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Survey: Public lacks information on amendments, rates state badly for health care for seniors

Rochelle Koff, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 11:57am

A majority of Floridians believe the passage of a constitutional amendment to allow medical marijuana will lead to recreational use, according to the latest report from the Sunshine State Survey. But most of those surveyed said they didn't get enough information about proposed amendments or only heard one side.

The survey, administered by the University of South Florida School of Public Affairs and Nielsen, also offers Floridians' views on health care, race relations, elections and transportation.

Some of the findings:

* Fifty-four percent of survey participants rated the state's provision of health care to seniors and its assistance of the state's mentally and physically disabled as just fair or poor.

*Of the five reasons listed for not voting, "not eligible" was the prime reason given, though the number of those who cited ineligibility decreased from 48 percent in 2011 to 28 percent in 2014.

*Sixty-three percent of resondents said the state is doing a fair or poor job of improving race relations compared to those who said the state is doing an excellent job (5 percent) or good (24 percent).

Public opinion concerning the state's performance on race relations is "likely due to the high profile George Zimmerman trial for the shooting of Trayvon Martin and the legislature's debates on the Stand Your Ground Law," Susan MacManus, the survey director and professor at University of South Florida's College of Arts and Sciences, said in a press statement.

The most critical ratings of the state's role in improving race relations came from African Americans and other minorities (38 percent each), the unemployed (39 percent), the poorest residents (28 percent) and 55-64 year olds (27 percent).

The young, minorities and the poor also "strongly favor automatic restoration rights for convicted felons in contrast to older, white and and wealthier respondents" who endorsed the current practice of convicted felons having to request the restoration of voting rights, with approval by the state.

A majority of survey respondents gave the state a positive rating in providing adequate roads and bridges but were critical of public transportation. Sixty percent said the state did a poor or fair job of providing public transportation.

Results of this survey are based on 1,875 telephone interviews conducted July 30, 2014 through August 15, 2014 with a random sample of adults, aged 18 and older, residing in State of Florida households. The margin of error is 2.2 percentage points.

For more details, see