And gun-rights boosters, nominally led by the National Rifle Association, tend to vote their issue in bigger numbers and with more passion than those who favor gun control.
“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,” said David Beattie, a Democratic pollster and consultant who has worked for Sink and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat.
“If there’s a choice between too much restriction or too little,” Beattie said, “there’s a sentiment favoring less restriction. Is it true with guns? Absolutely. It’s also true, though, when it comes to abortion.”
Generally speaking, Beattie said, there’s an “urban-rural divide” in Florida. Those who live in cities tend to view guns as a safety issue, while those in more rural and suburban areas “view it as a lifestyle issue and a personal freedom issue.”
Another top state Democratic consultant, Steve Schale, said he didn’t see guns as a major issue that would help Democrats.
In Florida, where there’s a near-even divide between Republican and Democratic ballots cast, independent voters usually decide elections.
And independents tend to support Stand Your Ground by double-digits, according to the poll from Viewpoint Florida, three surveys in 2012 and 2013 from Quinnipiac University and a Mason-Dixon poll conducted last year for The Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Times and other news partners.
Republican support for the law is strongest; Democrats have opposed the law or favor changing it the most.
When voters were asked in three Quinnipiac University polls if they support or oppose the law, their sentiment barely changed for months. Overall, they backed the law by an average of 56-36 percent.
The Mason-Dixon poll found voter support the highest in July 2012: 64 percent, with 16 percent wanting to modify the law and 18 percent favoring an all-out repeal.
The Viewpoint survey, released Monday, is the only public poll conducted in Florida after Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict.
“These numbers show Rick Scott is clearly in tune with voters on the Stand Your Ground issue,” said Randy Nielsen, a Republican consultant who helped conduct the Viewpoint Florida poll of 900 Florida voters.
Similar to a national poll released this week, the Viewpoint survey found Florida voters thought the Zimmerman acquittal was the right decision; 56 percent supported it and 38 percent opposed it.
As with support for Stand Your Ground, opposition to the verdict was strongest among Democrats and African-Americans. Support was strongest among non-Hispanic whites and Republicans.
Crist, once a darling of the NRA, has since drawn fire from the group after he switched parties and began favoring more support for what he calls “common-sense” gun control.
“Polls change,” Crist said, making an oblique referencing to his surprise defeat by Marco Rubio in the 2010 U.S. Senate race. “Polling is a snapshot. Attitudes change as more evidence is brought to bear. Sometimes things move. And sometimes they move fast.”
So far, though, public opinion has stood in place when it comes to Stand Your Ground.
“We haven’t seen a shift,” said Quinnipiac’s assistant polling director, Peter A. Brown. “Clearly, there’s solid support for Stand Your Ground in Florida.”