Floridians would vote to enshrine abortion rights in state constitution, poll shows

By Giselle Balido

December 5, 2023

An overwhelming majority of Floridians say they would vote to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. But first, the sponsors of the amendment must gather enough signatures across the state to qualify for the ballot.

Abortion rights has long been considered a partisan issue, but a new poll from the University of North Florida found that 62% of all Florida voters–including a majority of Republicans–support a proposed constitutional amendment that would enshrine abortion rights, and would vote “yes” on the proposed amendment. Twenty nine percent oppose the proposal, while 9% didn’t answer the question.

The “Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion” proposed by Floridians Protecting Freedoms would prohibit the Legislature from banning abortion prior to viability, which is generally around 24 weeks. It comes at a crucial time, as the Florida Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 15-week abortion ban. 

If the court approves the 15-week ban, a six-week ban signed into law by DeSantis would take effect 30 days later, cutting off access to abortion early in the first trimester, before many women know they are pregnant. 

A bipartisan supermajority

A breakdown of the survey of registered voters released by UNF’s Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) indicates support for the measure surpasses the 60% supermajority threshold needed to pass. However, the poll has a margin of error of 4.37%.  The survey found that:

  • Sixty-eight percent of female voters expressed their support for the constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights, compared to 55% of men.
  • More than half of registered Republicans, or 53%, would vote to protect abortion rights in Florida, with 39% voting no.
  • Sixty-five percent of both Black and white respondents would vote yes on the amendment, with 24% of white respondents opposing the amendment compared to 26% of Black respondents.
  • Fifty-two percent of Hispanic respondents would support the amendment while 40% would not. 
  • Respondents between the ages of 35 and 44 expressed 57% support.
  • More than three-quarters of younger voters aged 18 to 24 said they favor the initiative.
  • Independent voters support both measures, with 58% in favor of the proposed abortion rights amendment.

A concentrated effort

Floridians Protecting Freedom must collect 891,523 signatures by Feb. 1 to qualify for the 2024 ballot. Election officials have certified more than 621,000 signatures as of December 1.

RELATED: Florida Latinas Would Suffer Under DeSantis’ Abortion Bans, Report Finds

But the drive must also collect the same proportion of signatures in at least half of Florida’s 28 congressional districts. For this reason, it is narrowing its petition drive to 10 specific congressional districts in an effort to demonstrate broad support across the state.

According to a Progress Florida bulletin, the congressional districts being targeted now include CD 2 (Tallahassee, Panama City, Crawford, Panama City Beach); CD 3 (Gainesville, Ocala, Newberry, Alachua); CD 7 (Oviedo, Port Orange, Longwood, New Smyrna, Sanford); CD 9 (South Orlando, Kissimmee, St. Cloud); CD 15 (North Tampa/University, Lutz, Temple Terrace, Lakeland, Wesley Chapel); CD 16 (Bradenton, Riverview, Sun City Center, Valrico); CD 17 (Sarasota, Venice, Pt. Charlotte, Punta Gorda); CD 21 (Pt. St Lucie, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach); CD 22 (Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Lake Worth); and CD23 (Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale, Coral Springs).

RELATED: How Floridians Are Fighting DeSantis’ Abortion Ban

Advocates worry that the overwhelmingly conservative makeup of the state Supreme Court—with five of the seven justices appointed by Gov. DeSantis—could ultimately stymie the effort, but Floridians Protecting Freedom campaign director Lauren Brenzel expresses confidence that the initiative will gather the support it needs. 

“We are still urging Floridians from Key West to Pensacola to go to FloridiansProtectingFreedom.com, download, sign and submit their petition, but we are very confident we will meet the Feb. 1 deadline to have the required number of verified petitions to qualify for the 2024 ballot,” says Brenzel. 

 

Author

  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.

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