Florida Independents Sour On Obama, Opens Door For Huckabee, Romney And Pawlenty In Sunshine State

President Barack Obama is in trouble in Florida as he begins his re-election campaign.

A new Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll found that only 34 percent of independent voters in Florida — always the key to winning — approve of Obama’s performance, and that either former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee would beat the president in Florida if the election were held today.

“If one of the top-tier Republicans gets the nomination, it will be a real fight for Florida,” said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker.

The April 4-7 telephone poll found Romney slightly leading Huckabee among Republican primary voters, 23 percent to 18 percent. They were trailed by business magnate Donald Trump with 13 percent, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 11, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty with 8.

“It’s going to be a Romney state if Huckabee doesn’t get in,” said Coker, adding that Pawlenty could be a factor if he does well in the earlier states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.

Tallahassee-based Ron Sachs Communications commissioned the poll. Mason-Dixon surveyed 800 registered Florida voters and the margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

For the GOP primary results, the pollster surveyed 400 Republican voters and the margin of error is 5 percentage points.

Overall, 43 percent of voters surveyed approved of Obama’s performance and 56 percent disapproved.

CFP Commentary:

Florida’s 29 electoral votes make the the Sunshine State a must win for the GOP in 2012. If the eventual 2012 GOP presidential nominee does not win Florida, President Obama will win reelection with relative ease. Therefore, whomever wins the 2012 GOP presidential nomination must appeal to the Florida electorate, particularly independents and Hispanics.

Read more from Adam C. Smith at the St. Peterburg Times


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