Florida Voters: Keep an Eye on Neighborhood Watch

With the Trayvon Martin shooting fresh in their minds, Florida voters are saying that law enforcement should keep a watchful eye on community crime prevention organizations, according to a Suffolk University/7NEWS (WSVN-Miami) poll.

Seventy-one percent of likely voters in the statewide Florida survey said that local sheriff’s departments should more closely monitor neighborhood watch organizations and their volunteers, while 23 percent said this is not necessary.

Meanwhile, 50 percent support the implementation of Stand Your Ground laws, and 32 percent oppose such laws, which protect people who react to a threat with deadly force.

“The shooting of this young man appears to have awakened concerns about citizen responders,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “But at the same time, voters haven’t entirely given up on the idea that it’s OK to counter a perceived threat rather than to retreat.”

Economy is key concern

In general, voters ranked jobs and the economy as the most important issues facing the country today (52 percent), followed by reducing the national debt (10 percent), with health care and education (6 percent), income inequality (5 percent) and other issues of lesser concern.

Voters indicated that they would choose a candidate they “trust” on economic issues (76 percent) over one they are in sync with on social issues (14 percent).

Health care mandate

While relatively few voters ranked health care as a concern, a majority (51 percent) said they oppose President Barack Obama’s health care reform plan, and 34 percent approve.

“Given that relatively few voters express general concern about health care as an issue, it’s interesting that the numbers are so lopsided in opposition to Obamacare,” said Paleologos. “Yet, the poll tells us that ten percent of those opposed to Obamacare are still voting for Barack Obama in November."

Abortion ballot question

Voters were split on a Florida ballot question that would prohibit use of public funds for abortion or for health-care coverage that includes abortion, with 47 percent opposing the prohibition and 45 percent approving.

Policy on Cuba

A majority (58 percent) of those polled would support a change in U.S. policy that would allow trade, travel and diplomatic relations with Cuba, while 29 percent were opposed to any change in U.S. policy while the Castro family remains in power.

Presidential poll

A poll of presidential preferences among Florida voters released May 9 showed Barack Obama clinging to a 1-point lead over Republican Mitt Romney in Florida, 46 percent to 45 percent, with 7 percent undecided.


The statewide survey of 600 Florida registered voters was conducted May 6-8, 2012, using live telephone interviews of landline and cell phone users. The margin of error is +/-4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data will be posted at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 10, on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.