Ed Morrissey - Last week, a Quinnipiac poll showed Barack Obama’s job approval rating in the Sunshine State at 42%, with 52% disapproving. A new Mason-Dixon poll shows that the Q-poll was no outlier. The survey conducted for the St. Petersburg Times gives Obama a 43/56 approval rating, with a surprisingly bad result among independents:
President Barack Obama is in trouble in Florida as he begins his re-election campaign.
A new Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll found that only 34 percent of independent voters in Florida — always the key to winning — approve of Obama’s performance, and that either former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee would beat the president in Florida if the election were held today.
“If one of the top-tier Republicans gets the nomination, it will be a real fight for Florida,” said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker.
Obama’s disapproval rating among indies is 50%, putting Obama 16 points underwater. In contrast, Obama won the state in 2008 almost entirely due to the seven-point margin of victory among unaffiliated voters (52/45). That’s a 23-point flip in a little over two years.
This poll also shows that two Republicans presumed or potentially running for the nomination clearly top the incumbent in Florida. Romney beats him by five, as does Huckabee, but neither get to 50%. Sarah Palin trails Obama by twelve points, 39/51, and Donald Trump trails by eight. There are probably enough retirees from New York City in Florida who have seen enough Donald Trump in their lifetimes.
At the moment, Huckabee is the leader among GOP voters for the nomination, but not by much. He gets 23%, five points ahead of Romney, ten points ahead of Trump, and 15 points ahead of Tim Pawlenty. Palin’s standing in the polls has dropped precipitously; she now gets only 5% of Florida primary voters for the nomination, and given the key position of Florida in the nomination process, this is bad news if Palin decides to run.
But the really bad news belongs to Obama. He can win without Florida in a general election, but it won’t be easy, especially if he loses Ohio and Wisconsin, which at least seem possible. An approval rating of 42% or 43% with majority disapprovals are not numbers that will win the state, and he’s running out of time to turn those around.