Yes, I said two – Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are mere sideshow distractions from what is really going on.
And what is really going on is that the latest Quinnipiac University Florida poll shows Obama having a comfortable lead over both former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney (49% to 42%) and former U.S. Sen. from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum (50% to 37%).
The poll also included Ohio and Pennsylvania – Santorum’s home turf – both considered to be crucial swing states. And things – somewhat surprisingly – don’t get any better for the “only true conservative left in this race” (or something like that) at home. Or in Ohio. Did I mention Florida?
“President Barack Obama is on a roll in the key swing states. If the election were today, he would carry at least two states. And if history repeats itself, that means he would be re- elected,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
“But the election is not today. It is seven months away. Two months ago President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney were in a statistical tie in Ohio and Florida,” Brown added.
The big story is Florida women, who favor Obama big time over Romney or Santorum. Actually, in all three key states, women back the President over Romney or Santorum by 6% to 19%. Men are split right down the middle.
Romney is losing ground to Obama in Florida poll
For Romney, he still struggles with is favorables, although he still has undecideds to woo. In the Sunshine State, he polled at 41% “favorable,” 36% “unfavorable” and 19% “haven’t heard enough.”
Santorum’s numbers are much worse, although he has much more room to grow: 28% “favorable,” 39% “unfavorable” and 30% “haven’t heard enough.”
Compared to Obama – 51% “favorable,” 44% “unfavorable” and 2% “haven’t heard enough” – both men have a long way to goo in this department. As for Obama’s job approval ratings, 50% of Florida voters say he deserves to be re-elected.
“The biggest reason for the president’s improving prospects probably is the economy. Roughly 6-in-10 voters in all three states think the economy is recovering. Moreover, voters blame the oil companies and oil-producing countries for the rise in gasoline prices and only about one in six voters blame them on President Obama,” says Brown.
Let’s break down the oil price blame game: oil companies are most to blame (32%), oil-producing countries are to blame (23%); Obama is to blame (18%), supply and demand is to blame (16%). Florida voters also oppose (54%-36%) releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to curb rising gas prices.
All of that helps Obama, who is aggressively firing back at the GOP on the oil issue, going forward.
A recent Florida poll shows that Rick Santorum has no chance in the state
In terms of issues, this is how important Florida voters see a candidate’s positions on them: economy (90%), unemployment (81%), 2010 health care law (78%), federal budget deficit (76%), war in Afghanistan (67%), gas prices (66%), immigration (55%), women’s reproductive health issues (48%),
and abortion/gay marriage (39%).
However, voters say that Romney would do a better job versus Obama when it comes to handling the economy 48% to 45%. Santorum? Obama crushes him.
Oh, and how did Gov. Rick Scott do in the polling? Florida voters still disapprove of the job he is doing (52%-36%), which, as the poll summary points out, continues his “year-long streak of negative ratings.”
From March 20 – 26, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,228 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent; Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and nationwide as a public service and for research. For individual statewide crosstabs and trends visit – http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x2881.xml or call (203) 582-5201.
By: Mark Christopher/Sunshine Slate
Lead photo: Barack Obama stopped in Terre Haute, IN, on Sept 6, 2008. He talked to Wabash Valley voters at the fairgrounds (photo: BeckyF)