USF survey: FL voters less focused on abortion than on inflation and the economy

By: - November 1, 2022 3:10 pm

John McCosh/Georgia Recorder. Courtesy of the Georgia Recorder

With the general election one week away, a large number of Floridians report that inflation, the economy, or jobs “will have the most significant impact on how” they cast their ballots compared to other issues including abortion rights, a new public opinion survey has found.

Researchers at the University of South Florida released their findings from the poll Tuesday and revealed that the top issue among likely Florida voters is inflation, with 52 percent stating that it will affect their decision at the polls. Forty-eight percent ranked the economy/jobs as their main issue.

The poll found that nearly 89 percent of voters surveyed in Florida said that “inflation has impacted their grocery spending,” while 88 percent said it has affected their “discretionary spending.”

And more than one third of respondents, or 35.8 percent, blamed President Joe Biden for inflation. About 19 percent cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for rising prices.

USF conducted the statewide survey of 600 Florida voters from Oct. 14-23, including questions about policy issues and their feelings about the federal government’s response to the rising costs of goods and services, a major talking point of GOP candidates in various races across the nation.

Only 28 percent listed abortion as a main concern, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June.

That said, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist released a digital ad Tuesday, blasting his GOP opponent Gov. Ron DeSantis over Florida’s 15-week abortion ban without exceptions for rape or incest. Crist, a former Republican governor who most recently served as a Democratic congressman, has been trailing DeSantis in recent polls.

The 15-second video shows DeSantis with a smile on his face as he signs the new abortion legislation into law.

“Look at that grin — Ron DeSantis signing away your right to choose,” Crist said in the ad. “He’s happy there’s no exceptions for rape or incest. Happy because DeSantis thinks politicians like him should control women’s bodies. As governor I’ll protect your choice — and that’s the difference.”

Overall, 32 percent of those surveyed in the USF poll said that issues surrounding immigration will affect their votes.

DeSantis stirred controversy after he authorized the state to fly some 50 asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. The U.S. Treasury Department has been looking into whether the state misused federal COVID-19 funds during the episode.

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.