Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lead their respective party's presidential primaries in the Sunshine State, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Friday.
The state's former governor tops a hypothetical Republican Florida primary with 22%, followed closely by the state's junior senator, Marco Rubio, with 18%. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gets 14%, while Ted Cruz (R-Texas) registers 12%.
But Clinton is the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination in Florida: Clinton tops the Democratic field with 70%, with Vice President Joe Biden in second place with just 9%.
In a head-to-head match-up between Bush and Clinton, though, it's a tough contest. The former governor fares best in the hypothetical face-off, though he trails Clinton by two points, 47% to 45%. Clinton leads Christie by 4 points and tops Rubio by 7 points.
Clinton is also seen as the candidate who would make the best president, according to Florida voters. Fifty-six percent say she would make a good president. That's compared with 45% who say the same about Christie. Voters are nearly split over Bush, who say 46% to 44% that their former governor would make a good president. Rubio, meanwhile, is at a net-negative, with just 39 %saying the first-term senator would make a good president, compared to 47% who say he would not.
But a stumbling block for Clinton--and any Democrat--in Florida could be President Obama's falling approval ratings in the crucial swing state. By a 57%-40% margin, voters say they disapprove of the job the president is doing, tying his all-time low rating in the Quinnipiac poll. Sixteen percent of Florida Democrats even say they disapprove of Obama.
Driving that dissatisaction with the president is the growing frustration with the Affordable Care Act. Fifty-four percent of voters say they oppose the health care reform law, compared to 39% who approve of it.
“When things were going well for President Barack Obama, he enjoyed overwhelming support among women and either tied or was slightly ahead among men. Now the shoe is on the other foot. He’s down 28 percentage points among men and 8 points among women,” said Quinnipiac assistant polling director Peter Brown. “He is losing independents by 30 points and losing by 40 points among white voters. Even one in six Democrats give him a thumbs down. The question for the president is whether he has hit bottom or whether, as happened when President George W. Bush’s numbers reached this neighborhood, there is further downside to come?”
The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,646 registered voters from November 12-17 with a margin of error of +/-2.4 percent. A subsample of 668 Republicans had a margin of error of +/-3.8 percentage points and 554 Democrats had a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points.