Poll: Floridians split on gay marriage, and oppose legalizing pot

In this May 18, 1979, photo, police handcuff a suspect during a drug raid in Miami. Police said eight were arrested and marijuana was seized. (AP Photo/Al Diaz, File)

In this May 18, 1979, photo, police handcuff a suspect during a drug raid in Miami. Police said eight were arrested and marijuana was seized. (AP Photo/Al Diaz, File)

Should same-sex marriage be permitted in Florida?

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Should marijuana be legalized in Florida?

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TALLAHASSEE — Florida voters are split on gay marriage and oppose legalizing marijuana, according to a state poll released Thursday.

The survey by Quinnipiac University of 1,261 registered voters found that 45 percent oppose gay marriage while 43 percent support it. That's a change from last May when 50 percent opposed same-sex marriage. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 2.8 percent.

Fifty-two percent are opposed to making marijuana legal while 42 percent say the drug should be made legal. The states of Washington and Colorado recently legalized small amounts.

On other issues: 73 percent of voters said they oppose an effort to allow colleges like the University of Florida and Florida State University raise tuition higher than the law currently makes possible. Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year vetoed a bill that would have let the state's two top research schools exceed an existing 15 percent annual cap on tuition increases. But new House Speaker Will Weatherford has already voiced support for bringing the measure back during the 2013 session of the Florida Legislature.

The poll also found that Florida voters oppose other potential changes to college tuition. Sixty-six percent said they opposed allowing universities to charge lower tuition for certain in-demand majors such as those in the science and engineering field, while charging more for those degrees that are considered less employable. A higher education task force created by Scott in November recommended making that change.

In other education issues 71 percent of those surveyed opposed having the state set different achievement levels for public schools students based on race. The Florida Board of Education this year approved a five-year strategic plan that has lower reading and math proficiency goals for minority students.

A majority of voters — 53 percent — support changes being proposed by House Speaker Will Weatheford to the state pension plan.

Weatherford wants to eliminate guaranteed pension benefits for newly hired state employees as a way to reduce the cost of paying for them. Instead, all new hires would go into the state's defined contribution plan, which is currently optional. Those benefits can vary depending how successful an employee's investment choices turn out, similar to a 401k plan.

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