New Poll: Obama Popularity Falls to New Low in Florida
For the first time since he took office with the help of Florida’s 27 electoral votes, more Floridians disapprove of President Barack Obama’s job performance than approve, the second half of Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University's latest poll showed Thursday.
Forty-seven percent of the 1,136 Florida voters surveyed by the poll said they approved of Obama’s handling of his job, but 48 percent said they did not. The number represents a sharp drop from the last Quinnipiac survey of the state for Obama, who was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Florida in 12 years.
In that June poll, Obama had a 58 percent to 38 percent approval rating. The new poll found more Floridians hold Obama in a favorable light than approve of the job he’s doing. The poll found 51 percent of Florida voters rated Obama favorable to 44 percent unfavorable.
But Quinnipiac University Polling Institute assistant director Peter Brown said Florida was the first of three swing states that the university polls to show a higher disapproval rating for Obama since he took office.
“Although he still gets a 51 – 44 percent favorability rating, that’s down from 62 – 32 percent in June and the President’s 47 – 48 percent thumbs down verdict on his job performance makes Florida the first state in which a Quinnipiac University survey shows his job approval is underwater, even if his nose is right at the surface,” Brown said in a statement. “This is also the first time that President Obama’s approval rating has fallen below the 51 percent of the popular vote that he won in Florida.”
In addition to measuring public opinion in its safely Democratic home state of Connecticut, Quinnipiac conducts surveys in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.
Possible good news in the poll for Obama was that 55 percent of respondents said he was doing “about what they expected” as president, compared to 17 percent who said he doing better and 26 percent said he was doing worse.
The picture in the QPoll looked significantly worse for what Obama has called his top legislative priority: health care reform. Fifty-five percent of the respondents approved of protests against the reform effort. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi labeled protestors “un-American,” but 79 percent of the respondents rejected that claim.
Additionally, by a 59 – 37 percent margin, voters disapproved of increasing the federal deficit to reform health care and 71 percent did not think Obama could fulfill his promise to reform the system without increasing the national debt.
“At least in Florida, the protests against the proposed health care overhaul that have been surfacing at town meetings held by members of Congress have struck a chord with the public,” Brown said. “Voters approve of the demonstrations and they overwhelmingly disagree with the view expressed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that these protests are un-American. There is a partisan split on approval of the protests, as Democrats disapprove 61 – 29 percent. But on whether they are un-American, even Democrats don’t think so, 67 – 25 percent.”
The poll also found that 62 percent opposed national Democrats passing a health care bill without Republican help, an idea which has been floated recently by national strategists. But 58 percent said they favored creating a government health care plan, a type of so-called “public option” that has been controversial.