Floridians care about the environment.
These are the results of a statewide survey conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida last month to gauge public opinion on current political issues in the state, including those on the environment.
Joshua Scacco and Stephen Neely distributed the survey to 600 Floridians from July 15 to 25.
Scacco, also a political communications professor at USF, said the results showed there was strong support for more aggressive action on environmental issues.
“What we are seeing is strong support for state action to conserve environmental resources,” said Scacco.
On various environmental policy issues, Floridians of all political affiliations have expressed strong support for further reform efforts.
More than eight in 10 Floridians (85%) – including a large majority of Republicans and Democrats – supported restrictions on the use of farm fertilizers, which would contribute to red tide epidemics.
A majority (55%) also said more action was needed to preserve the state’s natural ecosystems, while only 24% said the state is currently doing enough.
Scacco said it was difficult to say, in terms of priorities, what the Florida legislature and governor would set for the future. But he said it illustrates that the environment affects everyone.
“What Floridians represent in the survey is that the environment and public resources are something that affects us all,” said Scacco. “And you see that kind of common support across the board, through partisanship.”
Most Floridians would support additional funding to preserve ecosystems (86%) and further protect endangered species such as panthers and Florida manatees (85%).
When asked about the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act, nearly nine in 10 respondents (87%) said they strongly or somewhat approve of the law.
It was passed earlier this year and provides $ 400 million to preserve the state’s ecosystems and wildlife.
There was also a strong opinion on large-scale tree planting and corporate taxation to offset carbon emissions.
An overwhelming majority of respondents (89%) supported reforestation and three quarters of respondents (76%) preferred to tax businesses to reduce carbon emissions.
Scacco said one of the things he thinks is important about this investigation is that it is just an investigation, a snapshot in time that reflects the particular dynamics at the moment.
“At the end of the day what we see is when we delve into and look at specific ways to protect and preserve the environment in Florida,” said Scacco, “what we find is what we find a consensus that goes beyond the traditional Republican-Democratic divide. “