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5 things to know about the new University of North Florida poll

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With Election Day still nine months out, the fates of a range of issues and elected offices that Florida voters will cast their ballots on remain up in the air.

A new survey from the University of North Florida's polling lab took the temperature of 619 likely voters on a number of those topics, from local concerns to national issues.

Among the issues addressed in the poll, which was released Monday, are the governor's race, felon voting rights, offshore drilling, guns on campus and DACA.

We looked through the results and pulled out the following findings:

  • Voters don't know who's running for governor. Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Phillip Levine, Richard Corcoran, Ron DeSantis, Adam Putnam. If your response to that list was, "Who?", you're not alone. On average, nearly three-quarters of voters didn't recognize any of those names. Putnam polled best in that category, with just two-thirds of voters oblivious to him. While the poll provides only a snapshot of the electorate, this doesn't bode well.
  • The vast majority of voters support restoring voting rights for felons after they fulfill all of their legal obligations, including parole or probation. Of those surveyed, 71 percent said they would vote in favor of a measure that gives felons -- except for those with murder and sex offense convictions -- the right to stand in unbearably long lines and fill out ovals with a golf pencil come November. The measure needs 60 percent approval to pass.
  • An even greater number of voters are on board with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. In fact, 82 percent of those polled said undocumented or illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, commonly known as Dreamers, should be allowed to stay in the country and later apply for citizenship. That is compared to 9 percent who said they should be forced to leave the country and 5 percent who said they should be allowed to stick around, but not seek citizenship.
  • Voters are wary of guns on campus. While it may be viewed as political suicide in Florida to go anywhere near Second Amendment issues, most people aren't OK with the idea of allowing concealed weapons on college or university campuses. Of those polled, 59 percent said they strongly or somewhat opposed lifting the current restrictions. That's compared to 35 percent, or a little more than a third, of voters who support the change.
  • The people have spoken: Legalize it, they say. Well, not so fast. But the survey results do show that 62 percent, or nearly two-thirds of voters, would back a measure decriminalizing marijuana and regulating it in the same way as alcohol -- only allowing it to be sold to those 21 years of age or older. Roughly 35 percent of those surveyed were against that idea and three percent say they don't know.

To view the complete survey results, visit the UNF's polling lab website.

About the Author:

A Florida transplant with Midwest roots, Garrett Pelican is the digital executive producer for News4Jax.