK/NA                    -       -       1       -       1       -       1
 
 
10. 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. Do you support or oppose this constitutional amendment?
                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl
 
Support                 50%     58%     42%     52%     58%     43%     52%
Oppose                  38      35      46      33      34      43      39
DK/NA                   11       8      11      15       8      14       9
 
                        North/                                  HvKids  HvKids
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE    <18     PubSch
 
Support                 43%     54%     47%     55%     55%     52      53
Oppose                  45      33      41      32      37      38      37
DK/NA                   11      13      12      13       9      11      11
 
 
11. 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      35%     32%     34%     41%     36%     34%     32%
Eliminate exemptions    34      30      40      31      31      35      27
Reduce spending         21      31      12      18      25      18      31
DK/NA                   10       8      13      10       8      13      10
 
                                                                Q9..................
                        North/                                  Heard   Heard
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE    lot/sm  noth/notmuch
 
Increase sales tax      29%     34%     32%     37%     42%     40%     26%
Eliminate exemptions    39      33      36      28      29      32      37
Reduce spending         22      22      20      30      18      21      22
DK/NA                   11      11      11       6      11       8      15
 
 
12. 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                   41%     53%     31%     34%     43%     39%     50%
Oppose                  55      43      64      63      54      56      46
DK/NA                    4       4       5       3       3       5       4
 
                        North/                                  HvKids  HvKids
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE    <18     PubSch
 
Favor                   50%     38%     41%     41%     36%     48%     45%
Oppose                  45      57      57      56      60      48      51
DK/NA                    5       5       3       3       4       4       4
 
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?
                        Jun 3   Apr 10
                        2008    2008
 
Favor                   41      41
Oppose                  55      54
DK/NA                    4       5
 
 
13. 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%     48%     31%     30%     40%     36%     47%
Oppose                  56      46      62      66      55      57      47
DK/NA                    6       6       7       3       5       7       6
 
                        North/                                  HvKids  HvKids
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE    <18     PubSch
 
Favor                   46%     32%     40%     37%     34%     49%     46%
Oppose                  48      59      55      57      61      48      51
DK/NA                    6       9       5       5       5       3       3
 
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?
                        Jun 3   Apr 10
                        2008    2008
 
Favor                   38      36
Oppose                  56      59
DK/NA                    6       5
 
 
14. Another proposed constitutional amendment would allow school voucher programs in Florida and require that schools spend at least 65 percent of their budgets in the classroom. Do you support or oppose this proposed constitutional amendment?
                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl
 
Support                 63%     67%     60%     64%     60%     66%     71%
Oppose                  25      21      30      24      29      22      20
DK/NA                   12      12      10      12      12      12       9
 
                        North/                                  HvKids  HvKids
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE    <18     PubSch
 
Support                 69%     63%     61%     60%     61%     65%     68%
Oppose                  20      27      25      27      26      22      22
DK/NA                   11      10      13      13      12      13      10
 
                        STAND ON VOUCHER
                        AMENDMENT Q13...
                        Favor   Oppose
 
Support                 83%     51%
Oppose                   8      37
DK/NA                    9      12
 
 
15. 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%           33%     34%     32%     34%     33%     34%     30%
Less than 65%            5       4       6       5       5       5       5
65% is about right      50      50      50      49      48      51      54
DK/NA                   12      11      12      11      14      11      11
 
                        North/                                  HvKids  HvKids
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE    <18     PubSch
 
More than 65%           35%     31%     35%     36%     32%     39%     41%
Less than 65%            6       7       4       3       4       3       2
65% is about right      49      49      50      49      50      48      49
DK/NA                   10      13      11      12      14      10       8
 
 
16. 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                   16%     17%     16%     15%     17%     15%     11%
Some                    53      53      53      54      50      55      53
Not much                18      18      19      18      19      18      22
No influence            11      11      10      10      12       9      11
DK/NA                    2       1       3       4       2       3       3
 
                        North/                                  HvKids  HvKids
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE    <18     PubSch
 
A lot                   18%     12%     17%     17%     18%     17%     20%
Some                    49      55      53      52      53      54      52
Not much                19      17      18      21      17      19      18
No influence            10      14      10       8      10       7       8
DK/NA                    5       2       2       1       2       2       2
 
 
17. 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                 58%     77%     44%     52%     60%     57%     80%
Oppose                  37      19      52      44      36      38      16
DK/NA                    4       4       4       4       4       4       4
 
                        North/                                  ATTEND SERVICES Q21
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE    Weekly  Less
 
Support                 66%     61%     61%     67%     44%     74%     49%
Oppose                  31      35      33      26      53      23      47
DK/NA                    3       4       6       7       3       3       4
 
                        No col College
                        degree degree
 
Support                 64%   46%
Oppose                  32    50
DK/NA                    4     3
 
 
18. Almost 20 years ago, Florida voters approved a change in the state Constitution limiting to eight years the amount of time anyone can serve as a state representative, state senator or member of the governor's cabinet. Governors were already limited to eight years in office. Do you think these term limits have been good for Florida or not?
                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl
 
Yes                     74%     81%     72%     72%     73%     75%     77%
No                      20      15      22      20      21      19      17
DK/NA                    6       4       6       8       6       6       6
 
                        North/
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE
 
Yes                     74%     68%     75%     86%     75%
No                      22      25      17      12      19
DK/NA                    4       7       7       2       6
 
 
19. Governor Charlie Crist will spend 12 days overseas this summer focusing on climate change and Florida's economic development ties to Europe. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl
 
Good idea               55%     48%     60%     61%     55%     55%     50%
Bad idea                38      46      34      33      40      37      42
DK/NA                    7       6       6       5       5       8       8
 
                        North/
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE
 
Good idea               61%     52%     50%     56%     59%
Bad idea                33      43      42      32      35
DK/NA                    6       4       8      12       6
 
 
20. Do you support or oppose the decision by Governor Charlie Crist and the Legislature to allow people with concealed weapons permits to keep their firearms locked in their cars while they are at work?
                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl
 
Support                 47%     63%     33%     47%     59%     37%     60%
Oppose                  49      35      64      49      38      59      36
DK/NA                    3       2       3       4       3       4       4
 
                        North/
                        PnHnd   Bay     Cntrl   SthW    SthE
 
Support                 55%     46%     51%     53%     37%
Oppose                  43      48      46      42      61
DK/NA                    3       6       3       5       2
 
 
21. Would you say you attend religious services every week, almost every week, once or twice a month, a few times a year, or never?
                                                                        WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Evnglcl
 
WEEKLY:
Every week              28%     36%     26%     20%     23%     32%     46%
Almost every week       10      11      10      10       9      11      13
LESS:
Once or twice a month   14      13      14      16      14      14      13
A few times a year      29      25      33      31      31      26      20
Never                   17      14      16      20      20      14       5
DK/NA                    2       1       1       3       3       2       2