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Poll Finds Most Florida Voters Back Adding Abortion Rights, Marijuana Legalization to State Constitution

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By Anthony Man
South Florida Sun Sentinel

(South Florida Sun Sentinel) A majority of Florida voters — including more than half of Republicans surveyed — told pollsters they support a proposed amendment that would add a right to abortion to the state Constitution. online news

The poll from the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab, released Thursday, found 62% of state voters said they would vote “yes” if the measure appears on the November 2024 ballot.

UNF also said 67% of Florida voters are “yes” on a proposed state constitutional amendment that would allow adults in Florida to purchase and possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.

The poll results suggest the measures could pass. Referendums require a 60% “yes” vote to become part of the Florida Constitution.

Abortion

The abortion question would enshrine a right to the procedure in the state Constitution. It would prohibit any state law that delays or bans abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the health of the patient.

The survey found 62% said they would vote yes, 29% no, and 9% said they didn’t know or wouldn’t answer.

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“It looks like the proposed abortion amendment is right at that threshold among these respondents,” Michael Binder, a UNF political scientist and faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab, said in a statement accompanying the results.

Democrats: 77% yes, 17% no.

Republicans: 53% yes, 39% no.

No Party Affiliation, minor party voters: 58% yes, 30% no.

Men: 55% yes, 37% no.

Women: 68% yes, 22% no.

Marijuana

The marijuana referendum was supported by 67% of respondents, with 28% saying they would vote no, and 5% saying they either didn’t know or declined to answer.

It asks people to allow people 21 or older to possess, purchase or use marijuana for non-medical, personal consumption, and allow state-licensed entities to cultivate and sell marijuana and accessories.

Democrats: 78% yes, 17% no.

Republicans: 55% yes, 38% no.

No Party Affiliation, minor party voters: 69% yes, 28% no.

Men: 61% yes, 33% no.

Women: 72% yes, 24% no.

Binder said the marijuana question “looks like it has a good chance of passing, if the measure makes it through the courts, and that is a very big ‘if.’”

Supreme Court

Supporters of the questions have two tasks: gathering sufficient signatures to get the referendums on the ballot and having the language of the ballot questions approved by the state Supreme Court.

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If the court doesn’t approve of the language, the amendments won’t be on the 2023 ballot.

The court is conservative, with five of its seven justices appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Attorney General Ashley Moody, a close ally of fellow Republican DeSantis, has asked the court to reject the language of the amendments.

Fundraising to pay the expenses of signature gathering is a bigger challenge for supporters of the abortion-rights measure, who so far have raised more than $8 million.

The marijuana question is backed by far greater financial resources. The campaign has raised nearly $40 million, almost entirely from Trulieve, Florida’s largest medical marijuana operator.

Fine print

The University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab surveyed 716 voters. The poll, which used live callers for interviews by phone and online surveys, was conducted Nov. 6 through Nov. 26.

The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points for the full survey of Democrats, Republicans and independents. The margin of error for smaller groups, such as Republicans, Democrats, men and women, is higher because the sample sizes are smaller.

(This report includes information from Sun Sentinel archives)

©2023 South Florida Sun Sentinel. Visit at sun-sentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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