While the close contest between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is commanding most of the political spotlight in Florida, polls released this week show a majority of voters could also add two high-profile amendments to the state constitution.
Amendment 2 would raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour and then increase it by a dollar each year until it reaches $15 an hour. Amendment 3 would reform statewide elections by letting voters cast their ballots in an open primary regardless of political party affiliation. If no candidate gets a majority of votes in the primary, the two candidates with the most votes would then compete against each other in the general election.
The proposed amendments need to garner 60 percent support to be added to the state constitution. Some polls released this week show Amendment 2 is losing traction but still clears that threshold while Amendment 3 does not.
Monmouth University released a poll this week showing 63 percent of those surveyed back Amendment 2 while 32 percent oppose it. Last month, a Monmouth poll found 67 percent of those surveyed backed Amendment 2 while 26 percent opposed it.
“The drop in support has come mainly from Republicans (38 percent now versus 49 percent in September). Large majorities of Democrats (90 percent, similar to 87 percent last month) and independents (63 percent, similar to 65 percent last month) back the minimum wage hike. Among likely voters, support for the minimum wage ballot question stands at 63 percent in a high turnout scenario and 62 percent in a low turnout scenario,” the Monmouth University Polling Institute noted.
Monmouth found a larger drop in support for Amendment 3. Back in September, 63 percent of those surveyed backed the proposal but that has dropped to 53 percent in the poll released this week. Opposition to Amendment 3 rose from 21 percent in September to 30 percent in this week’s poll.
“Majorities of Democrats (62 percent, similar to 65 percent last month) and independents (59 percent, down from 68 percent) intend to vote for this change. These two groups may meet the 60 percent required for passage, but would not be able to offset the tumbling support of Republicans (40 percent, down from 55 percent). Among likely voters, support for the primary election reform measure stands at 53 percent in a high turnout scenario and 51 percent in a low turnout scenario,” the Monmouth University Polling Institute noted.
Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said on Thursday that the leadership of both parties have opposed Amendment 3.
“Both major political parties have campaigned against these primary election reforms. It looks like the message has sunk in on the Republican side at least,” said Murray.
The poll of 509 registered voters in Florida was taken from Oct. 24 through Oct. 28 and had a margin of error of +/-4.4 percent.
Florida Atlantic University (FAU) also released a poll this week looking at the two proposed amendments.
FAU found similar results to Monmouth when it came to Amendment 2 with 62 percent of those surveyed supporting it while 30 percent oppose it while 8 percent remain undecided.
However, the FAU poll found more support for Amendment 3 though not enough to clear the 60 percent needed to be included in the state constitution. FAU’s poll showed 58 percent of those surveyed back Amendment 3 while 29 percent oppose it and 13 percent are undecided.
The FAU poll of 937 likely voters in Florida was taken from Oct. 24 through Oct. 25 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.