Politics & Government

Poll: Floridians are OK with guns in schools

More than half of Floridians support allowing trained staff carry guns on public school campuses, according to a new poll.

The USF-Nielsen Sunshine State Survey found 35 percent of those surveyed “strongly favor” allowing school employees to carry guns, and another 21 percent are in “favor” the idea. Twenty-nine percent “strongly oppose,” and another 11 percent “oppose,” according to poll results.

“Stronger supporters are males, working-age residents, whites, those living in affluent households, college graduates, and residents of the Orlando and North Florida areas,” a USF news release states.

In the Tampa Bay area, 58 percent of respondents said they support the idea, and 40 percent were opposed.

State Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, who is running for a seat in the Florida Senate, and others have unsuccessfully tried to get the Legislature to allow school staff members to carry firearms. The most-recent effort was during the 2016 session.

USF said the greatest opposition to the idea came from women, older Floridians, African-Americans, lower-income households, those with less formal education attainment and residents of the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area.

The results of the guns-in-schools question was released Tuesday by Distinguished University Professor Susan MacManus at the University of South Florida College of Arts and Sciences. Other questions covered Floridians’ opinions about education, transportation, health and recreation.

Results of the survey are based on 1,248 telephone interviews conducted by The Nielsen Company Sept. 1-19, 2016 with a random sample of adults, aged 18 and older, residing in Florida households. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.77 percentage points.

Marc R. Masferrer: 941-745-7050, @mrmasferrer