Thursday, March 30, 2006


The second segment of the latest Mason-Dixon poll was released Tuesday, this time dealing with Governor Jeb Bush's approval ratings and specific issues facing Floridians.

Jeb is still quite popular among the electorate, as 63 percent of the respondants rate him "excellent" or "good". That matches the previous high for the governor, which was recorded in June, 2000. Unlike his brother, Jeb has enjoyed favourable ratings throughout his two terms in office, with the most positive grades coming from North Florida and the Gulf Coast regions. He remains slightly more popular among men, and his lowest ratings tend to come from blacks.

When asked about what issues respondants consider the most important facing our state, it is not unusual that most selected education (21%), which was followed by homeowner/hurricane insurance rates (14%) and development/growth management (12%). Everything else followed in single digits.

Regardless of gender or party affiliation, the vast majority of those asked said they would support a permanant nine day sales tax holiday on back-to-school purchases (73%), as well as a similar 12 day period on hurricane supplies (72%). However, more would oppose the sales tax holiday on hurricane supplies if generator and chainsaw purchases were not included.

Respondants were divided over the governor's proposal of a $100 tax rebate for Florida homeowners, with 47 percent statewide saying they would support the idea, and 41 percent saying "no". The numbers were almost equal when asked about Bush's efforts to maintain the school voucher programme, 48 percent in support with 41 percent opposing the idea.

A small majority of respondents like the class size amendment passed four years ago. As efforts are being made to have voters agree to raise the class size caps, 51% say they would oppose such a measure with 40% supporting it. The largest number of undecideds came when asked about supporting or opposing a measure which would make it harder to change the state constitution through the public petition drive: 20 percent. A very slight pluarity actually like the idea.

Most people seem to like the idea of changing the way Florida's Public Service Commissioners and the Insurance Commissioner are selected. They are currently appointed by the governor, but nearly six in ten of those asked in the Mason-Dixon poll say they should be directly elected. There seems to be an apparant fustration over the PSC's ability to regulate power and gas companies, as a full two-thirds of the respondants say the panel does not exercise enough oversight of public utilities. A smaller number, although still a majority, say that the Insurance Commissioner has not done enough to ensure homeowners are treated fairly by insurance companies.

You can read the numbers for yourself by clicking on the link. (Adobe Acrobat Reader is required). The survey of 625 registered voters statewide was done last week for several Florida newspapers and broadcasters, and has a margin or error of four percent.


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