Florida 50+ voters say big bipartisan yes to texting-while-driving ban, beefed-up long-term care services; but no to nuke-cost recovery fees
AARP Florida Legislative Issues Survey 2013 also shows bipartisan support for Internet sales-tax fairness
A new AARP Florida Legislative Issues Survey 2013 shows that Florida voters age 50 or older give overwhelming, bipartisan support for a state law banning the dangerous practice of texting while driving. Nearly nine out of 10 Florida voters 50+, including large majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents, strongly support a texting-while-driving ban.
The survey also shows bipartisan support among 50+ voters for beefed-up state long-term care services to help older people remain in their homes and communities and higher quality-of-care standards for Florida nursing homes. Majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independent Florida voters also favor requiring Internet-based retailers to collect and send in the same state sales tax that Florida-based stores already collect.
However, the AARP survey shows that older Floridians aren’t convinced that utility companies ought to be able to charge consumers fees up front to build nuclear power plants, as is currently allowed by state law. Florida voters 50+ who say they strongly oppose advance nuclear cost-recovery fees outnumber those who strongly support such fees by more than eight to one.
The survey, announced Feb. 4 in a Tallahassee news conference by AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson, measured views on key legislative issues among 880 voters 50+ in Florida and is expected to be accurate to within plus or minus 3.3 percent. At the news conference, Johnson also discussed AARP’s legislative priorities for 2013.
“Politics today is marked by bitter partisan divisions, but this survey shows that older Florida voters just want problems solved in the Sunshine State,” Johnson said. “They want action to stop texting while driving, they’re concerned about getting the care they need to remain in their homes as they grow older, and they want job-creating Florida retailers to enjoy a level playing field when they compete against Internet-based retailers.”
According to the survey:
- 88 percent of Florida voters 50+ surveyed strongly support a ban on texting while driving, and another 5 percent somewhat support such a ban. Only 6 percent oppose such a ban. In 2012, the Florida Senate unanimously supported a texting-while-driving bill but key state House leaders never brought the legislation to a vote, even after more than 4,500 AARP members contacted House leaders asking that a vote be allowed. Support for the texting-while-driving ban cut across party lines.
- Nine out of 10 Florida voters say it’s important to them that the state provide long-term care services to people who need such care. Some, including 54 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of independents and 82 percent of Democrats say providing long-term care services to families is very important to them. Florida has seen only modest growth in support for state-funded home- and community-based long-term care in recent years while waiting lists have grown.
- Half of voters 50+ say they or a family member is likely to need long-term care in the next five years. Among different types of care, survey respondents rated home health aide or nursing visits or transportation services as most helpful to them.
- At least two-thirds of Republican, independent and Democratic voters strongly support higher quality-of-care standards for Florida nursing homes. Legislators lowered standards for hands-on nursing care in Florida two years ago in a surprise late-session move. Some 76 percent of those surveyed strongly supported tougher nursing-home care standards. One percent strongly opposed tougher standards.
- Six in 10 Florida voters 50+ favor requiring Internet-based retailers to collect and send in the state’s 6-percent sales tax, as Florida-based retailers already do. Surveyors said support for Internet sales-tax fairness was consistent across party lines. Voters 50+ who oppose such a move total only 18 percent.
- Six in 10 Florida voters 50+ oppose current state laws allowing utility companies to charge consumers in advance for nuclear-power plants, which, under the law, consumers may be required to pay for even though they may never be built. Some 44 percent of those polled strongly opposed the fees, while only 5 percent strongly supported them. Again, opposition to advance nuclear cost-recovery fees cuts across party lines, with 43 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 46 percent of Democrats strongly opposing such fees.