Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Quinnipiac: Romney opens up 6% lead in Florida

A new Quinnipiac survey has some very good news for Mitt Romney in Florida.

Romney leads Barack Obama, 47%-41%, in a head-to-head matchup, and adding Marco Rubio to the ticket would grow his lead to 49%-41%.

Here are the key internals of Obama vs. Romney:

a. That awful number for Obama.

He's the incumbent and only 41% choose him. That's an awful number. He needs to be much closer to 50%, but instead, he's hovering near the 40% mark.

b. Indies for Mitt.

Romney is up with the unaligned, 44%-36%, and now has a better favorability rating with the group than Obama.

Mitt's fav with non-affiliated voters is +7%, while Obama's is -7%.

That's a 14% gap.

c. Rubio helps with Hispanics.

A Romney-Rubio ticket leads Obama-Biden among Hispanics, 45%-39%, while a straight up Romney vs. Obama matchup has the POTUS up 2% with Hispanics.

So Marco gives Mitt an 8% boost with the key demo (Here's the obligatory caveat than Florida Hispanics tend to be much more Republican than national Hispanics, so this isn't evidence of some huge surge for Romney with the key demo).

Also, note this: Rubio's job approval rating is +20%. He's at +22% with men and +17% with women. That ain't bad.

Even better for Rubio -- his approval rating is 54%/27%, and he polls awfully high with nearly every demographic, including independents (+27%), women (+20%) and Hispanics (+26%).

d. Gender gap favors Romney.

This is another surprising result. Women split their support (45%-44% for Obama), while men pick Mitt, 50%-37%.

In other words, Florida women don't seem to be buying the hyped "war on women", which was always a Democratic talking point and -- where a gender gap exists -- merely a reflection of a long partisan divide between men and women that has nothing to do with current political circumstances.

e. Romney's favorability rating is higher.

Here's a big one. Mitt's fav rating is 44%/35% for +9%; whereas, Obama's is 45%/50% for -5%.

That means that Romney has a net rating that's 14% higher than Obama's -- a troubling finding for a president who's banking on higher favorability to overcome his bad job approval numbers.

Having said that, the president's likability rating (+55%) is much higher than Mitt's (+28%), although that's a strong enough number for Romney to win this thing.

f. Mitt leads on the economy.

Romney's bread-and-butter issue turns out to be his bread-and-butter, indeed, as he leads Obama on the economy, 50%-40%.

Even women prefer Mitt narrowly here, 42%-40%.

g. Same-sex marriage is unpopular.

Another internal that nods in Romney's direction. 50% oppose same-sex marriage, while only 40% support it.

BUT.... interestingly enough, voters think Obama would do a better job on the issue by +19%. I'm not sure how to square that with the first result, except that voters could interpret it as "who would do a better job recognizing it?"

Polling is tough on gay marriage, but 48% say it's extremely, very, or somewhat important in their vote for president, while 49% say it isn't.

Critically, independents say Obama's support for same-sex marriage makes them 23% less likely to support him, while only 9% more likely.

h. Trend.

Just two months ago, Obama led by 7% in the state. That's a 13% swing in two months. Is this just an ephemeral boost for Romney?

Possibly, but Mitt's improvement makes sense in the context of the primary's conclusion, and that's scary for Obama, since there won't be a GOP primary to divide the party in the fall.