Gov. Rick Scott did well handling Hurricane Irma, according to a new statewide poll, but Floridians are not necessarily more likely to heed evacuation orders in future storms.
In the survey, conducted by Jacksonville-based Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, 35 percent gave Scott a rating of “excellent,” 31 percent “good,” 25 percent “fair,” and 4 percent “poor.” Five percent weren’t sure.
Republicans thought most highly of Scott’s hurricane job performance: 89 percent of Republicans rated it “excellent” or “good,” compared to 62 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats.
Irma, a massive Category 4 storm when it made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sept. 10, threatened to roll up the spine of the state, forcing widespread local evacuation orders. Nearly 32 percent of Floridians left their homes, Mason-Dixon found, but 43 percent of people under evacuation orders stayed put. Thirteen percent of people evacuated without having to do so.
“Next time round could be a different story, as many Floridians indicate that they will rethink their actions,” pollster Brad Coker wrote in a memo summarizing the results.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they would follow another evacuation order. Of 19 percent who did for Irma, 71 percent said they would do so again.
But of the 14 percent of respondents ordered to leave who stayed home, only 19 percent said they would evacuate in the future — suggesting they felt justified in ignoring the orders after Irma spared most of the state from her worst fury.
Still, of the 54 percent of Floridians who didn’t get an evacuation order and stayed home, 62 percent said they would leave if ordered to do so. And of the 13 percent of people who evacuated without being ordered to do so, 57 percent said they would leave again, under a government order or not.
Mason-Dixon surveyed 625 registered Florida voters by phone between Oct. 17-19. The poll has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.