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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

QPoll: FL voters like Bill Nelson, dislike Barack Obama



A majority of Florida voters disapprove of President Barack Obama's job-performance and think he should be a one-termer, according to a new poll that also shows Floridians slightly prefer a generic Republican candidate.

But despite the disapproval, the new Quinnipiac University survey finds that Obama is personally liked by a majority of Florida voters.

The poll, which also gauged voter attitudes over abortion and offshore oil drilling, shows that Obama's fellow Democrat who will share the Florida ballot with him, Bill Nelson, is in much better shape. Nearly half of Florida voters favor his job performance and a plurality say he should be re-elected over a generic Republican rival.

But that doesn't mean Nelson's re-election will be a cakewalk against Republican rivals Mike Haridopolos, Mike McCallister, Adam Hasner or George LeMieux (none of whom was named in the poll).

Nelson can't crack the 50 percent mark. And his lead over a generic rival is just 4 percentage points (43-39). Still, unlike Obama and Republican Gov. Rick Scott, Nelson is favored by a bigger percentage of the electorate than (47) than disfavor him (26). Only Republican Sen. Marco Rubio does marginally better than Nelson. The same percentage approve of him, but 23 percent disapprove.

Obama's numbers took a blow more than a year ago when the economy showed little signs of improving and the phrase "ObamaCare" become such a slur that Democrats complained when reporters used the word to describe the affordable health care act.

Intriguingly, the poll finds that the word "reform" is toxic to the healthcare law. When asked if the "healthcare law" should be repealed, 49 percent say yes (41 percent want it to stand). When asked if the "healthcare REFORM law" should be repealed, 54 percent say yes (40 percent say let it stand).

Afghanistan is also weighing on the president. A clear majority of Floridians -- 59 percent -- oppose the war there. Only 36 percent support it. Voters are split on Obama's handling of Libya.

A bigger percentage of the electorate (52) percent dislike Obama's job performance compared to 48 percent who disapprove of Gov. Scott's job performance. Unlike Scott, though, more Florida voters personally favor Obama (70 percent) than Scott (40 percent).

But Scott isn't on the 2012 ballot. Obama is. He has a problem with male voters who approve of him by a 38-58 split and among the group that swing elections in the most important swing state: independent voters who approve of him by a 39-55 split.

The poll shows that Nelson is disliked by a far smaller percentage of Republicans than Obama. Nelson seems out of step on one of his signature issues -- opposing offshore oil drilling. The poll found that 60 percent of Floridians support expanded offshore oil exploration; 35 percent oppose.

Voters are almost evenly split on support for nuclear power, but fewer want it in their backyards. The poll shows 58 percent oppose building a new nuke plant in their city, while 39 support it.

Voters have a nuanced stance on the abortion debate. They overwhelmingly back the Roe V. Wade ruling (65 percent) and say it should be legal in most or all cases (58 percent), but a slight majority (51 percent) supports Republican-led legislation requiring women to get a sonogram before receiving an abortion.

The numbers in a nutshell:

47% approve, 26% percent disapprove
43% Nelson, 39% generic Republican
43% deserves 2nd term, 35% needs to leave office
44% approve, 52% percent disapprove
38% Obama, 41% generic Republican
42% deserves 2nd term, 51% needs to leave office

[Last modified: Thursday, April 7, 2011 9:01am]


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