Recent Florida Poll Doesn’t Look Good for State’s Favorite Sons

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Democrat-aligned Public Policy Polling group released the results of a poll of Florida voters earlier this week.  When Republican respondents were asked who they would support in the GOP primary, the results were as follows:

  • Jeb Bush: 25%
  • Scott Walker: 17%
  • Marco Rubio: 15%
  • Ben Carson: 12%
  • Mike Huckabee: 7%
  • Ted Cruz: 6%
  • Chris Christie: 4%
  • Rand Paul: 4%
  • Rick Perry: 3%

However, more interesting than the overall results was the voter response to the question: “Do you think Jeb Bush should run for President, or not?” Thirty-seven percent of those asked said that Jeb should run for President, while 52 percent said he should not. Similarly, only 35 percent of those surveyed felt that Marco Rubio should run, with 51 percent opposed. Additionally, Jeb Bush has seen his numbers drop by five points since the last PPP poll, while Scott Walker has seen an increase of ten points.

However, as Frank notes, this type of polling doesn’t measure a candidate’s true viability. Based on his metric (taking the percentage with a positive view and subtracting from it the negative view percentage to obtain the net favorability), the results of this poll are as follows:

  • Ben Carson: +13 net favorability, 49% not sure
  • Scott Walker: +5 net favorability, 39% not sure
  • Jeb Bush: +3 net favorability, 13% not sure
  • Mike Huckabee: +1 net favorability, 23% not sure
  • Rick Perry: -3 net favorability, 27% not sure
  • Rand Paul: -5 net favorability, 25% not sure
  • Ted Cruz: -7 net favorability, 33% not sure
  • Chris Christie: -18 net favorability, 25% not sure

The poll’s coverage of Rubio’s favorability was limited to a job approval poll that showed 45 percent approving of his job versus 40 percent disapproving.

Based on Frank’s metric, the clear winners of this poll are Ben Carson and Scott Walker, as they start with a base of support and have a much higher potential for improvement than the other candidates. By that same metric, Chris Christie would have to overcome an immense amount of negativity in order to have a shot with Florida’s Republican voters, and, while it’s early, that doesn’t seem realistic. Jeb Bush doesn’t have a lot of room for improvement, as he is already a polarizing figure in Florida after having served as Governor. Moving forward, Walker and Carson need to act carefully in order to capitalize on their potential.

Joshua Pinho works for American Principles in Action.