TALLAHASSEE — President Barack Obama has some work to do with Florida voters if he hopes to win the state's 29 electoral votes next year, a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows.
Slightly more than half of registered voters said they disapprove of the job Obama is doing and that he doesn't deserve a second term, according to a random telephone survey of 1,499 registered voters March 29 to April 4.
While 52 percent of Florida voters disapprove of Obama's job performance, 44 percent approve, the poll found. Only 42 percent favor a second Obama term, compared to 51 percent who do not.
The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points, also shows any unnamed Republican challenger would be in a dead heat with the president.
But there was a bit of a silver lining for Obama, pollster Peter Brown noted.
"Despite questions about his policies, the president is personally popular with Floridians," Brown said, noting that 70 percent responded they like Obama personally, a figure that included 30 percent who disagree with Obama's policies. Obama carried Florida in 2008 by nearly 250,000 votes over Republican John McCain.
However, voters were split on whether they approved of Obama's handling of the situation in Libya, with 46 percent each in support and opposed.
Obama has announced his intention to seek re-election. Several Republicans are considering a run, including Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who is coming to Tallahassee for a meeting with GOP lawmakers Thursday evening at the Capitol. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has already made that trip while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination in 2008 and now has his own TV show, lives in Florida.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who is seeking a third term in 2012, fared better than the president. Forty-seven percent said they approved of Nelson's job performance, compared to 26 percent who disapproved. Forty-three percent said Nelson deserved a third term.
Three in five voters told Quinnipiac they favored increased drilling for offshore oil and natural gas, compared to 35 percent who were opposed. Republicans and independents supported offshore drilling by better than a 5-to-1 margin while Democrats were opposed 58 percent to 38 percent.
Voters were almost evenly divided on building new nuclear plants in Florida, but they opposed building them in their community, 56 percent to 39 percent.
Nearly half of those questioned by Quinnipiac, 49 percent, said they favored repealing the health car law passed by Congress last year. Forty-one percent were opposed to its repeal.