Perry Leads Romney in Fla.; Obama's Approval Rating Crashes
Florida Republicans prefer Texas Gov. Rick Perry to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll conducted ahead of Thursday's debate and this weekend's Presidency V straw poll in Orlando.
Perry leads Romney, 28 percent to 22 percent, according to the poll, reversing a ten-point Romney advantage from early August, before Perry formally declared his candidacy. When Republicans were asked to choose just between the two frontrunners, Perry increases his lead to eight points, 46 percent to 38 percent.
But in general election matchups against President Obama, Romney runs stronger: He leads Obama, 47 percent to 40 percent, while Perry trails the president, 44 percent to 42 percent. Among independents, Romney beats Obama by nine points, but Obama bests Perry by six.
Obama's approval rating in the state continues to slide, falling below 40 percent. Now, just 39 percent of all Florida voters approve of the job Obama is doing, while 57 percent disapprove. In early August, Obama's approval rating in the state stood at 44 percent.
A majority of voters now feel that Obama does not deserve to be re-elected, his worst score on that measure. Only 41 percent of voters feel he does deserve to be re-elected, including just 39 percent of independents.
But while Romney runs stronger against Obama, Florida Republicans favor Perry. In the two-way matchup, Perry leads by 14 points among men and 1 point among women. Among Republicans who describe themselves as part of the Tea Party, Perry leads by 20 points.
The poll also shows that while Perry's comments about Social Security -- comparing it to a "Ponzi scheme" -- are a liability in the general election, Florida Republicans are unlikely to punish him in the primary. Just a third of voters think it is fair to describe the Social Security system as a Ponzi scheme, while 58 percent think it is unfair. But a slim, 52-percent majority of Republicans think it is fair.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted Sept. 14-19, surveying 1,007 registered voters, for a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. The Republican primary questions are among 374 respondents, with a margin of error of +/- 5.1 percent.