President Obama faces an uphill battle in electoral-vote-rich Florida, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released early on Wednesday that shows that a majority of Sunshine State voters feel he does not deserve to be reelected.
Obama's approval rating in Florida is upside down: Just 42 percent of voters approve of the way he is handling his job as president, while 54 percent disapprove. That is unchanged from the previous Quinnipiac poll, conducted in late November and early December.
Asked whether they feel he deserves to be reelected, just 44 percent of voters say that he does, while 52 percent think he does not. That measure, too, is virtually unchanged from a month ago. While independents are split—49 percent feel he deserves to be reelected and 48 percent do not—Republicans are more united in their opposition to a second Obama term than Democrats are in supporting him. Ninety-three percent of Republicans do not feel Obama deserves to be reelected, while 83 percent of Democrats feel that he does.
Notably, the poll surveyed slightly more Republicans (32 percent of the total sample) than Democrats (29 percent), according to Quinnipiac. In the 2010 midterm elections, the percentages of Republicans (36 percent) and Democrats (36 percent) were equal, according to exit polls. In the 2008 election, exit polls showed Democrats with a three-point edge in party identification over Republicans.
As he has for the past three months, Obama trails former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the battle for the state's 29 electoral votes by a 3-percent margin, 46 percent to 43 percent. Obama is lagging in the poll despite an eight-point lead among independent voters.
Romney enjoys an increasingly positive image among Florida voters, the poll shows. Forty-seven percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Romney, while 29 percent say they have an unfavorable opinion. That is up from a 39-percent favorable rating last month in Quinnipiac's polling.
Obama also runs neck-and-neck with former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., leading the late-charging Iowa caucus sensation by just two points, 45 percent to 43 percent.
Results of the poll released on Monday showed Romney leading former House Speaker Newt Gingrich among likely voters in Florida's Jan. 31 Republican presidential primary.
The Quinnipiac poll was conducted Jan. 4-8, surveying 1,412 registered voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.