Floridians Divided On Same-Sex Marriage, Aren't Down With Legalized Pot, New Poll Finds

Florida voters have pulled a Charlie Crist-esque turnaround on gay marriage one month after several states passed LGBT equality measures. But Sunshine State voters still can't get behind another big winner in November's elections -- the marijuana legalization measures in Colorado and Washington.

That's what a new Quinnipiac poll out this morning found, with Florida voters now evenly split on same-sex unions, but 52 percent still against pot reform. Also: Gov. Rick Scott's proposed education reforms are phenomenally unpopular.

Quinnipiac surveyed more than 1,200 registered voters on a range of legislative issues. It seems clear that the national trend toward LGBT rights are finally gaining a foothold in Florida.

Last time the institute surveyed the state on same-sex marriage, back in March, it found voters opposed 50 to 40 percent. This time, they found a statistical split, with 43 percent favoring the move and 45 percent against.

As in the rest of the country, young voters are much more in favor of gay marriage, polling 66 to 23 percent in favor among 18 to 29-year-olds.

Pot activists in Florida have a bit more work to do. Even after surprising statewide victories in November, there doesn't look to be widespread support for legal weed in the Sunshine State. Quinnipiac found 52 percent opposed to 42 percent open to legalizing.

The most indisputable numbers in the poll, though, were probably the state's completely disgust with Scott's education reforms, particularly an idea to set different testing standards for different races. Voters opposed that idea 71 percent to just 7 percent in favor.

"Voters, with little difference along political, racial or gender lines, find setting different goals for different races to be distasteful," says Peter A. Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac's Polling Institute. "The data from this survey finds that voters like the idea of treating all students and colleges the same."

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink