USF to Run Influential Sunshine State Survey of Floridians



Students in Susan MacManus' political science class discuss questions for the Sunshine State Survey. Michelle Dye | USF News 

Students take active role in developing questions on key Florida issues for upcoming elections


USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 29, 2014) -- The University of South Florida School of Public Affairs is spearheading the Sunshine State Survey, an anticipated annual survey of Floridians on a wide range of economic, social and political issues facing one of the nation’s largest, most diverse and highly-competitive states.


The Sunshine State Survey is a series of questions asked annually, which provides leaders and academics in the public and private sectors with much-needed trend line data, while questions on newly-emerging issues give leaders an invaluable up-to-date look at where a wide cross-section of our state's residents stand on them.


The USF School of Public Affairs, part of the College of Arts and Sciences, will begin administering this survey and analyzing the results with Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. This survey was created in 2006 under the direction of Leadership Florida and at the request of USF Distinguished University Professor Susan MacManus, one of the nation’s leading political experts.


“Florida is over-polled when it comes to politics, but under-surveyed on policy and civic engagement,” said Angela Crist, spokesperson for the Sunshine State Survey. “This survey has become a critical source of citizen opinions on key issues facing this rapidly changing state. This work between USF School of Public Affairs and Nielsen will give our students an incredible opportunity to be part of an important survey that can influence change.”


“I am thrilled that this public policy-based survey will continue via a public-private partnership between USF and Nielsen,” MacManus said. “Being able to teach students how to design, conduct and analyze polls that can pinpoint problems and spark solutions is a dream come true for public policy-oriented scholars and a terrific learning experience for the state’s next generation of leaders.”


MacManus will continue in her leadership role of developing the survey and working with her students to refine questions. Nielsen will administer the survey and provide an opportunity for MacManus’ students to learn about the survey process.


The 2014 survey results will be released during the summer and will provide valuable insights before the next election cycle. The survey’s results are first revealed at an annual kickoff news conference in Florida’s capital city. Each year the Sunshine State Survey generates deep press coverage and comprehensive follow-up editorial support and op-ed columns.


“Nielsen is proud to again support the Sunshine State Survey, and we look forward to this new initiative with USF,” said Amy Rettig, senior vice president, public affairs, Nielsen. “With more than 3,000 associates in Central Florida and a local history in Tampa Bay that goes back to the 1960s, Nielsen has a big stake in Florida’s future and the creation of a smart, dynamic and skilled workforce.”