Gas prices significantly impacting majority of Floridians
TAMPA, Fla. (July 20, 2022) – Researchers at the University of South Florida, in collaboration with Florida International University, have released the second set of findings from a statewide survey. This portion, sponsored by the Florida Center for Cybersecurity at USF, addresses how Floridians are being affected by rising gasoline prices and issues related to Elon Musk’s potential purchase of the social media platform Twitter.
Among the key findings:
Over the past year, Floridians have been significantly impacted by the rising price of gasoline.
A majority of Floridians (83%) say that they are spending “a lot more” on gas than they were a year ago.
- Slightly more than half (51%) have changed travel or vacation plans in the past year due to the price of gas.
- A third of Floridians (38%) report that rising gas prices have affected their ability to pay other monthly bills.
- More than three-quarters (78%) have less money available for discretionary spending due to the rising price of gasoline.
- Over a third of Floridians (43%) have begun using digital apps to save money on gasoline.
- About a quarter (28%) say that the price of gas is negatively affecting their ability to get to work on a regular basis.
Most Floridians are dissatisfied with the government’s response to rising gas prices. A majority of Floridians are dissatisfied with President Biden (65%) and Congress’ (75%) handling of rising gas prices. In addition, 49% and 54% respectively indicated being “very dissatisfied”.
There is strong, bipartisan support for policy interventions to lower the price of gasoline. A majority of Floridians (72%) are in favor of increasing domestic oil production as a means of lowering the price of gasoline. A similar number (70%) would support a temporary suspension of the U.S. federal gas tax. In each case, majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents support these measures.
While Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter remains in question, Floridians are divided on what it will mean for American democracy if the deal is finalized. 42% of respondents “neither support nor oppose” Musk’s purchase of the social media platform. However, Floridians are divided on whether its implications for American democracy would be good (24%), bad (20%), or neutral (33%). However, a majority are supportive of some specific measures he has proposed for the platform, such as:
- Making Twitter’s algorithm for targeting content and ads publicly available (64%).
- Only limiting offensive content if it is illegal (50%).
- Doing more to eliminate “bots” (non-human accounts) from the platform (88%).
Social media platforms are viewed by most as “private spaces” that should not be regulated by government. The potential sale of Twitter has raised significant questions about the role of social media platforms in American public life. More than half of Floridians (52%) say that platforms such as Twitter are “private spaces” that should be regulated only by private companies. Far less (28%) view such platforms as “public squares” where government should regulate content, while 20% remain “unsure”.
Most believe that these platforms have a responsibility to remove content deemed harmful or dangerous, but opinions are split when it comes to other limitations on speech. Floridians believe that social media platforms should remove content deemed false/misleading (77%) or harmful/dangerous to individuals or groups (77%). However, there is less agreement on whether users should be allowed to post content that may be considered offensive by others. Well more than half (61%) say that people should be allowed to say whatever they want, regardless of whether others find it offensive, while 39% disagree.
A majority of Floridians do not trust social media companies to monitor the appropriateness of content in a fair and neutral way. While a majority of Floridians say that social media platforms should be self-regulated as private companies, most say that they don’t trust social media platforms to do so in a fair and neutral way. Two-thirds (66%) indicated little to no belief in the possibility for fair moderation of content, with a plurality (32%) having no faith in their neutrality.
The survey included a representative sample of 600 Floridians, fielded July 2-10, 2022. 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, a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success, generates an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion. 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.
Florida International University is a top public university that drives real talent and innovation in Miami and globally. Very high research (R1) activity and high social mobility come together at FIU to uplift and accelerate learner success in a global city by focusing in the areas of environment, health, innovation, and justice. Today, FIU has two campuses and multiple centers. FIU serves a diverse student body of more than 58,000 and 270,000 Panther alumni. U.S. News and World Report places dozens of FIU programs among the best in the nation, including international business at No. 2. Washington Monthly Magazine ranks FIU among the top 20 public universities contributing to the public good.