November 19, 2008 - Florida Voters Mixed On Their Economic Outlook; Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Most Say Finances Good, But Won't Get Better

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Florida voters are surprisingly upbeat about their personal financial condition, as 56 percent say family finances are "excellent" or "good," and 43 percent say they are "not so good" or "poor," according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. But only 31 percent expect things to get better in the next year, while 21 percent say they will get worse and 44 percent say they will stay the same.

And voters say 59 - 20 percent that they are worse off then they were a year ago, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Floridians say 58 - 30 percent that more cuts in local property taxes are needed, in part because local officials have failed reduce assessments to reflect the decline in property values. They think 73 - 22 percent the voting public, not the Legislature, should make the tax cuts. When it comes to the state budget, they want spending cut rather than taxes raised, but prefer those cuts on a case-by-case basis, not by an across-the-board percentage.

A total of 47 percent of voters are "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with the way things are going in the state today, while 53 percent are "somewhat dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied."

"The housing meltdown hit Florida worse than most of the rest of the country and unemployment has risen there, yet voters aren't nearly as pessimistic about their situation or their prospects as in some other states," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Only 53 percent say they are somewhat or very dissatisfied with the way things are going in Florida today, while 47 percent are very or somewhat satisfied. That's pretty optimistic given the economy, stock market crash and predictions that the recession could be deep and long," said Brown. "There are higher levels of pessimism in other parts of the country."

"A November 13 Quinnipiac University national poll showed a record high 82 percent level of dissatisfaction."

While property values in Florida are dropping, local officials are too slow in reducing appraisals and property tax rates, 64 percent of voters say.

Voters say 73 - 22 percent that they should cut property taxes through another referendum, rather than leave the job to the State Legislature. When it comes to the state budget, voters prefer 55 - 30 percent cutting services rather than raising taxes. By a 73 - 21 percent margin, voters prefer those cuts on a case-by-case basis, not by an across-the-board percentage.

"Sixty-four percent say that local taxing officials are failing to keep up with the real estate market and are slower in reducing taxes in these hard times than they were raising them during the real estate bubble that raised them," said Brown.

"Voters want tax cuts and by a 3 - 1 margin, they would rather do it themselves than trust elected officials. But if officials must do the cutting, they should use a scalpel, not an ax. Across the board cuts are not politically popular," said Brown.

In an open-ended question, where respondents can give any answer, 49 percent of Florida voters cite the economy as the biggest problem facing the state today, followed by 8 percent who list taxes and 8 percent who list education.

Of those who list the economy as their most important problem, 51 percent say Florida Gov. Charlie Crist can't do anything about it.

From November 11 - 16, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,361 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 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 or RSS feed - http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

18. 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%    13%     3%     4%     7%     6%     9%
Smwht satisfied      40     49     33     37     38     41     47
Smwht dissatisfied   33     25     37     37     34     31     26
Very dissatisfied    20     12     27     21     20     21     16
DK/NA                 1      1      -      1      1      1      2
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Very satisfied       11%    10%     5%     8%     2%
Smwht satisfied      46     32     42     42     39
Smwht dissatisfied   30     38     33     27     32
Very dissatisfied    12     20     19     23     26
DK/NA                 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?
                     Nov 19  Sep 8   Jun 3   Apr 10  Oct 24  Sep 11  Jul 19  Dec 20
                     2008    2008    2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2006
 
Very satisfied        7       7       4       5       5       7       8      10
Smwht satisfied      40      39      35      32      42      40      45      41
Smwht dissatisfied   33      29      34      34      33      33      33      29
Very dissatisfied    20       2      24      26      28      18      13       9
DK/NA                 1       -       1       1       1       1       1       1
 
 
19. What do you think is the most important problem facing Florida today?
                     Tot
 
Economy Total        50%
 Economy general     15
 Unemployment/jobs   21
 Housing market/Real
  estate values       4
 Foreclosures/Mrtg
  crisis              4
 Cost of living       2
 Energy costs/Crisis  1
 Business leaving/
  Outsourcing         1
 Stock market         1
 Minimum wage too low 1
 
Taxes Total           8%
 Taxes general        3
 Property tax         5
 
Education Total       8%
 Education general    4
 Teachers             1
 Funding education    3
 
Healthcare Total      3%
 Healthcare general   1
 Healthcare/Costs/
  Ins/HMO's           2
 
Budget Total          3%
 Budget general       1
 Budget cuts/Cuts in
  services            1
 Gov too big/Gov
  spending            1
 
Property Insurance    3%
 
Politicians Total     3%
 Politicians/
  Campaigns general   1
 Political corruption 1
 Politicians/
  Campaigns other     1
 
Immigration           3%
 
Crime Total           2%
 Crime/Violence
  general             2
 
Overcrowding/Over
 population           2%
 
Energy crisis/Gas
 prices Total         2%
 Energy costs/Crisis
  general             1
 Off shore drilling   1
 
Housing general       1%
Senior issues         1%
Drought/Water probs   1%
Environment/Pollution 1%
Mass Transit Total    1%
 
Other                 3%
 
DK/NA                 3%
 
 
TREND: What do you think is the most important problem facing Florida today?
                                      Nov 19  Sep 11  Jul 19  Mar 29  Dec 20  Jun 29
                                      2008    2007    2007    2007    2006    2006
 
Budget/Spending Total                  3%      1%      -       -       -       -
 Budget general                        1       1       -       -       -       -
 Budget deficits                       1       -       -       -       -       -
 Government too big/Gov spending       1       -       -       -       -       -
 
Crime Total                            2%      5%      4%      3%      4%      5%
 Crime/Violence general                2       4       3       3       3       4
 
Drought/Water problems                 1       1       1       1       1       1
 
Economy Total                         50%      8%      7%      5%      6%      6%
 Economy general                      15       2       2       1       2       1
 Unemployment/jobs                    21       3       2       3       2       2
 Stock market                          1       -       -       -       -       -
 Minimum wage too low                  1       1       -       -       1       1
 Cost of living                        2       2       3       1       1       2
 Businesses leaving/Outsourcing        1       -       -       -       -       -
 Energy costs/Crisis                   1       -       -       -       -       -
 Housing market/Real estate values     4       -       -       -       -       -
 Foreclosures/Mortgage crisis          4       -       -       -       -       -
 
Education Total                        8%      9%      9%     10%     15%     19%
 Education general                     4       5       6       8       9      14
 Teachers                              1       -       -       -       1       1
 Funding education                     3       2       2       2       2       3
 
Environment/Pollution                  1       3       3       2       2       3
 
Healthcare Total                       2%      4%      7%      4%      2%      2%
 Healthcare/Costs/Insurance/HMO's      2       4       6       3       2       2
 
Home/Property Insurance                3%     15%     11%     15%     22       5
 
Housing Total                          1%      3%      1%      1%      1%      1%
 Housing general                       1       1       -       -       -       -
 
Immigration                            3%      6%      8%      6%      9%     10%
 
Overcrowding/Over population           2%      2%      3%      4%      4%      6%
 
Politicians/Campaigns Total            3%      3%      2%      1%      1%      2%
 Politicians/Campaigns general         1       1       1       1       -       -
 Political corruption                  1       1       1       -       -       1
 Politicians/Campaigns other           1       -       -       -       -       -
 
Senior issues                          1       -       1       -       1       1
 
Taxes Total                            8%     21%     22%     19%      9%      3%
 Taxes general                         3       7       7       4       3       1
 Property tax                          5      14      15      15       6       2
 
Better mass trans/Public trans         1       -       -       1       -       -
 
Other                                  3       2       1      10       7       6
DK/NA                                  3       6       4       6       4       5
 
20. (If response given q19) Is that something you think Governor Crist can do something about or do you think that is beyond a Governor's control?
                     RESPONSE GIVEN Q19.....................................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Gov'can do something 55%    51%    57%    54%    54%    55%    48%
Beyond Gov's control 40     44     36     41     41     38     42
DK/NA                 6      5      7      5      5      7     11
 
                     North/                              MOST IMP PROB Q19..
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE    Econ   Taxes  Educ
 
Gov'can do something 52%    55%    58%    47%    55%     45%    61%    77%
Beyond Gov's control 40     42     35     45     40      51     31     21
DK/NA                 9      3      7      8      5       4      7      2
 
 
22. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Charlie Crist is handling property insurance?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              42%    52%    30%    46%    46%    39%    50%
Disapprove           34     24     44     34     33     35     25
DK/NA                24     24     26     20     21     26     25
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Approve              43%    41%    38%    50%    44%
Disapprove           24     37     38     25     38
DK/NA                33     22     24     25     18
 
 
23. Do you think Governor Crist has been too friendly to the insurance companies, treated them about right, or not friendly enough.
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Too friendly         28%    20%    35%    29%    27%    28%    20%
About right          40     48     32     42     43     38     48
Not friendly enough   8      9      8      6      7      8      5
DK/NA                24     24     25     23     22     26     27
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Too friendly         20%    34%    27%    22%    32%
About right          48     40     35     43     39
Not friendly enough   6      6     10      7      8
DK/NA                26     20     28     28     22
 
 
24. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Charlie Crist is handling the economy?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              46%    61%    34%    45%    52%    41%    59%
Disapprove           33     18     48     33     31     35     24
DK/NA                21     21     18     23     17     24     18
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Approve              50%    53%    42%    50%    41%
Disapprove           32     32     33     31     37
DK/NA                18     16     25     19     22
 
 
25. Would you describe the state of your own personal finances these days as: Excellent, good, not so good, or poor?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Excellent             7%    12%     4%     5%     8%     6%     7%
Good                 49     52     44     51     53     45     50
Not so good          30     26     34     30     28     31     28
Poor                 13      8     18     13     10     17     12
DK/NA                 1      2      -      1      1      1      2
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Excellent             7%     6%     9%     4%     7%
Good                 53     49     43     48     51
Not so good          26     30     31     33     30
Poor                 12     15     15     13     12
DK/NA                 2      -      2      2      -
 
 
26. Would you say that you are better off or worse off financially than you were a year ago?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Better off           20%    25%    19%    18%    21%    20%    23%
Worse off            59     52     64     60     59     59     56
SAME(VOL)            20     22     17     21     19     20     20
DK/NA                 1      1      1      1      1      1      1
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Better off           28%    24%    18%     8%    18%
Worse off            55     56     59     72     60
SAME(VOL)            18     20     21     18     20
DK/NA                 -      -      1      2      2
 
TREND: Would you say that you are better off or worse off financially than you were a year ago?
                     Nov 19   Dec 7
                     2008     2004
 
Better off           20      42
Worse off            59      34
SAME(VOL)            20      22
DK/NA                 1       1
 
 
27. During the next 12 months, do you think your own personal finances will get better, get worse, or stay about the same?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Get better           31%    31%    34%    27%    29%    32%    25%
Get worse            21     20     17     24     23     18     20
Stay the same        44     45     45     42     43     46     51
DK/NA                 4      4      3      7      5      4      4
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Get better           35%    37%    26%    26%    27%
Get worse            17     19     21     29     21
Stay the same        44     41     48     41     45
DK/NA                 4      3      4      4      6
 
 
28. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Charlie Crist is handling the state budget?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              44%    59%    31%    44%    47%    41%    52%
Disapprove           28     16     40     25     27     29     22
DK/NA                28     25     29     31     26     31     25
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Approve              42%    53%    40%    47%    41%
Disapprove           27     26     30     24     29
DK/NA                31     21     30     28     31
 
 
29. To balance the state budget next year, if you had to choose, which would you prefer - Raising taxes to keep state services at their current level or cutting state services to keep taxes at their current level?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Raising taxes        30%    17%    46%    27%    29%    32%    26%
Cutting services     55     71     38     58     59     52     60
DK/NA                14     12     15     14     12     16     15
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Raising taxes        33%    30%    31%    23%    31%
Cutting services     52     54     58     64     54
DK/NA                15     16     11     13     16
 
 
30. If state budget cuts are necessary, which would you prefer? That the state legislature - implement across-the-board spending cuts or that it makes specific cuts on a case-by-case basis?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Across-the-board     21%    23%    20%    19%    22%    19%    23%
Case-by-case         73     71     73     75     73     73     70
DK/NA                 7      6      7      6      5      8      7
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Across-the-board     21%    19%    20%    21%    22%
Case-by-case         71     75     73     72     72
DK/NA                 8      6      7      7      6
 
 
31. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Charlie Crist is handling property taxes?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              47%    58%    34%    48%    50%    43%    56%
Disapprove           36     26     47     33     37     34     28
DK/NA                18     16     19     18     12     23     16
 
                     North/                             HOME
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   OWNERS
 
Approve              53%    46%    44%    53%    43%    50%
Disapprove           28     37     35     32     42     36
DK/NA                19     17     21     15     15     15
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Governor Crist is handling property taxes?
                     Nov 19  Oct 24  Sep 11
                     2008    2007    2007
 
Approve              47      45      39
Disapprove           36      39      46
DK/NA                18      16      15
 
 
32. Do you think that enough has been done to lower property taxes or do you think that larger property tax cuts are needed in Florida?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Enough has been done 30%    36%    26%    28%    32%    29%    34%
Need larger tax cuts 58     54     60     59     56     59     57
DK/NA                12     10     13     13     12     12      9
 
                     North/                             HOME
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   OWNERS
 
Enough has been done 34%    29%    33%    33%    25%    33%
Need larger tax cuts 52     58     52     60     66     56
DK/NA                14     13     14      7      8     11
 
 
33. Who do you think should decide the question of cutting property taxes - the state legislature or the voters through a referendum?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Legislature          22%    25%    22%    20%    27%    18%    21%
Voters               73     72     73     75     69     77     75
DK/NA                 4      4      5      5      3      5      4
 
                     North/                             HOME
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   OWNERS
 
Legislature          24%    23%    20%    28%    21%    24%
Voters               73     73     74     70     74     72
DK/NA                 3      4      6      2      5      5
 
 
34. Property values in Florida have dropped in the last two years. Do you think that property taxes reflect that drop, or do you think local taxing officials who set tax rates and appraisals are failing to keep up with the market?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Reflect drop         19%    18%    21%    17%    18%    19%    19%
Failing to keep up   64     63     61     68     66     61     60
DK/NA                18     19     18     14     16     19     21
 
                     North/                             HOME
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   OWNERS
 
Reflect drop         19%    23%    19%    21%    14%    21%
Failing to keep up   54     61     67     59     71     64
DK/NA                27     16     14     19     15     16