Polls Show Obama at Risk in Florida
President Obama, who carried vote-rich Florida by three points in 2008, is deeply vulnerable in the crucial state in 2012, according to new polling data released early Thursday by Quinnipiac University.
Quinnipiac conducted two polls -- one prior to the Obama administration's deal with Congress to raise the federal debt ceiling and slash government spending and the other immediately after. In the poll conducted during the heat of the negotiations over the debt ceiling, Obama led former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by five points, 46 to 41 percent. In the poll conducted Monday and Tuesday -- after the deal was struck but as Congress was voting on it -- the two candidates were tied at 44 percent. The difference between the two surveys is within the margin of error.
Romney comes closer than any other 2012 GOP hopeful. Obama leads Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., (50-36 percent before, 50-38 percent after); Texas Gov. Rick Perry (49-36 percent before, 44-39 percent after); and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (54-33 percent before, 53-34 percent after).
Romney leads the Republican primary, garnering 23 percent of the vote. Perry is second at 13 percent, with Palin and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, each earning 9 percent. Notably, Jon Huntsman, the former U.S. Ambassador to China and Utah governor whose campaign is headquartered in Orlando, brings up the rear at one percent.
Although Obama leads the other Republican candidates (and possible candidates), the poll underscores his vulnerability in the Sunshine State. In late May, Obama had a 51-percent approval rating in the state, buoyed by the killing of Osama bin Laden. In the poll conducted after the debt deal was struck, 51 percent of Florida voters disapproved of the job Obama was doing as president. Just 44 percent approved of Obama in each of the new surveys.
Florida voters are split on whether Obama deserves to be re-elected. Before the debt deal, 47 percent said they felt he deserved re-election, but in the poll following the deal, just 42 percent agreed, while 50 percent said he didn't deserve re-election.
Florida takes on even more importance in the upcoming election. The number of electoral votes the state will award will increase from 27 to 29 as a result of reapportionment following the decennial Census. That ties New York as the third-largest state in the Electoral College -- and easily the largest swing state up for grabs.