Poll: Obama Struggles in Florida

Poll: Obama Struggles in Florida

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - August 25, 2011

President Obama faces difficult odds in the battleground state of Florida, where voters have soured on his job performance and currently favor two of his top Republican challengers in hypothetical 2012 general election matchups.

The majority of Sunshine State voters give the president a poor job performance grade: 56 percent disapprove while 41 percent approve, according to a new Sachs/Mason-Dixon survey released Thursday. His approval among independents is lower: Only 36 percent approve of his performance as president while 55 percent disapprove. Notably, 27 percent of Democrats give him a negative rating while 68 percent approve.

Florida traditionally plays a crucial role in presidential elections. And in this cycle, the state will be even more coveted by White House contenders because new census figures resulted in it gaining two additional electoral votes, bringing the total to 29. The Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll suggests Obama will face an uphill battle as he seeks to win the state again (he topped John McCain there by three points in 2008). In a head-to-head matchup against Romney, Obama trails the former Massachusetts governor, 43 percent to 51 percent. Romney holds a slight edge among independents, 46 percent to 44 percent, and 20 percent of Democrats say they would back Romney over Obama.

Voters are statistically split evenly between Obama and Perry, though the Texas governor holds a marginal lead, 46 percent to 45 percent. The president takes independents by seven points, and just 15 percent of Democrats back Perry.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann comes within striking distance of the president in Florida, where she will hit the stump Friday and through the weekend. She trails Obama by two points, drawing 44 percent support to the president's 46 percent. Obama leads among independents by seven points, and Bachmann garners 11 percent support from Democrats.

Romney, who recently saw his lead in national polls evaporate, leads the GOP presidential field in the state. He tops Perry, 28 percent to 21 percent. Bachmann comes in third with 13 percent, and businessman Herman Cain attracts 7 percent support. None of the remaining candidates received more than 5 percent. Notably, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman failed to pick up 1 percent support from Republican voters in Florida, where his campaign is headquartered.

For this poll, Mason-Dixon Polling & Research surveyed 625 registered voters from Aug. 18-20. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points. The sampled includes 300 likely Republican primary voters, with a margin of error of 5.8 percent.

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

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