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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Q poll: Florida voters don't like Rubio's handling of immigration but his approval rating remains steady



Quinnipiac University poll:

Florida voters give Sen. Marco Rubio negative ratings for his work on immigration reform and strongly disagree with his vote in the U.S. Senate against requiring background checks for those buying guns, but they still give him an overall 51 – 35 percent job approval rating. Sen. Bill Nelson also has a 51 percent approval rating.

In trial heats for the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton would defeat Jeb Bush 50 – 43 percent and best Rubio 53 – 41 percent. Bush would get 47 percent against Joe Biden’s 43 percent. Rubio gets 45 percent to Biden’s 43 percent.

Rubio’s approval rating is little changed from his 48 – 33 percent approval March 20, although on individual issues voters are not as enamored with the state’s junior senator:

  • Voters disapprove 41 – 33 percent of the way Rubio is handling the immigration issue.
  • Voters say 49 – 10 percent they think less favorably of Rubio because of his vote against expanded background checks.

Rubio's problem on immigration isn't with Republicans, however. Fifty-two percent of Republicans support him on immigration. Only 19 percent of Democrats approve and 32 percent of independents. Among Hispanics, 36 percent approve and 39 percent disapprove. That suggests voters are associating Rubio with the tougher border security and enforcement aspects of the legislation.

Background checks are “strongly” supported by 73 percent of voters, including 63 percent of voters in houses with guns, while 14 percent of all voters support them “somewhat.”

“A mark of an able politician is one who can keep his support among the electorate even when that politician follows his own path rather than the public’s preference on a high-profile issue like immigration or gun control,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “As perhaps the best-known Hispanic-American in national politics Sen. Marco Rubio has a tightrope to walk between keeping the folks back home happy and serving as a high-profile symbol for the GOP nationally."

Illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S., with a path to citizenship, 58 percent of Florida voters say, while 12 percent say they should be allowed to stay, with no path to citizenship, and 24 percent say they should be deported. Supporting a path to citizenship are 54 percent of white voters, 66 percent of black voters and 69 percent of Hispanic voters.

From June 11 – 16, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,176 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 6:52am]


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