President Barack Obama's swing through Maimi raised funds for his party on Monday but, according to a new Sunshine State News Poll, his policies raise deep distrust among Floridians and threaten to drag Democratic candidates down.
"His 39/54 job approval is a harbinger of what’s coming in November, which is to say a swing back to the GOP," predicted pollster Jim Lee.
"Given that Obama’s job approval in Florida is actually worse than his nationwide average (45/48, according to realclearpolitics.com), it demonstrates that the political environment has really soured in Florida for the Democrats," said Lee, president of Voter Survey Service, which was commissioned by Sunshine State News to conduct the poll Oct. 6-10.
Republicans sought to capitalize on the president's visit Monday by suggesting that his mere presence energizes voters -- against him.
Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla., said, "The (Democrats) will raise money, but fire things up for Republicans and independents. People are very upset with the course of this country."
"Obama will boost Republican turnout," LeMieux forecast.
The Sunshine State News Poll, which surveyed 1,151 likely voters across Florida, indicated that Obama’s high negative ratings aren't just a millstone around the necks of Democratic candidates this fall, but also threaten to deep-six independent Senate hopeful Charlie Crist.
Among independent voters, Obama's job approval rating is upside down at 32/55 approve/disapprove.
"This explains why (Republican Marco) Rubio is competitive with Crist even among independents (Rubio 40 percent, Crist 38 percent, Democrat Kendrick Meek 16 percent)," Lee said.
"Rubio’s key to victory is to continue to make the election a referendum on the Obama administration, and remind voters a vote for Crist is a vote for 'some of' Obama’s policies, and a vote for Meek is a vote for all of them,'" Lee noted.
The latest poll highlights the ongoing deterioration of the president's standing in Florida. Obama carried the state by 3 percentage points (51/48) in 2008 after George W. Bush won by 5 points in 2004.
David Rivera, a Republican running in Miami's 25th Congressional District, said his Democratic opponent, Joe Garcia, will pay a price for associating with the likes of Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"Garcia can run but he cannot hide from Pelosi. He would be a complete rubber-stamp," Rivera said.
"My first order of business would be to fire (Pelosi)," said Rivera, who hopes to succeed Republican Mario Diaz-Balart in CD 25.
Apparently acknowledging the prospect of political backlash against D.C. Democrats, Pelosi, D-San Francisco, canceled previous plans to join Obama in South Florida.
LeMieux drew a sharp contrast between Obama's lavish fund-raiser at former NBA star Alonzo Mourning's Coral Gables mansion and the tough times experienced by rank-and-file Floridians.
"Obama's job-killing agenda is stopping business in its tracks. He's done more to hurt the economy than any other factor," said LeMieux, who, ironically, was appointed to the Senate by Crist before the governor bolted the GOP.
Obama's negative image was cited in an earlier Sunshine State News Poll, which showed his disapproval rating at 51 percent in Central Florida's 8th Congressional District.
In that swing district, the poll showed Republican Dan Webster leading first-termer Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, 43-36, with another 9 points going to conservative TEA and NPA candidates.
"CD 8 is a bellwether district. It really shows there's a shift back to the GOP," Lee said.
Today's Sunshine State News Poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.89 percent.
Contact Kenric Ward at email@example.com or at (772) 801-5341.