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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

New poll shows strong support for medical marijuana in Florida, but Senate race still up for grabs

Florida's crowded U.S. Senate field still has no clear favorite, but there is no doubting where the majority of voters stand on medical marijuana, a new poll released Wednesday morning shows.

More than 80 percent say they will support an amendment on the November ballot to allow marijuana for medical reasons. Only 16 percent said they opposed the issue.

Where voters stand on the U.S. Senate race in Florida is much more muddled. The Quinnipiac University poll of 1,051 Florida voters showed that Democrat Patrick Murphy, a two-term Congressman from Palm Beach County, has a clear advantage over three of the five potential Republicans in the race. But a race against two other Republicans would be too close to call.

If U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson were the Democratic nominee, any of the matchups against the Republicans would be too close to call, according to the poll conducted from April 27 to May 8.

"The Florida U.S. Senate race is wide open with none of the seven candidates particularly well-known to voters,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll. 
Murphy would beat Manatee County homebuilder Carlos Beruff by a 38 to 32 margin. It's a similar margin over former CIA officer Todd Wilcox. Murphy beats him 38-33. And against Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Murphy holds a 38-34 lead. A matchup against either U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores, or U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, would be a different story. Those matchups would be too close to call, according to the poll. Murphy edges DeSantis 36 to 35 percent and tops Jolly 37 to 34 percent.

The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Meanwhile, any match up with U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, would result in a race too close to call. Grayson edges Beruff 36 to 35 percent and is tied with Lopez-Cantera at 37 percent. But against the other three, Grayson trails by 2 percentage points to each.

In each of the matchups, the more than one out of four voters said they still don't know who they would pick, wouldn't vote or did not answer.

Among other findings in the poll:

-51 percent of those polled said they approved of President Barack Obama's decision to nominate Merrick Garland for the U.S. Supreme Court. The poll showed 33 percent did not approve. And 54 percent said the U.S. Senate should consider Garland's nomination, while 40 percent said no.

-Only 40 percent of Floridians said they approve of the job Gov. Rick Scott is doing, while 49 percent disapprove.

-And, 48 percent approve of the job Obama is doing, with 50 percent disapproving.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 6:14am]


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