Eight in 10 think Florida's economy is worsening or stuck in neutral.

Nearly six in 10 think Florida's quality of life is just fair or poor.

Almost half of 25-to-54-year-olds fear losing their jobs.

The poll, conducted Dec. 19 and Dec. 20 by Florida Next Foundation and JZ Analytics, also shows Florida's young people are facing dire challenges:

  • 73 percent of survey respondents believe students aren't being prepared for a 21st century economy
  • 65 percent of young adult respondents would consider leaving Florida for better opportunities elsewhere

The poll also suggests the loss of a job for many Floridians could have catastrophic consequences: The savings of nearly six out of 10 Floridians amounts to just one month's salary, or less.

One potential bright spot: A belief among respondents that the state's small business base could provide some relief. Seven in 10 agree that Florida's small businesses would increase their presence in the state and boost their hires if government offered them incentives. By contrast, slightly more than half of Floridians believe providing incentives to large businesses would have a similar effect on hiring.

"It's remarkable that large segments of the population remain pessimistic about Florida's economy and are contemplating leaving the state altogether, especially given recent news that suggests the state's showing some modest signs of recovery," said Chad Bohnert of JZ Analytics.

"It's clear that a greater effort needs to be expended to strengthen Florida's economy and quality of life, if we're going to keep talent here in Florida," said Alex Sink, chair of Florida Next Foundation, a non-partisan, 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. "One of the most obvious ways to do that is by supporting our small businesses and entrepreneurial spirit. This poll suggests Floridians agree with that."

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