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Poll: Floridians strongly disapprove of state leaders' handling of unemployment issues

July 30, 2020

CONTACT: Damien Filer / 850-212-1858 /

TALLAHASSEE – According to the Department of Economic Opportunity, the State of Florida received more than 3.3 million unemployment claims between March 15 and July 28. A new poll conducted by Clarity Campaign Labs shows that as COVID-19 spirals out of control on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ watch, Floridians across the political spectrum disapprove of DeSantis’ handling of state unemployment benefits and strongly support extending federal benefits.

“The coronavirus crisis has crippled Florida’s tourism and service-based economy, forcing a staggering number of people to file for unemployment,” said Mark Ferrulo, Executive Director of Progress Florida. “Floridians are finding out firsthand that when it matters most Florida’s leaders are failing them.”

When asked if they support or oppose extending unemployment benefits provided by the federal government in response to the coronavirus pandemic there is bipartisan support for extending benefits. Overall, Floridians are in support by a 67/28 margin. Democrats are in support by an 84/12 margin, independents are at more than two to one support (63/30) and a majority of Republicans also favor extending benefits (by a 50/42 margin). And yet, we hear more from senators from other states about the crisis in Florida than we do from Marco Rubio or Rick Scott.

Overall, Floridians disapprove by a 12-point margin (53/41) of DeSantis’ handling of the issue. Democrats disapprove by the widest margin (81/15), with independents at 53/37 and nearly a quarter of Republicans (69/24) disapproving of his handling of the unemployment issue.

“Our so-called leaders’ abdication of their responsibility to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our citizens is unconscionable,” said Josh Weierbach, Executive Director of Florida Watch. “More than 15-percent of Floridians have filed for unemployment and one thing is clear – they know with leaders like Ron DeSantis, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, they’re on their own.”

The poll shows voters overwhelmingly prioritize controlling the virus over reopening the economy. Overall, voters favor containing COVID-19 over reopening by a 22-percent margin (58/36). For Democrats, it’s 89/7 and on this question DeSantis loses even more support from independents. They prioritize containing the virus by a 25 point margin (59/34). And more than a quarter of Republicans feel he is out of step with a margin of 26/68.

These results come from an online panel survey conducted by Clarity Campaign Labs of n=2,039 likely voters, with the surveys fielding July 6-13, 2020. Results have been weighted to reflect a demographically and geographically representative statewide 2020 electorate.


Florida Watch is a progressive digital first organization that meets people where they are in real life – on their phones and computers. Progress Florida is a statewide organization working to build a more progressive Florida. Learn more at