Florida Poll - Open Primaries
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Florida Poll

Open Primaries, Florida Fair and Open Primaries, and Progress For All Poll Results

Methodology:

Open Primaries, Progress for All, and Florida Fair and Open Primaries surveyed 735 registered Florida voters-Republicans, Democrats and independents -- from March 12-14. The survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling.

Key findings:

This statewide survey of Florida voters finds overwhelming discontent with the state’s political environment and identifies broad support for reforming the state’s primary elections.

  • 92% of Florida voters want their elected officials to put the interests of Florida voters ahead of the interests of their own political party.
  • 93% of Florida voters want their elected leaders to bring opposing interests together to create good policies for the state and 87% of voters support electoral changes that expand democracy in Florida.
  • 74% of Floridians want independent voters — 27% of the Florida electorate — included in primary elections and 73% of Floridians — including supermajorities of Republican, Democrat, and independent voters — want the Constitution Revision Commission, which begins public hearings tomorrow, to put an open primaries initiative before the voters.

Additional findings include:

  • 70% of Florida voters, and a full 74% of Florida’s Latino community, favor a top-two open primary where all candidates appear on the same ballot, regardless of party affiliation, and all voters are able to vote for any candidate, with the top two candidates moving on to the general election.
  • 73% of voters believe taxpayer funded primaries should be open to all voters. (The parties have asserted that as private associations, they should determine who can and cannot participate in primary elections. However, primary elections are paid for by Florida taxpayers and administered by state and local election agencies.)
  • 72% of Florida voters support a ballot initiative to restore voting rights to individuals who have completed their sentences for nonviolent criminal offenses.

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Results:

Q1 Many people are concerned about the qualities that their elected officials need in order to govern well. I’m going to read you some statements about political leadership. Please tell me if you think the following characteristics are important when it comes to political leadership in Florida.

Here’s the first one: Someone who consistently puts the people of Florida ahead of the interests and goals of their own political party.

  • Very important characteristic: 77%
  • Somewhat important characteristic: 14%
  • Not too important characteristic: 3%
  • Not important characteristic at all: 3%
  • Not sure: 3%

Q2 Here’s the next one: Someone who supports expanding and improving our democracy even if it means that the outcomes might not benefit them personally.

  • Very important characteristic: 72%
  • Somewhat important characteristic: 15%
  • Not too important characteristic: 5%
  • Not important characteristic at all: 3%
  • Not sure: 4%

Q3 Here’s the next one: Someone who never wavers from their position and seeks to defeat their opponents and represent only those voters who voted for them.

  • Very important characteristic: 20%
  • Somewhat important characteristic: 24%
  • Not too important characteristic: 19%
  • Not important characteristic at all: 32%
  • Not sure: 6%

Q4 Here’s the next one: Someone who seeks to bring opposing interests together to create good policy on behalf of Florida.

  • Very important characteristic: 79%
  • Somewhat important characteristic: 14%
  • Not too important characteristic: 3%
  • Not important characteristic at all: 2%
  • Not sure: 3%

Q5 Here’s the next one: Someone who uses their office to help members of their political party solidify influence and control in government.

  • Very important characteristic: 15%
  • Somewhat important characteristic: 20%
  • Not too important characteristic: 17%
  • Not important characteristic at all: 38%
  • Not sure: 9%

Q6 Here’s the last one: Someone who doesn’t just focus on issues and outcomes but who champions reforms that give more power to the voters.

  • Very important characteristic: 62%
  • Somewhat important characteristic: 23%
  • Not too important characteristic: 5%
  • Not important characteristic at all: 5%
  • Not sure: 5%

Q7 Florida has closed primaries, meaning that registered Republicans and Democrats are allowed to vote in primary elections but independent voters are not. Independents make up 3.5 million Floridians and 27% of the electorate. They were not allowed to vote in the recent presidential primary. I’m going to read you three proposals being considered to open the primaries, and after each one, ask you if you support that proposal. Here’s the first one: One proposal would allow independent voters the right to vote in either the Democratic Primary or the Republican Presidential Primary.

  • Strongly support: 56%
  • Somewhat support: 18%
  • Somewhat oppose: 7%
  • Strongly oppose: 13%
  • Not sure: 6%

Q8 Here’s the next one: A second proposal would change Florida from a closed partisan primary to an open primary for all state and federal offices below president. All the candidates running for an office would appear on the same ballot, regardless of their political party. All voters would be able to vote for any candidate. The two candidates that receive the most votes move on to the general election, regardless of party.

  • Strongly support: 51%
  • Somewhat support: 19%
  • Somewhat oppose: 7%
  • Strongly oppose: 17%
  • Not sure: 6%

Q9 Here’s the next one: A third proposal would close the write in loophole. Right now, Florida law says independents are allowed to vote in the Democratic and Republican primary if one of the parties is not fielding a general election candidate. Politicians get around this by fielding write in candidates, which has the effect of closing the primaries. This proposal would prevent the use of write in candidates to deny independent voters the right to participate in primaries when it is the only election for an office.

  • Strongly support: 38%
  • Somewhat support: 15%
  • Somewhat oppose: 15%
  • Strongly oppose: 16%
  • Not sure: 16%

Q10 Now I’d like to read you some statements from people who support opening the primary elections. Please tell me if you find each argument convincing.

Here’s the first one: Supporters say that 3.5 million voters in Florida are registered as independents. Those independents are locked out of the primary elections, which in most races ultimately decides the winner. Voters should not be forced to join a political party in order to cast a meaningful vote.

  • Very convincing: 58%
  • Somewhat convincing: 16%
  • Not too convincing: 8%
  • Not convincing at all: 13%
  • Not sure: 6%

Q11 Here’s the next one: Supporters say that if the political parties want closed primaries, they should pay for it themselves, not the taxpayers. Primary elections are currently administered in public buildings and run by government workers on publicly owned voting machines. If the taxpayers are paying for it, it should be open to all voters.

  • Very convincing: 57%
  • Somewhat convincing: 16%
  • Not too convincing: 9%
  • Not convincing at all: 13%
  • Not sure: 5%

Q12 Here’s the next one: Supporters say that both Congress and the Florida Legislature are partisan and dysfunctional because our election system is partisan and dysfunctional. Creating an open primary would force elected officials to solve problems instead of fighting each other.

  • Very convincing: 49%
  • Somewhat convincing: 21%
  • Not too convincing: 13%
  • Not convincing at all: 11%
  • Not sure: 6%

Q13 Here’s the next one: Supporters say that closed primaries are part of a rigged election system that protects corrupt politicians from the voters. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. Opening the primaries will allow voters to throw out bad politicians and send a message that we’ve had enough.

  • Very convincing: 51%
  • Somewhat convincing: 19%
  • Not too convincing: 11%
  • Not convincing at all: 13%
  • Not sure: 6%

Q14 To recap, there are several efforts to replace Florida’s closed primary with an open primary system. After hearing these arguments, would you support efforts to enact open primaries in Florida?

  • Strongly support: 56%
  • Somewhat support: 19%
  • Somewhat oppose: 8%
  • Strongly oppose: 12%
  • Not sure: 5%

Q15 Every twenty years, a Constitution Revision Commission is convened for the purpose of reviewing Florida’s Constitution and proposing changes for voter consideration. The Commission meets for about one year, traveling the State of Florida, identifying issues, performing research and possibly recommending changes to the Constitution, which go on the next general election ballot. The Commission is convening this year. Do you think the Florida Constitution Revision Commission should place an open primary with a single ballot for all state and federal offices below president, and including all candidates, regardless of party before Florida voters?

  • Strongly support: 56%
  • Somewhat support: 17%
  • Somewhat oppose: 9%
  • Strongly oppose: 12%
  • Not sure: 7%

Q16 If you commit any felony in Florida you lose your right to vote for life — unless the governor and the clemency board agree to give that right back to you. The result is that more than 1.6 million Floridians — about 9 percent of the state’s population- cannot vote. In most states, the percentage is less than 2 percent. Floridians are gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to amend the state’s Constitution and restore voting rights to individuals who have completed their sentences for nonviolent crimes. Would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose a ballot initiative to restore voting rights to individuals who have completed their sentences for nonviolent crimes?

  • Strongly support: 55%
  • Somewhat support: 17%
  • Somewhat oppose: 10%
  • Strongly oppose: 14%
  • Not sure: 5%

Q17 What's your preferred gender?

  • Woman: 53%
  • Man: 47%

Q18 What's your party affiliation?

  • Democrat: 38%
  • Republican: 35%
  • Independent / Other: 27%

Q19 What's your racial identity?

  • Hispanic: 14%
  • White: 67%
  • African-American: 13%
  • Other: 7%

Q20 How old are you?

  • 18 to 29: 12%
  • 30 to 45: 24%
  • 46 to 65: 33%
  • Older than 65: 31%

Q21 Mode of communication for poll:

  • Phone: 80%
  • Internet: 20%