More Democrats Have That ‘Sinking’ Feeling
In Florida, Fear of Sinkholes Is Not Irrational
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The Fiscal Times
March 20, 2013

If you live in Florida and you’re worried about getting sucked into the center of the earth – you just might be a Democrat.

With sinkholes making headlines after several unfortunate incidents in Florida, Public Policy Polling (PPP) of Raleigh, N.C., conducted a new poll on the topic – and the results are, well, earth-shattering.

“There is a large partisan divide when it comes to concern about falling into a sinkhole,” the group observed Wednesday.

Of the 500 Florida voters polled from March 15-18, 46 percent of those who call themselves Democrats are worried about “getting sucked into the ground.” But only 22 percent of those who call themselves Republicans have the same fears.  

Overall, 34 percent of voters in the Sunshine State are concerned about falling into a sinkhole – with 13 percent of those people feeling “very” concerned about it.

That’s compared to 67 percent of Florida voters who are simply “not that concerned” at all about falling prey to a sinkhole.

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Florida’s combination of limestone bedrock, unstable rainfall patterns, and fast-growing population (the state may have 20 million residents by 2015, making it the third most populous in the nation) has been more vulnerable than ever before to sinkholes. Two weeks ago, a 36-year-old man, Jeff Bush, died when a sinkhole opened up beneath the foundation of his suburban Tampa home and took him with it.

“Sinkholes are an increasingly deadly risk in Florida,” reports The Christian Science Monitor. Porous limestone can contain tremendous amounts of water in underground aquifiers. 

Geological Randall Orndorff of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) says that sinkholes are actually more common that most people realize. “They form in fields and woods every day,” he said recently, “and no one notices except the landowner.”

Aside from several recent incidents in Florida, an Idaho woman perished last year when her car plunged into a caved-in roadway. In Bakersfield, California, in 2011, an oil worker died in a sinkhole near a well: “State officials noted steam had been used for several years to drive crude to the surface,” Lee Bowman of Scripps Howard News Service reported.

You can read the full PPP release on the sinkhole poll results – which also addresses how Florida voters feel about illegal immigrants, stronger gun laws, and other issues – here.  

Managing Editor Maureen Mackey oversees scheduling and work flow and also writes and edits features and reports on a wide array of subjects. She spent more than 20 years as a senior book and features editor at Reader’s Digest.