Poll: Obama Edges Romney in Florida

Poll: Obama Edges Romney in Florida

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - June 21, 2012

President Obama holds a slim lead over Mitt Romney in Florida as more independent voters have moved toward the incumbent, a new poll released Thursday shows.

Obama attracts 46 percent of the support from registered voters in the Sunshine State while Romney garners 42 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University survey. The president takes independent voters -- a key constituency in this swing state -- 46 percent to 37 percent. In May, Romney led among this group, 47 percent to 41 percent. The former Massachusetts governor also led overall by six points.

"The president is doing better among independent voters," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement released with the survey results. "At this point, Romney is not well-defined in the minds of many voters, especially those in the middle. This movement reflects that uncertainty among voters who are up for grabs."

Obama leads among women, 49 percent to 39 percent. Men are virtually split between the two candidates: 45 percent back Romney while 44 percent support Obama. The president leads among Hispanics (who, while not a monolithic group, make up a significant part of the electorate), 49 percent to 39 percent. Romney leads among voters who are 55 or older, 48 percent to 43 percent. Obama carries voters in the 18-to-34 age range by a 27-point margin, and leads among voters 35-54 by seven points.

Romney’s favorability rating is slightly underwater: 42 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him while 39 percent hold a favorable one. By a 46 percent to 32 percent margin, independents have an unfavorable impression of Romney. Voters are split over whether they like the president: 47 percent find him favorable while 46 percent do not. Independents are also split, 46 percent to 46 percent.

But the president receives negative job performance grades: 49 percent disapprove of the job he is doing in the White House while 47 percent approve. His score is slightly worse among independents: 51 percent disapprove while 44 percent approve. Overall, voters are split over whether Obama deserves a second term. Among independents, 48 percent say he does not, while 47 percent say he does.

Voters feel Romney would do a better job on the economy than Obama by a 48 percent to 44 percent margin. But voters are evenly split over who would create more jobs as president. (Florida’s unemployment rate is 8.6 percent, according to the Department of Labor.)

While the presidential race in the state will help determine which party takes the White House, a U.S. Senate race there will help decide the balance of power in the upper chamber. On Wednesday, former Sen. George LeMieux dropped out of the Republican race, virtually assuring Rep. Connie Mack the GOP nod. Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson leads Mack, 43 percent to 39 percent, in a head-to-head matchup. Nelson also carries independent voters, 44 percent to 33 percent. Women chose Nelson, 44 percent to 36 percent, while men are evenly split.

Both candidates receive positive favorability ratings, though a plurality of voters say they don’t yet know enough about Mack to form an opinion. Nelson earns a 47 percent to 32 percent job approval rating. And by a 46 percent to 33 percent margin, voters say he deserves another term in the Senate.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,697 registered voters in Florida from June 12-18. The sampling error for this poll is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. 

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

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