8 in 10 Florida Voters Agree the State Should Limit Rent Increases
FLORIDA — Today, Local Progress Impact Lab shares the results from a recent poll gauging Florida voters’ perceptions of the state’s affordable housing crisis. The poll of 1,250 registered voters in Florida found that Republicans and Democrats alike are overwhelmingly concerned about housing affordability heading into election day this year – so concerned, in fact, that there is bipartisan support for ballot initiatives to limit rent increases.
These findings come at a key moment. It is clear that Florida is bearing the brunt of the nation’s housing crisis, and the state’s abusive use of preemption and denial of local control on housing affordability is not making it any easier for localities to help their residents secure stable housing. Further, with Election Day six days away, ballot initiatives that limit rent increases are gaining popularity in Florida, and the devastating impacts Hurricane Ian is continuing to have on Floridians ability to access safe shelter, it is more important than ever to hear directly from Floridians.
The poll, which was coordinated by Local Progress Impact Lab and conducted by the African American Research Collaborative (AARC), was completed 75 percent online and 25 percent over the phone between October 4 and 11, 2022 and had a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent. It polled voters across political ideology and racial/ethnic identity, and surveyed residents across North, Central, and South Florida. Francesca Menes, Deputy Organizing Director of Local Progress, identified the need for this poll and spearheaded the development process.
“It is a critical moment to hear from our friends and neighbors across Florida to understand exactly how the housing crisis is impacting folks and to solicit their feedback on how best to address it,” Francesca said. “The poll’s results made it abundantly clear that Floridians see housing affordability as a top concern heading into election season, and they have strong opinions on what should be done about it.”
In fact, voters ranked the lack of affordable housing/high cost of rent as second only to inflation, in terms of the issues they are most squarely focused on. This concern crosses party, ideology, geographic, and racial/ethnic lines – reflecting a strong likelihood that housing issues will drive Florida voters to the polls this year.
It is also clear that the housing crisis in Florida goes beyond homelessness. Housing instability comes in all shapes and sizes, and is rampant across the state as rent continues to rise rapidly everywhere. Henry Fernandez, CEO of AARC, said he was struck by just how devastating the affordable housing problem is for people in Florida.
“More than a quarter of Floridians say they have recently experienced homelessness from sleeping on a friend’s couch to spending the night in their car,” Fernandez said. “People told us they want solutions. Across party lines, Floridians want the government to intervene and are overwhelmingly willing to vote for a ballot initiative to get rents under control if the government does not.”
In addition to asking about voters’ personal experiences and concerns about housing affordability, the poll also asked voters what, if anything, should be done to address this. The results indicate that Florida voters believe that the state should be proactive in protecting against rising rents. In fact, 8 in 10 voters agree that the state should limit rent increases and require 60-day notice for changes in rent prices by landlords.
Ballot initiatives that limit rent increases are already gaining momentum in Florida, with Orange County residents set to vote on a rent stabilization ordinance on November 8th. Local Progress member and Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla led the effort to get the ordinance on the ballot.
“Floridians can’t even afford to live in their own state anymore,” Bonilla said. “These results solidify what we already know – limiting rent increases is an effective, logical, and popular solution to Florida’s affordable housing crisis.”
Ray Block, Senior Research Advisor at AARC, agreed that the results from this survey offer further evidence of how important rising rent and concerns about homelessness are to Florida voters.
“The housing crisis is a topic that cuts across age groups, racial and ethnic categories, political divides, and geographic regions within the state,” Block said. “Affordable housing is clearly on the ballot, and Floridians will choose their candidates with this in mind.”