TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 20, 2020) – Researchers with the University of South Florida have released results from a statewide survey that measures attitudes and opinions regarding the 2020 presidential election and the current political climate.
Below are key findings:
Floridians see 2020 as a “Very Important” election: Almost 90% of Floridians surveyed say that 2020 will be “Very Important” when “compared to recent Presidential elections”. This sentiment is equally shared by both Republicans and Democrats.
Presidential election is a significant source of stress and worry: Just over 80% agree that they are “worried about the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election,” while 56% say that the election “is a considerable source of stress” for them. Republicans and Democrats report roughly equal levels of election-related stress.
COVID-19 and the economy top the list of important issues: More than half of Floridians identified either “Jobs and the Economy” (28%) or the “COVID-19 pandemic” (26%) as the most important factor in their “choice when voting for President”. The only other issue identified by more than 10% of respondents was “Healthcare” (16%). Republicans were significantly more likely to identify “Jobs and the Economy” as the most important issue (46%), while Democrats were more likely to say the COVID-19 pandemic (35%).
Election expected to have significant impacts: A plurality of respondents (45%) believe that their household finances will be “significantly impacted by the outcome of the Presidential election”, while nearly a two-thirds majority (64%) says the same about the COVID-19 pandemic. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to believe that the outcome will affect the COVID-19 pandemic, though majorities in both parties believe that it will (75% and 53% respectively).
A large move toward absentee voting: A plurality of respondents (43%) indicated that they would vote “by mail-in or absentee ballot”, while one-third (34%) said they would vote “in-person on election day.” (By way of comparison, according to Florida Secretary of State data, in 2016 only 28.7% of general election voters cast ballots by mail.) Others plan on voting “in-person at an early voting location” (23%). Based on the responses, Democrats are significantly more likely to vote by mail/absentee ballot, and Republicans are significantly more likely to vote in person on Election Day.
Significant concerns over foreign interference: Two-thirds of respondents indicated that they are either “Very Concerned” (27%) or “Somewhat Concerned” (40%) about the possibility of “foreign governments interfering in the 2020 Presidential election”.
Some small concerns over fairness: A majority of Floridians are at least “Somewhat Confident” (49%) that “the 2020 election will be conducted fairly”, though only 23% indicated that they are “Very Confident” of this, while just under a third (29%) were either “Not Very Confident” or “Not at All Confident”.
The survey of 600 Floridians was fielded Oct. 10-17, and the results are reported with a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error +/- 4.
The complete survey results can be found here.
About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News and World Report’s national university rankings than USF. Serving more than 50,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF is designated as a Preeminent State Research University by the Florida Board of Governors, placing it in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF has earned widespread national recognition for its success graduating under-represented minority and limited-income students at rates equal to or higher than white and higher income students. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at www.usf.edu.