President Barack Obama's approval rating is 51 percent in Florida, a spike of 7 percentage points after the killing of Osama bin Laden, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.
"Whether these numbers represent a 'bin Laden bounce,' President Barack Obama's popularity is up in Florida, which will be a crucial state for him in the 2012 campaign," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The poll is the latest sign that Republicans could face a far different political landscape in Florida than in 2010, when they won every statewide office and picked up four U.S. House seats.
In addition to Obama's numbers, his highest in Florida since June 2009, the poll shows a long road for Republicans hoping to replace Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
Nelson holds leads of between 20 to 25 points over three hypothetical contenders: former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, Senate President Mike Haridopolos and former state Rep. Adam Hasner.
The Republican primary matchup between those three is wide open, the poll shows.
Most Republican voters, 64 percent, say they are undecided 15 months from the primary.
Of those who have decided, 14 percent back LeMieux; 13 percent support Haridopolos, and 4 percent are for Hasner.
Brown, the pollster, noted that while Nelson appears to be in good shape, he does not win 50 percent against any of the three. That's a "magic threshold" that Brown said signals an incumbent will be difficult to beat.
"His strength apparently lies in voter satisfaction with his performance in office," Brown said.
Nelson's approval rating is 51 percent, including 39 percent among Republicans. That compares to his Republican colleague from Florida, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who has a 49 percent approval rating, including 28 percent among Democrats.
Other results from the poll:
• 42 percent disapprove of Gov. Rick Scott both as a person and most of his policies.
• 61 percent support more offshore drilling.
• 57 percent say the United States should not be involved in Libya; 56 percent say the United States shouldn't be in Afghanistan.
• 49 percent say Congress should repeal the health insurance law.
Michael C. Bender can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelCBender.