Society

Poll: Floridians Support Gov. Rick Scott's Defense of Stand Your Ground

| by Dabney Bailey
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Florida has been at the center of the Stand Your Ground debate ever since the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, but a recent poll has found anti-SYG fervor is not actually that strong in the Sunshine State.

A recent poll found 50 percent of Floridians want to keep SYG intact, 31 percent want the law changed and only 13 percent want the law removed completely. The poll’s findings are ever-so-slightly suspicious coming from the conservative group Viewpoint Florida, but the Miami Herald reports that Viewpoint Florida’s findings support similar claims made by other polls.

With those numbers, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) can comfortably ignore the public outcry surrounding SYG and stand by his claim that he will not repeal the law. In fact, it is entirely possible that SYG will not have much of an impact on the next Florida gubernatorial race at all.

“I don’t think [Stand Your Ground] is the litmus test for the election," said Sen. Nan Rich (D), who has announced that he intends to run for governor. "There should be a discussion about it. But it’s not a litmus issue.” Rich voted in favor of SYG when it passed the Florida legislature in 2005.

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Former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) might also run for the governor’s seat. Crist has a much stronger stance against Stand Your Ground. He has said he would call a special session to amend SYG because “there is a need for change.” With only 31 percent of the Florida population supporting a change to SYG, however, Crist might never get that chance.

David Beattie, a Democratic pollster, explained why some of these gubernatorial candidates might face opposition in the upcoming election.

“Voters tend to believe there’s a right to own guns, there’s a right to protection and there’s a concern about government restrictions," Beattie said. "If there’s a choice between too much restriction or too little, there’s a sentiment favoring less restriction. Is it true with guns? Absolutely. It’s also true, though, when it comes to abortion.” He added that many “view [guns] as a lifestyle issue and a personal freedom issue.”

Source: Miami Herald