U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio could provide the juice needed for the Republican presidential candidate to win Florida, according to a new poll by Suffolk University. But if President Barack Obama adds Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to his ticket, that advantage in Florida dissolves.
"In Florida, Marco Rubio is superman, but Hillary Clinton is kryptonite,'' said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Boston's Suffolk University.
The live poll of 800 registered voters in Florida Oct. 26-30 found that with Rubio on the ticket the Republican presidential nominee would secure 46 percent to Obama's 41 percent in Florida. Voters seemed to be unfazed by Rubio's bad press over his muddied story of his family's arrival to the U.S. from Cuba, which emerged just before the poll was conducted last week.
But, the poll shows, without Rubio in the mix, Obama tied Mitt Romney at 42 percent and leads all other contenders: Herman Cain - 42 percent to 39 percent, Rick Perry - 46 percent to 39 percent, Ron Paul - 44 percent to 32 percent and Newt Gingrich 45 percent to 38 percent.
Because Rubio, a former House speaker and state legislator from Miami, polled well among Hispanic voters and younger voters, Paleologos said he believes that Rubio could also lend the Republican candidate strength in the western states of New Mexico, Texas, California, Arizona and Nevada which have high Hispanic populations.
Meanwhile, Obama's job approval continues to be mired in the dumps in Florida. Of those surveyed, 50 percent approve of the job he's doing but 41 percent disapprove.
But if Obama were to dump Vice President Joe Biden as running mate and replace him with Hillary Clinton, who has a favorability rating of 64 percent in Florida, the president's popularity rises in Florida to 50 percent. Against Rubio and the Republican presidential nominee, an Obama and Clinton ticket also leads at 46 percent to 43 percent with 10 percent undecided.
“It’s ironic that in the 2008 Democratic Primary, Barack Obama had to overthrow Clinton and the more traditional factions of the Democratic Party to win the nomination,” said Paleologos. “Now Clinton has become the quantifiable lifeboat that could save a sinking Democratic ticket in 2012.”
The statewide survey was continued in partnership with WSVN-Miami, 7NEWS, and has a margin of error margin of +/- 3.5 percent. Download FINAL_Florida_Statewide_Marginals_Oct_30_2011