Poll Shows Obama Struggling in Florida

Poll Shows Obama Struggling in Florida

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - July 12, 2011

A lackluster economy in Florida has helped put President Obama's job approval rating under water in the key swing state, a new poll shows. And in a head-to-head matchup against Mitt Romney, the Republican front-runner in the 2012 race, the president trails by four percentage points.

Thirty-eight percent of likely Florida voters approve of the president's job performance while 54 percent disapprove, according to a Sunshine State News poll. Eight percent remain undecided.

The majority (56 percent) of Florida voters say the economy has worsened in the past year, and 58 percent of those voters disapprove of the job Obama is doing as president, while 35 percent approve. Among the 14 percent who say the economy has gotten better, 42 percent disapprove of Obama's job performance while 54 percent approve. Only 13 percent of Democrats think the economy in Florida has gotten better, compared to 14 percent of Republicans. More Democrats than Republicans think the economy has gotten worse in the past year, 62 percent to 51 percent, while 55 percent of independents think the economy has taken a turn for the worse.

Among Democrats, 64 percent approve of Obama's job performance while 29 percent disapprove. Eighty percent of Republicans disapprove of the president's job performance while 14 percent approve.

The survey was completed the day before the Labor Department issued a dismal jobs report showing a 9.2 percent national unemployment rate. Florida's unemployment rate for the month of May was 10.6 percent; June numbers will be released later this month. In response to last week's jobs report, Obama said, "We still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do" and noted that the recession killed more than 8 million jobs.

Meanwhile, Romney, who has put Obama's handling of the economy at the center of his campaign, leads the president by 46 percent to 42 percent in Florida. Among those who say the economy has grown worse, 48 percent would vote for Romney while 40 percent would vote to re-elect the president. Obama does better among those who hold a more optimistic view on the economy, 55 percent to 34 percent. But among those who say they haven't seen much economic change in the past year, 49 percent would vote for Romney while 39 percent would chose Obama.

Both the incumbent and the challenger fare well among their respective party bases: 71 percent of Democrats support Obama while 74 percent of Republicans support Romney (with no other GOP candidates listed on the ballot). But Romney edges the president among independents, 42 percent to 38 percent, while 16 percent remain undecided.

The 2010 U.S. Census delivered two additional delegates to the Sunshine State, giving it 29 electoral votes and making it an even bigger prize in the 2012 election. (Obama won the state in 2008 by three percentage points.) Romney leads the GOP field in the state, according to early polling.

The poll was conducted for Sunshine State News by Voter Survey Service from July 5 to July 7 and surveyed 1,000 registered likely voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percent.

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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