Q-Poll: Florida Voters Like Barack Obama, Disapprove of His Policies
Around the State
A new poll from Quinnipiac University released Thursday reveals that President Barack Obama, who carried Florida in 2008, faces a tough time carrying the Sunshine State in 2012, while Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson remains in solid shape for his battle to win a third term.
The poll found that a majority of those surveyed -- 52 percent -- disapprove of Obama’s performance in office, while 44 percent approve it. This compares to a Quinnipiac poll released on Feb. 3 in which the president’s approval stood at 47 percent and the disapproval was at 49 percent. In the new poll, more Republicans -- 84 percent -- disapprove of Obama’s presidency than Democrats in the state -- 79 percent -- who approve it. The poll finds that a majority of independent voters -- 55 percent -- disapprove of Obama’s performance, while only 39 percent approve of it.
While Obama’s disapproval numbers are on the rise, the poll finds that he will still be competitive in the 2012 general election in Florida. A majority of those surveyed -- 51 percent -- thinks the president does not deserve a second term as opposed to 42 percent who think he does, but a generic Republican challenger is ahead of the president by only 3 points in the poll, 41 percent to 38 percent. This compares to the February poll in which the unnamed Republican candidate took 42 percent with Obama behind at 40 percent.
“With President Barack Obama formally announcing his re-election campaign this week, one can expect that his team will be focusing on Florida, one of the nation’s pre-eminent swing states and one that the president carried in 2008,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “He has some work to do in the Sunshine State. On job approval, re-election and the matchup against an unnamed Republican, he does a good deal better among women than he does among men.”
But the poll also finds that, while most Floridians do not like his policies in office, they like Obama. The poll found that 40 percent like him and his policies; 30 percent like him but not his policies; 24 percent do not like him or his policies; while 1 percent dislike Obama but back his policies.
“Despite questions about his policies, the president is personally popular with Floridians,” noted Brown.
The poll finds that Floridians are against many of Obama’s policies.
Forty-nine percent of those surveyed want to repeal the federal health-care law that Obama backed as opposed to 41 percent who want to keep it. When the phrase “health-care law” is replaced by “health-care reform law” in the poll, 54 percent want to repeal it, with 40 percent wanting to keep the current law. Floridians are split evenly, with 46 percent on each side, on the president’s handling of military actions in Libya. The poll also finds that Floridians are opposed to the American military operations in Afghanistan, with 59 percent thinking the U.S. should not be involved and only 36 percent backing continued involvement.
The poll indicates that Nelson is in better shape for 2012 than Obama.
Nelson won the approval of 47 percent of those surveyed and garnered 26 percent disapproval -- fairly similar to the numbers of his newly inaugurated Republican colleague, Marco Rubio, who has 47 percent approval and 23 percent disapproval. Forty-three percent think Nelson deserves a third term while 35 percent do not. Nelson leads a nameless Republican with 43 percent against the GOP candidate’s 39 percent.
The poll finds Floridians split on nuclear energy. While 48 percent support the creation of new nuclear power plants in Florida, 47 percent oppose them. Those numbers change dramatically when asked if they want a nuclear power plant built in their city, with only 39 percent backing it and 58 percent opposing it. A strong majority -- 60 percent -- backs increased offshore drilling for oil, with 35 percent opposing it, though that question was about the nation in general and not the Sunshine State in particular.
While 65 percent of Floridians -- including 71 percent of the independents -- support the Roe v. Wade decision, a majority -- 51 percent -- supports the bill in the Legislature requiring women considering abortions to have an ultrasound first, while 44 percent oppose the measure.
The poll of 1,499 registered voters was taken between March 29 and April 4 and a had a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percent.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.