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Florida Insider Poll: Voters would approve assault weapons ban

And they don’t think blackface is grounds for automatic resignation.
SCOTT KEELER | Times 20 protesters participate in a Die-In on the fourth floor rotunda of the Florida Capitol, 3/6/17. They continue to push for an assault weapons ban. Lawmakers in the Florida House were debating a gun/school safety bill at the time.
Published Feb. 15

The families of the 17 people killed one year ago in Parkland are trying to force through referendum what the Legislature would not do: ban military style assault weapons.

Does it have a chance to pass? Florida Insiders believe so, though it’s close.

Of the 200 campaign operatives, fundraisers, political scientists and other veteran politicos polled in the Tampa Bay Times’ regular survey, 55 percent said voters would approve a constitutional ban on these firearms.

However, there were sharp political divisions in the answers. Three out of four Democrats polled believe it will get the 60 percent of votes needed to pass. Most no-party affiliation people thought it would get voter approval too. And about 35 percent of Republicans agreed with them.

FLORIDA INSIDER POLL: What Grade did Ron DeSantis earn in his first month as governor?

“The likelihood of passage is strong as a knee-jerk overreaction by the Left to guns in general,” one Democrat predicted. “Most people who don’t own guns, will want to restrict ownership.”

The insiders also overwhelmingly think Gov. Ron DeSantis will be successful in his mission to undo the Rick Scott-era prohibition on smokeable medical marijuana. A bill to do just that passed an early House committee and DeSantis has vowed to lift the ban himself if the Legislature doesn’t act by March 15.

That sort of moxy was enough to convince 70 percent of those polled to believe that Florida patients will be able to light up by the end of the year. What were the other 30 percent thinking? Said one Republican: “The Florida legislature is set to muck things up. Look for (attorney and marijuana advocate John) Morgan to begin a campaign for recreational marijuana.”

A Democrat agreed the Legislature will prove to be a bigger obstacle than DeSantis expects. “DeSantis has never been involved with the Florida legislative process and does not have deep relationships with many legislators, so him asking them to revisit things like smokeable Marijuana or the work they did on Parkland last year will prove to be non starters. He doesn’t understand the culture of legislative leaders yet.”

And what is the take of Florida’s political class on the fate of elected officials caught wearing blackface? Should they go the route of Michael Ertel, who resigned as Florida’s secretary of state in disgrace after he was caught dressed as a Hurricane Katrina victim? Or, like Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, hunker down despite (and even author ethics bills)?

It depends, they said.

While three in 10 say such an overtly racist offense is grounds for resignation, most Insiders said the circumstances should determine whether that person steps down.

This month’s Insiders were:

Joseph Abruzzo, Erin Aebel, Tom Alte, Jason Altmire, Gayle Andrews, Scott Arceneaux, Donna Arduin, Dave Aronberg, Brad Ashwell, Rick Asnani, Jon M. Ausman, Tim Baker, Ryan Banfill, Scott Barnhart, Rodney Barreto, Alan Becker, Geoffrey Becker, Samuel Bell, Ron Bilbao, Barney Bishop, Greg Blair, Katie Bohnett, Rick Boylan, Matt Bryan, Bob Buckhorn, Alex Burgos, Dominic M. Calabro, Kristy Campbell, Dean Cannon, Tim Canova, Al Cardenas, Reggie Cardozo, Chip Case, Kevin Cate, Chris Cate, Mitch Ceasar, Jill Chamberlin, Jim Cherry, Alan Clendenin, Brad Coker, David Colburn, Mike Colodny, Gus Corbella , Mathew Corrigan, Jon Costello, Brian Crowley, Ana Cruz, Husein Cumber, Richard DeNapoli, Lourdes Diaz, Pablo Diaz, Victor DiMaio, Tony DiMatteo, Michael Dobson, Doc Dockery, Paula Dockery, Brett Doster, John Dowless, Bob Doyle, Ryan Duffy, Barry Edwards, Eric Eikenberg, Mike Fasano, Peter Feaman, Mark Ferrulo, Damien Filer, Marty Fiorentino, Mark Foley, Kirk Fordham, Brian Franklin, Towson Fraser, Ellen Freidin, John French, Jack Furnari, Tom Gaitens, Josh Geise, Richard Gentry, Brian Goff, Alma Gonzalez, Ron Greenstein, Thomas Grigsby, Joe Gruters, Mike Hamby, Marion Hammer, Abel Harding, James Harris, James Harris, Jack Hebert, Alex Heckler, Rich Heffley, Bill Helmich, Cynthia Henderson, Mike Hightower , Don Hinkle, Brian Hughes, Erin Isaac, Aubrey Jewett, David Johnson, Christina Johnson, Jeff Johnson , Stafford Jones, Ken Jones, Eric Jotkoff, Doug Kaplan, Fred Karlinsky, Fred Karlinsky, Joshua Karp, Henry Kelley, John Konkus, Chris Korge, Kartik Krishnaiyer, Bill Lee, Jackie Lee, Matt Lettelleir, Alan Levine, Jack Levine, Tom Lewis, Stephanie Lewis-McClung, Beth Leytham, Susan MacManus, Jose Mallea, Roly Marante, William March, Beth Matuga, Kim McDougal, Nancy McGowan, clarence mckee, Kathy Mears, David Mica, Jon Mills, Paul Mitchell, Pete Mitchell, Edward Miyagishima, Travis Moore, John Morgan, Lucy Morgan, Pat Neal, Maurizio Passariello, Alex Patton, Darryl Paulson, Anthony Pedicini, Jorge Pedraza, Juan Penalosa, Joe Perry, Sean Phillippi, Gretchen Picotte, Ron Pierce, JC Planas, Benjamin Pollara, Van Poole, David Rancourt, Susannah Randolph, Ryan Ray, Marc Reichelderfer, George Riley, Jim Rimes, Franco Ripple, Terrie Rizzo, Patrick Roberts, Monica Rodriguez , Jason Rosenberg , Jason Roth, Sarah Rumpf, Ron Sachs, April Salter, Tom Scarritt, Steve Schale , Tom Scherberger , April Schiff, Kathleen Shanahan, stephen shiver, Bud Shorstein, Alex Sink, Patrick Slevin, Susan Smith, Adam Smith, John Stemberger, Alan Stonecipher, Nancy Texeira , Phillip Thompson, Greg C. Truax, Frank Tsamoutales, Greg Turbeville, Jason Unger, Gregory Ungru, Steven Vancore, Nancy Watkins, Robert Watkins, Screven Watson, Kevin Watson, John Wehrung, Mike Williams, Jamie Wilson, Rick Wilson, Leslie Wimes, Jon Woodard, Jeff Wright, Mark Zubaly.

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