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Survey finds most Florida voters support medical marijuana, raising minimum wage to at least $10

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New statewide polling shows Florida voters are ready to approve two possible constitutional amendments in 2016.

One would be to legalize medical marijuana, even after the narrow loss of Amendment 2 last November. The other is raising Florida’s minimum wage to at least $10 per hour.

In a survey conducted by St. Pete Polls, a proposed measure for medical marijuana has a good shot this time, with over 68 percent of respondents saying yes if it makes it on the ballot.

Twenty-five percent will vote “no” and just under 7 percent are unsure. If the vote were held today, yes votes would be enough to meet the 60 percent threshold of voter approval for a Florida constitutional amendment.

United for Care, the pro-medical marijuana group behind Amendment 2 in 2014, is currently gaining support for a new initiative while gathering signatures for ballot language review by the Florida Supreme Court.

Strongest support is with Democrats (86 percent) and independents (72 percent) with only Republicans falling under the required level for it to pass (48 percent).

In nearly every media market, likely voters give thumbs up to a possible amendment, with only Fort Myers falling under 60 percent, yet still at a majority of 56 percent.

Pollsters also examined the trends in a hypothetical constitutional amendment to raise Florida’s minimum wage to either $10, $12.50 or $15 per hour.

In that case, more than 65 percent of likely Florida voters statewide support changing the state’s minimum wage law to at least $10; with almost 30 percent saying they would not. Five percent were unsure.

The state’s current minimum wage is $8.05 per hour.

Within that 65 percent approval, 25 percent overall would vote for $10 and another 23 percent opted for $15. Boosting the wage to $12.50 was the choice of 17 percent.

Broken down geographically, the greatest opposition to the idea is in North Florida – traditionally the more conservative region of Florida — led by Panama City (49 percent voted no), Pensacola (45 percent), Jacksonville (40 percent) and Tallahassee (37 percent).

Gainesville and Miami were the most open to a pay raise for minimum wage workers, with only 18 and 22 percent, respectively, saying no.

Support for an amendment fell somewhat along partisan lines, with the strongest “no” vote from Republicans (52 percent) and the lowest from Democrats (9 percent). With independents, it was around 30 percent.

Among those Republicans who would vote to raise the minimum wage, most would bring it to $10 (27 percent).

In contrast, the $15 figure was most favored by 39 percent of Democrats versus only 7 percent of Republicans. And $15 was the top pick of 21 percent of independents, who liked the $10 figure just a bit more (27 percent) if they were to raise it at all.

Of all media markets, Gainesville favored $15 the most (35 percent), with Miami second at 29 percent. In Central Florida, $10 was a more popular figure, with 29 percent support in Orlando and 27 percent in Tampa. Panama City also liked $10 the most, with 27 percent.

StPetePolls used a web-based email polling system to survey registered Florda voters, weighting results by political party, race, age, gender and media market. The random sample of 2,788 provided results with a +/- 1.9 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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