Friday, June 24, 2011

Obama leads in Florida

You can talk about the economy and unemployment and Afghanistan all you want but Barack Obama has one huge asset when it comes to his reelection bid: the Republican Party. And nowhere is that clearer than in the vital state of Florida where voters are split pretty much right down the middle on the President, but nevertheless leaning toward reelecting him at this point.

48% of voters in the Sunshine State approve of the job Obama's doing to 49% who disapprove. Republicans are more unified in their disapproval of him (87%) than Democrats are in their approval (81%) and independents split against him by a 48/49 margin identical to his overall numbers.

Despite Obama's tepid approval numbers he still has at least a 4 point lead against all of his top potential challengers. It's 47-43 over Mitt Romney, an 8 point advantage over Tim Pawlenty at 48-40, a 9 point edge against Michele Bachmann at 49-40, an 11 point spread against Herman Cain at 48-37, and a 12 point blowout over Sarah Palin at 52-40.

Why, if Obama's relatively weak in the state, does he lead all of his potential opponents? Because the Republicans are weaker. Consider this:

1) All of the GOP hopefuls have negative favorability ratings in the state, both overall and with independents. Bachmann comes closest to breaking even at 36/37, including 29/41 with independents. Romney's 41/45 overall and 43/45 with independents, Cain's 25/33 overall and 27/29 with independents, Pawlenty's 19/39 overall and 16/42 with independents, and Palin's 37/58 overall and 27/67 with independents. Floridians aren't enamored with Obama but they don't find any of the alternatives particularly compelling either.

2) Rick Scott is going to be a problem for whoever ends up as the Republican nominee. A plurality of voters in the state- 40%- says his actions as Governor have made it less likely they'll vote GOP for President next year. 34% say he won't make a difference either way in their vote and 26% say the things he's done make them more likely to vote for a Republican. What's most important about these numbers is that 18% of voters who disapprove of Obama are so turned off by Scott that they're less likely to vote for the GOP next year.

Scott's important because he's helped remind voters in Florida why they turned away from the GOP in 2006 and 2008- there are going to be folks who don't love Obama who are going to end up voting for him anyway because they think he's a lesser of evils. In a state that tends to be decided by 2 or 3 points Scott's unpopularity and damage to the Republican brand could throw the state to Obama.

Florida's other newly elected Republican- Senator Marco Rubio- is doing pretty well so far. 42% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 35% who disapprove. His approval numbers are better than those of his senior colleague Bill Nelson, who we'll release figures for next week.

It doesn't look like adding Rubio to the ticket would do much to help GOP hopes of winning the state next year though- 31% of voters say they would be more likely to vote for the Republican nominee if Rubio was the VP candidate while 35% say they would be less likely to and 34% say it doesn't make a difference either way. VP picks are rarely game changers and it doesn't look like the story would be any different with Rubio.

Obama's vulnerable in Florida but if the GOP doesn't step its game up he might be able to back into another victory in the state anyway.

Full results here


The Interesting Times said...

It's pretty clear that a wise Republican Presidential nominee will embrace Marco Rubio and shun Rick Scott.

Anonymous said...

As you said, Obama is vulnerable in Florida. Only one candidate, Mitt Romney, is well-known and he's just 4 points behind Obama and that shows how vulnerable Obama really is. Add to the fact the tremendous current uncertainty on the GOP field and you could say Obama is in trouble.

Ranjit said...

Well, there is also another component to the results . When an Incumbent polls less than 50% and and unfavorability is more than favorability, it will get worse as the Republican party gets more coverage with debates and primaries in 2012 ! Mark my words! If the unempolyment continues the way, it does, you will not see increased turn out among African Americans and students ! That should make sure that, republican candidate wins florida by 5 to 10%

The Interesting Times said...

Also, I wouldn't say Florida rejected the Republicans in 2006.

In 2006, Florida elected then-Republican Charlie Crist over Democrat Jim Davis in the gubernatorial election.

It's true that Democrat Bill Nelson was reelected in 2006. But Nelson has always had an usual amount of crossover support, and the Republican contender for the seat was the highly controversial Katherine Harris. Those factors combined make the 2006 Florida Senate election a special case.

Remember that both of these things happened in a strongly Democratic.

Florida didn't truly reject the GOP until the 2008 election. It rather resoundingly rejected the Democrats in 2010.

Which year is part of the rule, and which is an exception, has yet to be seen.

Gadget Boi said...

Impressive...Obama improves upon his previous performance by 1-2 points with Romney.

I Am Iron Man said...

Maybe Michelle Bachmann is the best chance the Democrats have of getting a truly electable GOP nominee... She's worse than Palin when you get to know her... but she hasn't had the glare of the media on her yet so she may be able to get the nomination... fingers crossed.

I don't want Obama to just win reelection, I want him to win by a landslide. I want the Tea Party insanity to lead the GOP off the edge into the abyss.

NRH said...

Florida didn't reject Democrats in 2010. Florida stayed home and the wingnuttiest of the wingnutty rejected Democrats in 2010. And while the Republican primary may still be going on and thus the nominee is not known, it's also true that Florida hasn't been barraged by ads yet about how the Republican nominee supports the Ryan plan to kill Medicare. Once those ads hit the airwaves, combined with ads reminding people that Rick Scott supports the Republican nominee, that person will have to spend their entire Florida campaign on the defensive.

Florida also might not matter anyhow. Obama posts a lead of eleven or more in Virginia over all declared Republican candidates, a nine-or-more lead in Iowa, and and a six-or-more lead in Colorado. If Obama wins those three and hangs onto all the states that voted Gore-Kerry-Obama (and it's hard to see any of those states switching), then he wins even if he were to then lose every other state that voted for Bush or McCain at least once.

Basically, Republicans are actively trying to block any chances of recovery because they've made the cynical calculation that it depresses the national turnout and lets them make illogical but base-firing speeches about how firing people from government jobs will get more people employed, or how GM needs tax cuts to afford to hire people after paying a net negative $1.5 billion last year.

Anonymous said...

Rick Scott has governor of Florida doesn't help any of the GOP candidates. However, if i were the prez i would not count on discontent for the governor. He will need the economy to grow up by time his re election comes around. What he should be saying is the 'republicans are intentionally sabotaging the economy for political gains.'

Anonymous said...

Small cross tab thing: It's pretty weird that when it comes to Obama voters, Romney and Bachmann(!) do the best in favorability ratings at 22%. Even when you factor in the "don't know"s, that seems strange.

Not doubting the poll at all, I legitimately find that weird.

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