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'Stand Your Ground' Remains Popular in Florida After Trayvon Martin Shooting

May 9, 2012 - 6:00pm

A Suffolk University/7NEWS (WSVN in Miami) poll released on Thursday finds that Floridians remain behind the Stand Your Ground laws despite the death of Trayvon Martin -- but think that local law enforcement needs to keep a closer tab on neighborhood watches.

The poll of likely voters shows that 50 percent of those surveyed back Stand Your Ground laws while less than a third -- 32 percent -- oppose them. Still in the aftermath of the Martin shooting, a strong majority -- 71 percent -- want sheriffs offices to increase their monitoring of neighborhood watches, while 23 percent do not think that is needed.
The shooting of this young man appears to have awakened concerns about citizen responders, said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, on Thursday. But at the same time, voters havent entirely given up on the idea that its OK to counter a perceived threat rather than to retreat.

The Suffolk poll also looked at other issues in the Sunshine State.

The poll shows that Floridians are very divided about a proposal on the November ballot thatlooks toamend the state Constitution so that taxpayer dollars would not be spent on abortion, including health care that provides it. While 47 percent say they oppose the proposed amendment, 45 percent of those surveyed are in favor of it.

The poll shows that a majority of Florida voters -- 58 percent -- back increased diplomatic relations, travel and trade with Cuba while 29 percent are opposed to any changes.

The poll also looked at two of the most prominent actors on Floridas political stage.

Democrat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who is seeking to win a third term in November, is seen as favorable by 41 percent of those surveyed while 26 percent see him as unfavorable. Despite his four decades in Florida politics, a sizable chunk of the electorate is unsure about Nelson, with 22 percent undecided about him and an additional 12 percent having never heard of him. On Wednesday, Suffolk released numbers on Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio who is seen as favorable by 49 percent of those surveyed and unfavorable by 30 percent.

The poll shows that Gov. Rick Scott is upside down. While 45 percent of those surveyed see the governor in an unfavorable light, 37 percent view him as favorable.

The poll of 600 likely general election voters was taken from May 6-8 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Reach Kevin Derby at or at (850) 727-0859.

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