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By Lee Williams 

A few weeks before the Florida legislature began debating an unlicensed concealed-carry bill, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law earlier this week, the legacy media started pimping a new public opinion poll that made some incredibly bold claims on the topic. 

The poll, which was conducted by the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab, or PORL, alleged that a vast majority of Floridians rejected the very idea of unlicensed concealed carry. Only 22% of Floridians supported the legislation and 77% opposed the bill, PORL claimed. 

“Not only is there bipartisan opposition to this ‘constitutional carry’ bill, but folks seem to feel passionately about it with the majority (67%) saying they strongly oppose the bill. Even among Republicans, most people are against carrying weapons without a permit,” Dr. Michael Binder, PORL faculty director and professor of political science, said in a March 9 press release announcing the poll. 

As you can imagine, a feeding frenzy ensued. Armed with Binder’s poll numbers, the legacy media went absolutely nuts. 

“As Floridians apparently know better than their elected officials, public health research overwhelmingly shows that relaxing firearm regulations contributes to increases in violent crime as well as firearm-related death and injury,” Caroline Light, who teached gender and ethnic studies at Harvard University, wrote in a column titled “Expect more violent crime if Florida passes permitless gun carry,” which was published by the Tampa Bay Times.  

“Permitless carry bill closer to law despite new poll showing that it’s vastly unpopular in Florida,” wrote the Florida Phoenix. 

The media onslaught didn’t stop even after Gov. DeSantis signed the bill into law. 

“Even as DeSantis pushed the proposal ahead of his expected bid for president, public polling on the issue has shown it to be widely unpopular with both political parties,” wrote NBC News. “Last month, a poll conducted by the University of North Florida showed 77% of the 1,492 respondents were somewhat or strongly opposed to the permitless carry legislation, a number that included 62% of Republicans.”

PORL faculty director and professor of political science, Dr. Michael Binder, (left) along with Rachel McDonald, PORL’s 2022 “Caller of the year.” (Photo courtesy PORL).

Who they asked

There are many ways to skew poll data, but the two most common methods are who you poll and how you phrase the question. In this case, it appears PORL misused both methods to create their crazy results. 

Binder and his researchers divided Florida into 11 “designated media market areas,” or DMAs. There are 10 DMAs in the state, but they divided the large, urban Miami-Dade County DMA into two.  

1 – Pensacola DMA
2 – Panama City DMA
3 – Tallahassee DMA
4 – Jacksonville DMA
5 – Gainesville DMA
6 – Orlando DMA
7 – Tampa DMA
8 – West Palm DMA
9 – Fort Myers DMA
10 – Broward & Monroe Counties
11 – Miami-Dade County

Then, based on the population size of the DMAs, the pollsters made their calls and sent their emails. Here is a listing of the DMAs and the percentage of respondents used from each group. 

1 – Pensacola DMA 4%
2 – Panama City DMA 2%
3 – Tallahassee DMA 2%
4 – Jacksonville DMA 9%
5 – Gainesville DMA 2%
6 – Orlando DMA 21%
7 – Tampa DMA 24%
8 – West Palm DMA 10%
9 – Fort Myers DMA 7%
10 – Broward & Monroe Counties 9%
11 – Miami-Dade County 10%

If you’re unfamiliar with Florida’s demographics, only two of the DMAs – Pensacola and Panama City – are from the panhandle. That’s the deepest red, conservative epicenter of the state. The remaining nine DMAs are large, urban centers, which are far more liberal than the rest of the state. Strangely, only 6% of the respondents came from those traditionally conservative areas. 

While the pollsters claim that of the 1,452 registered voters surveyed, 36% were Republicans, there’s a massive difference between Republicans in the panhandle and  elsewhere in the state, and Republicans from Miami-Dade. 

Florida’s gun owners will neither forget nor forgive former Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a Miami Republican who singlehandedly killed open carry and campus carry bills in 2016 by refusing to hold hearings on the bills in the Judiciary Committee that he chaired. Today, de la Portilla’s 2016 actions are what gun owners have come to expect from downstate Republicans. 

Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Coral Gables, (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

In an interview with the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project, Binder said PORL is nonpartisan, and he claimed no one paid for or commissioned the poll. PORL chose the topics on its own and he defended his methodology, even though only 6% of the respondents were from the most conservative areas of the state. 

“Typically, each year during the legislative session we look through some of the bills and there’s conjecture on what might become an issue,” Binder said. “Our respondents are weighted to the registered voters. There’s a whole lot fewer people out there than in Sarasota, or wherever.”

What they asked 

Here’s what Binder’s pollsters asked the respondents: “A bill has been introduced in the Florida House of Representatives that would allow Floridians to carry a concealed weapon without a license, as long as they meet certain criteria. The new law would not require safety training courses or certificates to carry a concealed weapon. Do you support or oppose the passage of this bill into law?”

There are more than a few issues with this question. The “certain criteria” law-abiding Floridians must meet to lawfully carry arms is lengthy and definitive. Also, Binder’s pollsters wrote “safety training courses,” which the requirements for a Florida Concealed Weapon or Firearm License call “firearm or safety course.” 

Asked whether “safety training courses” was more sensational than “firearms training or safety course,”

Binder defended the wording. 

“I don’t know how different that is,” he said. “Honestly, you know, this is the difficulty in writing questions about bills. It’s important to do. You can’t read the whole bill. It’s hard to manage piecing out what’s important and keeping it readable at a interpretable level. Often times they’re not written for the general public.” 

Asked about his background, Binder said he is a registered Republican who owns no guns. “I do not. My family does,” he said. 

Asked if he supports the Second Amendment, Binder said, “I support the Constitution. You could ask that question a myriad of different ways and get different answers.” 

Asked whether he actually believes that 77% of Floridians oppose unlicensed concealed carry, Binder said, “I think it’s possible, yeah. Will I bet my life on it? I wouldn’t bet my life on any public opinion poll. They’re more reflective than small groups or organizations that are lobbying on any topic. Many fewer people don’t own guns than own guns.” 


It’s always problematic conducting polls about individual rights or personal freedoms. As a few of my colleagues pointed out, our gun rights are not subject to popular opinions, and popular rights do not need constitutional protections. 

“The bottom line is this,” one said. “Had the residents of 1963 Alabama been polled regarding integration of Birmingham schools, the results would have shown overwhelming opposition. That’s why rights are independent of public opinion.” 


The Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project wouldn’t be possible without you. Click here to make a tax deductible donation to support pro-gun stories like this.

This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.

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  1. Is this really news? Seems this is the same tactic that dacian the DUNDERHEAD and MINOR Miner49er use all the time. The surprise is that a lot of people have not caught on to their shenanigans.

  2. Well, anyone that opposes unlicensed carry shouldn’t carry . Anyone opposed to citizens owning firearms shouldn’t own them. That’s what freedom means. Don’t step on my toes and i won’t step on yours.

    • i would be in favor of a law to disarm idiots, psychotics and other demoncrats.

      • Kurt, unfortunately, the only way to “disarm idiots, psychotics, and other democrats,” would be to tape their mouths and cut off their fingers.

  3. people’s opinions cannot override what the Second Amendment says. nor should it change any of the lawmakers from making gun laws what they are.

    • Samson, these polls that you have alluded to are FAKE! I can phrase a question so as to elicit the response that will “verify” my position. That is how these “polling” companies operate.

  4. Lol TTAG is the home of the dumbest polls ever, but do go on about flawed polling methodology.

    • By george I have a poll question for you…A concealed carry permit is the government taking a Right from you and Selling it back to you…Yes or No?

  5. They need to include ALL life members of the NRA in Florida in these polls – that is only fair!!!

    And another relevant question would be “Do you or your family have any guns?”

    Another question would be “Do you have any objection to law abiding citizens owning guns?”

    I think most people against CCW without a permit are people who do not want you to have a gun in the first place – but hey, that violates the 2nd Amendment.

  6. Another worthless poll based solely on conjecture due to it’s small sample size of 1492 respondents out of approximately 14,778,000 registered voters in Florida (2023 records). Which equates to .000087% of potential voters. Which can in no way be considered an accurate representation of the voters of Florida. Polls like this are nothing more than a way for people, groups, media or institutions to acquire talking points to support their own preconceived ideology.

    • yes, its another number games bias poll by anti-gun. they do this sort of stuff all the time. Their sample size in this one is too small and statistically insignificant.

      essentially their 77% is 77% of zero, statistically its the same as no Floridians responding to their poll, in other words statistically 0% of Floridians disapproved of the permitless carry.

  7. Media touting poll results: the majority of people oppose a ban on abortion.

    The part they don’t mention: the majority of Democrats oppose late-term abortion.

    Propaganda. It’s a thing.

  8. There are not a few polls I would put any real attention to. The only ones I care about happen every two years. Primaries, general elections, and presidential elections. Most anything else is a waste of my time.

  9. Pollsters are propagandists. Always have been, always will be.
    Political Science as a field is the study of population manipulation.
    Fear is not the mind-killer. Politics is. Just so happens they use fear an awful lot in their manipulation.

  10. The issue many non-gun owners, or non-Constitutional people fail to grasp is that armed criminals have never had either a CCW license or are even allowed to be in possession of a firearm.

    People who don’t ordinarily break the law generally believe everyone else, including the crooks, will likely abide by the law. Most probably believe most crooks even have a firearms permit, because not having one would be against the law, and who would intentionally break the law?

    There is at present a serious disconnect between many Americans and reality- perhaps brought on from a few decades of prosperity and relative safety. As can be demonstrated by trending policies in cashless bail, defunding law enforcement agencies, releasing violent perpetrators again and again, allowing trannies to commandeer female sports and other gender-bender propositions, it is only taking the country further from the ancient truths and into a place of no-return.

  11. Depending upon how and what you ask, you can get polls supporting or opposing anything you want to support your politics.
    As for political polls, remember 2016 when nearly every poll said Hildabeast would win by a landslide over Trump.
    Too many politicians and policy makers put too much faith and trust in polls conducted by partisan pollsters.

  12. Why does anyone report on polls? Does anyone take them seriously? Given that those taking the poll can word the question and select the respondents any way they like, does anyone not realize that the results of the poll are predetermined? People always point out that internet polls are inaccurate and unscientific but, I would contend that an internet poll is, quite possibly, more likely to provide an unbiased sample than a “professionally” constructed and implemented poll.

    If I ask the question, “When did you stop beating your wife?” and the possible answers are:
    A) Less than a year ago
    B) More than a year ago but less than five years ago
    C) More than five years ago but less than ten years ago
    D) More than ten years ago

    Does anyone actually think that I am going to learn any accurate and meaningful information about the proportion of people who beat their wives?

    • Beats the Bejesus out of me. I’ve pointed out that these Lefty polls frame the question to get the answer they want and then the skew the poling sample which guarantees they will get the answer they want.

  13. I don’t give polls much credence, from anyone.

    A side note –
    FTA: “ Caroline Light, who teached gender and ethnic studies…

    Teached? Wow!

    • The joke used to be that the easiest job in the world was “weatherman” because you could be wrong 70% of the time and keep your job. Meteorologists and their technology have gotten pretty good, though, so that mantle now goes to pollsters.

  14. He claims he supports his “POLL” yet “Will not bet his life on it”!!

    That tells you he is BSing about him “SUPPORTING HIS POLL”!!!

  15. Most Floridians DO NOT live in the panhandle.

    See, that wasn’t so hard.

    • Then why even write an article about a poll shich is the very definition of popular opinion?

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