Civiqs’ new poll for Daily Kos finds 51% of Florida voters opposing Amendment 3, which would establish a top-two primary system in state-level races like governor and state legislature starting in 2024, while only 36% support it; respondents also favor Joe Biden 51-47 here. Amendment 3 would not apply to federal elections such as the presidential or congressional contests due to limitations on the scope of any single initiative.

We’ve seen only two other surveys in the past month asking about this important ballot question, and they’ve each found very different numbers than Civiqs. A mid-September poll from Monmouth found Amendment 3 passing 63-21, which is more than the 60% of the vote that constitutional amendments need in order to go into effect in Florida. An early October survey from the University of North Florida, meanwhile, also found the yes camp ahead by a large 58-36 margin. As we’ve mentioned before, though, ballot measures are notoriously difficult to poll, so the widely divergent results on a question like this are not unusual.

As Daily Kos Elections has written before, progressives should hope that Amendment 3 fails this year. California and Washington already use the top-two primary (Louisiana also uses a similar all-party primary system that does allow candidates to avoid a second round of voting if they win a majority), and it’s notorious for producing outcomes that don’t reflect the desires of the electorate. One chief reason why: A party can win a majority of votes cast in the primary, yet get shut out of the general election simply because it fields a large number of candidates while the minority party only puts forth a few, or even just two.

Furthermore, primary electorates often feature very different demographic compositions than higher-turnout general elections, producing greater partisan and racial dissonance between the two rounds. These distortions have seen one party or the other get shut out of general elections in recent years in California and Washington, including in contests they likely would have won if the parties had gotten to nominate candidates through traditional primaries.

Indeed, if the top-two format had been in place in 2018 when both parties had competitive primaries for governor, Democrats would have been locked out of the general election. That year, Republican Ron DeSantis would have taken first place with 29%, while fellow Republican Adam Putnam would have beaten Democrat Andrew Gillum 19-17 for second, even though Republicans outvoted Democrats just 51-49. The field on both sides may have looked different in an election where the top-two primary was in effect, but as California and Washington Democrats have both learned the hard way over the last few years, a general election lockout is still always a very possible concern.

Civiqs also asked respondents about another Florida constitutional amendment that Daily Kos Elections is tracking this year. The polling firm shows Amendment 1, which would rewrite the Florida constitution to emphasize that only citizens may vote, ahead 53-39, which is considerably less than the 78-18 lead that UNF found. (Monmouth did not ask about it last month.)

As Stephen Wolf recently explained in his piece about this year’s crucial voting rights ballot measures, Amendment 1, like similar initiatives in Alabama and Colorado, would have no effect on the status quo, but it’s still very important. This measure would prevent local governments from experimenting with letting legal permanent residents who lack citizenship still vote in local elections, something a handful of small localities in the U.S. and many European democracies already allow.

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Civiqs’ new poll for Daily Kos finds 51% of Florida voters opposing Amendment 3, which would establish a top-two primary system in state-level races like governor and state legislature starting in 2024, while only 36% support it; respondents also favor Joe Biden 51-47 here. Amendment 3 would not apply to federal elections such as the presidential or congressional contests due to limitations on the scope of any single initiative.

We’ve seen only two other surveys in the past month asking about this important ballot question, and they’ve each found very different numbers than Civiqs. A mid-September poll from Monmouth found Amendment 3 passing 63-21, which is more than the 60% of the vote that constitutional amendments need in order to go into effect in Florida. An early October survey from the University of North Florida, meanwhile, also found the yes camp ahead by a large 58-36 margin. As we’ve mentioned before, though, ballot measures are notoriously difficult to poll, so the widely divergent results on a question like this are not unusual.

As Daily Kos Elections has written before, progressives should hope that Amendment 3 fails this year. California and Washington already use the top-two primary (Louisiana also uses a similar all-party primary system that does allow candidates to avoid a second round of voting if they win a majority), and it’s notorious for producing outcomes that don’t reflect the desires of the electorate. One chief reason why: A party can win a majority of votes cast in the primary, yet get shut out of the general election simply because it fields a large number of candidates while the minority party only puts forth a few, or even just two.

Furthermore, primary electorates often feature very different demographic compositions than higher-turnout general elections, producing greater partisan and racial dissonance between the two rounds. These distortions have seen one party or the other get shut out of general elections in recent years in California and Washington, including in contests they likely would have won if the parties had gotten to nominate candidates through traditional primaries.

Indeed, if the top-two format had been in place in 2018 when both parties had competitive primaries for governor, Democrats would have been locked out of the general election. That year, Republican Ron DeSantis would have taken first place with 29%, while fellow Republican Adam Putnam would have beaten Democrat Andrew Gillum 19-17 for second, even though Republicans outvoted Democrats just 51-49. The field on both sides may have looked different in an election where the top-two primary was in effect, but as California and Washington Democrats have both learned the hard way over the last few years, a general election lockout is still always a very possible concern.

Civiqs also asked respondents about another Florida constitutional amendment that Daily Kos Elections is tracking this year. The polling firm shows Amendment 1, which would rewrite the Florida constitution to emphasize that only citizens may vote, ahead 53-39, which is considerably less than the 78-18 lead that UNF found. (Monmouth did not ask about it last month.)

As Stephen Wolf recently explained in his piece about this year’s crucial voting rights ballot measures, Amendment 1, like similar initiatives in Alabama and Colorado, would have no effect on the status quo, but it’s still very important. This measure would prevent local governments from experimenting with letting legal permanent residents who lack citizenship still vote in local elections, something a handful of small localities in the U.S. and many European democracies already allow.

Want more great elections coverage like this? Sign up for our free daily newsletter, the Morning Digest.

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