Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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IOP polls Floridians on government handling of COVID-19

Voters approve of local government efforts and trust medical professionals 

Institute of Politics Director Hans Hassell: “Bipartisan agreement isn’t as fleeting as it may appear.”

A poll of Florida voters on COVID-19, sponsored by the Institute of Politics at Florida State University (IOP@FSU) and conducted by YouGov, shows widespread support for requiring the use of masks and for prohibiting public gatherings to 10 people or less.

While there is a partisan divide on the mask issues, a majority of Democrats and Republicans both support “requiring the use of masks in public spaces.” For Democrats, that support is overwhelming at 94 percent. About 6 in 10 (59 percent) of Republicans support a mask mandate, with 77 percent of all Florida voters supporting the measure. 

About two-thirds of Floridians say they favor “prohibiting the size of gatherings to 10 people or less.” That number dropped to 55 percent when the question was about “restricting in-person religious services of more than 10 people.”  

Overall poll results show that a partisan divide colors Floridians’ view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s response. About 38% of Florida voters approve of the federal government’s handling of the coronavirus/COVID-19; 46% disapprove.

Voters are more closely divided in their appraisal of state government, with 45% approving and 43% disapproving of the Florida government’s response. However, assessments of each level of government’s performance are sharply divided on partisan grounds. Among Republicans, 67% approve of the federal government’s response, and 80% approve of the state’s response. Among Democrats, by contrast, 76% disapprove of both the federal and state response.  

While voters did not approve of federal and state response, poll results show they are more supportive of local government. Voters from both parties are more likely to approve of their local governments’ response to the pandemic, with Republican support stronger (73% approve; 13% disapprove) than Democratic support (43% approve; 36% disapprove).  

“These poll results suggest that bi-partisan agreement isn’t as fleeting as it may appear,” said IOP Director Hans Hassell. “Despite ideological and partisan differences, there are important areas where Americans can come together, and how to respond to the pandemic is one of them.” 

The poll reveals that 65% of Florida voters say that the federal government has done a fair/poor job of “providing the American people with clear information,” and 57% say that Florida’s state government has done a fair/poor job in this area. So, who do Floridians trust for information about COVID-19? 

Florida voters are more likely to trust medical professionals than the government or media to provide accurate information about COVID-19. Medical and health professionals were the most trusted source (84%), and 57% said they trust the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for COVID-19 information.

Florida voters also trust their friends and family (65%) for information during the pandemic. Majority of respondents said that they do not trust the accuracy of COVID-19 information they receive from President Donald Trump (55% don’t trust) or Governor Ron DeSantis (51% don’t trust); unsurprisingly, the trust or distrust of these elected leaders divides voters largely on partisan grounds.

Interestingly, Floridians are more trusting of information provided by local elected officials. Among those who offered an opinion (i.e., excluding those who responded “Don’t know/Unfamiliar), 48% said they trusted local elected officials for information about COVID-19. 

Florida voters are least trusting of traditional and nontraditional media as a source for information. Only 32% say they trust the news media for accurate information (59% don’t trust). And fewer still, just 12%, say they trust social media and online sources accurate information about COVID-19. 

More about the Institute of Politics at FSU and the poll methodology, visit the IOP@FSU website.