State most wor­ried about econ­omy and jobs, sur­vey says

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - MONEY - News Ser­vice of Florida

TAL­LA­HAS­SEE— State res­i­dents are most con­cerned about the econ­omy and jobs, ac­cord­ing to an an­nual sur­vey re­leased this week by the Uni­ver­sity of South Florida.

The uni­ver­sity and The Nielsen Com­pany be­gan the roll-out Thurs­day of their Sun­shine State Sur­vey, which fo­cuses on is­sues in­stead of horse-race ques­tions about pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates or U.S. Se­nate races.

Nielsen in­ter­viewed 1,248 Florida res­i­dents from Sept. 1 to Sept. 19, with a mar­gin of er­ror of 2.77 per­cent­age points.

The top con­cern­was the econ­omy and jobs, with 24 per­cent of Florid­i­ans sur­veyed say­ing that was the most im­por­tant is­sue fac­ing the state. How­ever, that’s down sig­nif­i­cantly from­four years ago, the last pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year, when 44 per­cent of those polled chose the econ­omy.

This cam­paign cy­cle, the en­vi­ron­ment is a far big­ger con­cern than it was four years ago, with13 per­cent of res­i­dents say­ing that was the most im­por­tant is­sue, plac­ing it sec­ond on the list. In 2012, only 2 per­cent agreed, putting the is­sue out­side the top 10.

The per­cent­age of Florid­i­ans peg­ging crime as their lead­ing con­cern more than dou­bled, from 5 per­cent in 2012 to 11 per­cent this year. The an­swers to the open-ended ques­tion var­ied a bit, with “crime/ drugs” show­ing up four years ago, and “crime/polic­ing” in 2016.

The ef­fect of re­cent, high-pro­file shoot­ings in­volv­ing po­lice of­fi­cers ap­pears to show up in the num­bers. Of all the de­mo­graphic and eco­nomic groups in­cluded in the sur­vey, African-Amer­i­cans were most con­cerned with crime and polic­ing, with 27 per­cent say­ing that­was the most im­por­tant is­sue.

State govern­ment still doesn’t get high marks for help­ing to cre­ate jobs, with 28 per­cent of res­i­dents say­ing the state does an ex­cel­lent or good job in that re­spect, 42 per­cent say­ing it was fair and 26 per­cent go­ing with poor. How­ever, that’s a sub­stan­tial in­crease from four years ago, when 51 per­cent said the state did poorly in that re­gard, 33 per­cent go­ing with fair and just 12 per­cent say­ing the state’s ef­forts were ex­cel­lent or good.

Vot­ers in dif­fer­ent re­gions, mean­while, rate the state’s chief en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lem dif­fer­ently. Over­all, 34 per­cent of res­i­dents — pow­ered by ma­jori­ties in the Naples and Palm Beach ar­eas, and strong plu­ral­i­ties in Tampa Bay and Or­lando — said wa­ter-re­lated is­sues topped the list.

Only 18 per­cent chose cli­mate change, but 27 per­cent of those in the Mi­amiFort Laud­erdale re­gion went with that threat, com­pared with just 22 per­cent who said wa­ter-re­lated prob­lems were more sig­nif­i­cant.

There are more re­sults com­ing as the sur­vey is re­leased over a pe­riod of three­weeks.

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