Poll: Floridians Somehow Both Approve and Disapprove of Medicaid Expansion

A recent poll of Floridians found that the majority support the idea of taking federal money to expand Medicaid in the state, but it also found that a plurality of Floridians support Gov. Rick Scott's lawsuit against the federal government to stop Medicaid expansion in the state. 

The results of the poll left one person associated with the polling institute feeling like Floridians "may not understand how government functions.”

The results come from Saint Leo University’s Polling Institute and surveyed over 500 Floridians. Saint Leo University is a Catholic college located in the rural areas north of Tampa. 

The poll found that a whopping 68 percent of Floridians supported expanding Medicaid in the state, with 39 percent saying they strongly support it and 29 percent saying they somewhat support it. Only 28 percent opposed the idea. 

Of course, Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida House strongly opposed expanding Medicaid in the state. The Florida House even ended up refusing to negotiate with the pro-expansion Senate and ended its regular session early. The legislature is currently in a special session trying to pass a budget and figure out the fate of Medicaid expansion. 

Scott has also sued the Obama administration claiming that the feds are trying to force Medicaid expansion on Florida. The state currently helps cover the cost of treating uninsured people through federal funds dubbed the Low Income Pool, a special agreement between Florida and the federal government. However, the Obama administration wants to do away with that program in favor of more Medicaid. 

When the very next question asked if Floridians supported this lawsuit, 48 percent said they did, while 47 percent said they opposed it. 

This, of course, meant that there is a rather large group of Floridians out there who both support expanding Medicaid and efforts to stop the expansion of Medicaid. 

“If 68 percent of the people, including a plurality of Republicans, think Medicaid expansion is good, and then in the very next question they say, ‘Yes, Gov. Scott is right to sue,’ then I think it shows how complex the issue is,” Frank Orlando, political science instructor at Saint Leo, told the Tampa Tribune. “These issues are tough, and without the benefit of studying the issues in depth, it is difficult for voters to appropriately weigh trade-offs and then come to consistent positions on the Medicaid expansion question.”

The poll also found that Scott's approval ratings are at 50 percent, and the legislatures is at a relatively healthy 49 percent (despite the collapse and a need for a special session). 

“Voters aren’t informed enough about most of these issues to assign blame or assign reward,” Orlando continued. “Unfortunately, and I wish I didn’t have to teach my undergraduate students this, but voters don’t spend a lot of time discovering who’s at fault for these things, and they may not understand how government functions.”
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Kyle Munzenrieder