Florida Up for Grabs in GOP 2012 Race, Poll Shows
Around the State
A poll released on Monday shows that Florida is up for grabs in the Republican presidential race, with more than 40 percent of likely primary voters either undecided or backing a candidate who has decided not to run for the nomination.
With Florida set to have an early primary in 2012 and the Republican Party of Florida heavily promoting its Presidency 5 straw poll in Orlando in September, the poll from Republican firm Sunshine State Communications finds that the field of candidates needs to familiarize itself with voters in the Sunshine State. The poll finds that 32 percent of those surveyed were undecided -- easily surpassing any of the candidates included in the poll.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts leads the field of candidates with 16 percent and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia is right behind him with 15 percent. With former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas announcing Saturday that he is not running for the Republican presidential nomination, his supporters can play a pivotal role in the primary battle.
The poll was taken before Huckabee made his announcement and showed the former Arkansas governor took 11 percent of those surveyed. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who has downplayed talk about running for the Republican nomination in 2012, took 9 percent while former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, who is still considering whether to run, stands at 8 percent.
The rest of the field trails the leaders. Two candidates who are still pondering whether to enter the race -- Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota -- took 3 percent apiece. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota stood at 2 percent in the poll while former Gov. Jon Huntsman took 1 percent.
“The Republican presidential race in Florida is wide open,” said Buzz Jacobs of Sunshine State Communications. “With Huckabee out of the race, approximately 43 percent of likely Republican primary voters are up for grabs.”
Other candidates in the race or still pondering whether to run are U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, former Gov. George Pataki of New York, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama, businessman Herman Cain and activist Fred Karger.
The poll of 689 likely Republican primary voters was taken between May 11-13 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.73 percent.
Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews or at (850) 727-0859.