Florida Voters Oppose Obamacare, Favor In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: February 27, 2014 11:30 AM

The Bob Graham Center for Public Service and the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research unveiled a poll on Thursday that finds more than two-thirds of registered voters have major problems with President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law.

The poll of registered voters finds 38 percent of those surveyed want to repeal the health-care law while 29 percent want to make major changes to it. More than a quarter of those surveyed -- 27 percent -- want to make minor changes to the law, while only 12 percent want to keep it as it currently is, with no changes.

Despite this, two-thirds of those surveyed -- 67 percent -- want to expand the state Medicaid program while 28 percent oppose expansion.

“These apparently contradictory findings are understandable,” said Paul Duncan, associate dean of the graduate school and a professor in the College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida. “The Affordable Care Act is large and complicated -- just like our health-care system -- so when an unprecedented level of partisan political noise is added, inconsistency in public opinion is almost certain.”

The poll also looked at some of the leading issues the Legislature, which convenes next week, will grapple with in the 2014 session.

A solid majority -- 62 percent -- support giving undocumented students in-state tuition, while 33 percent oppose it. Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and Florida Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, are championing legislation to give undocumented students in-state tuition, though Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, told Sunshine State News earlier this week that he opposes the proposal.

The poll finds Floridians are divided on other issues. Half of those surveyed -- 50 percent -- want Internet retailers to pay state sales tax but 43 percent oppose it. A slim majority -- 53 percent -- oppose Las Vegas-style destination casinos coming to Florida, while 45 percent support the idea.

Asked about the projected state surplus, 42 percent want to see it used for pre-K-12 education, while 20 percent prefer it being used to preserve the Everglades and other waters; 14 percent want to use it for Medicaid.

“Everyone agrees that good teachers are crucial for successful pre-K-12 education, yet adjusted for inflation, the average pay for Florida’s teachers is down 8 percent from 10 years ago,” said David Denslow, an economist at UF. “That Floridians favor more funding for education bodes well for reversing that trend.”

The poll of 1,006 registered voters was taken Jan. 27-Feb. 1 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (1)

12:24PM FEB 28TH 2014
Why not give instate tuition to everyone? Then give preferences to Florida Residents for enrollment. When Florida gets all the students, the other states will have to comply or die. The free market is a wonderful thing.

If for instance a PA, NJ, NY, CT, MD student comes to Florida for their college education, they probably will have a better than 50:50 chance of finding a spouse, choosing Florida to live, and raising their family. The growing workforce will be an incentive to draw businesses.

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