A staple of any contended election year can be found in the form of non-stop attention grabbing political ads. The frequency in which a specific audience is inundated with these ads is always dependent upon how close various political races are.
Not too many counties in the United States are more exposed to political ads than Orange County Florida. Orange County is located along the pivotal Interstate 4 corridor, known as the swing part of the state. Many close elections are won or lost depending on the voting outcome along the corridor. Most notably, or dubiously, the 2000 presidential election.
Voters here are seen as particularly savvy. They traditionally split their votes among the different among various partisan lines on the same ballot.
qSample sought to get insight into voters from Orange County to get their general sentiments on issues ranging from their approval of certain branches of the government to foreign policy, heading into yet another highly contested election year. More than 350 Orange County registered voters from qSample’s Voter Panel sounded off.
Not surprisingly, the most important political issue among respondents was the economy. Nearly 27 percent of respondents selected it as the most important issue in the coming election. Their feelings about the current state of the economy varied. Nearly 30 percent believe “it is not good but it is improving.” 27 percent of respondents said, “it is not good and it is only getting worse.” 23 percent were more optimistic in their outlook towards the economy reporting, “it is good and improving.”
There may not be a more polarizing issue than voters’ stances on Obamacare. So it does not come as a shock that the second most important issue to Orange County voters was in fact Health Care Reform (17 percent). Only 10 percent believed Obamacare “is a good system that doesn’t need to be changed.” 41 percent of respondents believed Obamacare only needed “slight changes.” The remaining 49 percent were split right down the middle stating, “It needs significant changes” and “it is not a good system and should be abandoned.”
Foreign Policy has been dominating the media coverage over the past two months for all the wrong reasons. Interestingly with all turmoil abroad, 43 percent of participants reported, “America is as involved as it should be in what’s going on with the rest of the world.” 25 percent believed the U.S. should be involved more and 32 percent believed less involvement would be best.
The survey delved further into two specific conflicts abroad, Palestine/Israel and Russia/Ukraine. The overwhelming majority believed the U.S. is involved as much as it should be (43 percent and 47 percent respectively). A healthy minority believed the U.S. was involved too much already in these specific conflicts (30 percent and 23 percent respectively) The remainder wants the U.S. to be involved more.
Another interesting finding from the study came on respondents attitudes towards immigration, which affects the area in many ways. More than 10 percent of refugees from the U.S.-Mexico border end up in Florida and Orange County has a sizable number of refugees. An overwhelming 50 percent of respondents believe America needs to have stricter policies on immigration.
Nationwide, the dissatisfaction with all the government branches has grown substantially since 2012. The results from the survey echo these sentiments loud and clear.
Respondents were asked to rate on a 1 to 10 scale their level of satisfaction with each branch of the government. The respondents were most harsh in their assessment of Congress. More than 56 percent rated their level of satisfaction with congress a 1. Only five percent rated it higher than a 5, giving congress by far the worst average, 2.2, among the three branches.
26 percent of respondents rated their level of satisfaction with the Supreme Court a 1 (average rating was 3.9). Ratings varied much more for the respondents level of satisfaction with the President who had an average rating of 5.1, but the majority, 28 percent, rated their level of satisfaction a 1.
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