May 06, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Jeb Bush trails early in Iowa

@PatriciaMazzei

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a still-undeclared candidate, trails other Republicans in the early 2016 presidential field in Iowa, a new poll has found.

The survey by Quinnipiac University found Bush in seventh place, far behind his rivals, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker holds a 21-percent lead among GOP caucus-goers, ahead of Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (13 percent), Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (12 percent), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (11 percent), retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (11 percent) and Bush (5 percent).

When asked which candidate they would not vote for, 25 percent of respondents said Bush, and 20 percent said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Rubio drew the highest favorability rating, with 69 percent of respondents saying they have a favorable opinion of him, compared to 9 percent who don't.

"The first few months of the Iowa Republican caucus race show Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the early leader," assistant pol director Peter Brown said in a statement. "U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, on the strength of an impressive candidacy roll out, has moved from the bottom of the pack into a tie for second."

With the candidate field still in flux, and Bush yet to make his candidacy official, a poll this early in the campaign means relatively little. It does underscore, however, that Iowa may not be the most natural fit for Bush. He has long been viewed as a stronger player in New Hampshire, for example, and Nevada, two early-primary states where an electorate less focused on social issues might be more receptive to Bush's brand of conservatism.

May 05, 2015

NYT/CBS poll: Republicans like Marco Rubio -- and Jeb Bush's experience

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio continue to fare well in early national polls about the 2016 presidential race, with a new New York Times/CBS News survey showing them consistently among the most popular contenders among Republicans.

Forty-eight percent of Republican respondents said they would consider voting for Rubio, compared to 47 percent for newly announced candidate Mike Huckabee and 46 percent for Bush Seventeen percent said they would not vote for Rubio, which is lower than Huckabee's 26 percent and Bush's 23 percent. 

Fifty-one percent of Republicans called Rubio's views on issues "about right." Bush's number was very close, 49 percent. The poll's error margin is three percentage points.

More importantly for Bush, the former Florida governor, 73 percent of Republican voters in the poll said they want a candidate with experience outside Washington D.C. And when asked about candidates having the "right" kind of experience, Bush's numbers were 59-24 percent, compared to Rubio's 44-24 percent.

Our usual caveat: It's very early for polls to mean much in a race still so many months away. They merely offer a glimpse at how a candidate (or undeclared candidate, in Bush's case) is doing for now, when most people are not yet following the fledgling campaign.

May 04, 2015

WSJ/NBC poll: Jeb Bush leads 2016 GOP field, but Marco Rubio is catching up, has broader support

@PatriciaMazzei

Hey, Miami: Are you ready to have two hometown Republicans leading the pack of 2016 presidential contenders?

It might already be happening, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush remains the leading GOP candidate in the poll, with 23 percent of respondents listing him as his first choice, compared to 18 percent for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. But a wider swath of voters -- 74 percent compared to Bush's 70 percent -- say they could see themselves voting for Rubio, the poll found. Its error margin is 6.19 percent.

Rubio got a big boost from his April campaign launch (Bush has yet to make his official), and the large Republican field is still very much in flux. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they could see themselves voting for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is also not a formal candidate, and the poll included seven other GOP hopefuls. All Republicans trail Democrat Hillary Clinton, with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky faring best against her.

For all those reasons, Rubio's camp has been quick to dismiss his strong showings in other polls. But the survey is still good news for him as he fund-raises across the country to keep up with Bush, who has a head start and established political-donor network.

April 23, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Marco Rubio bumps ahead of Jeb Bush, competitive with Hillary Clinton

via @learyreports

Marco Rubio leads the GOP field in a new national poll and runs best against Hillary Clinton, a big shot for his campaign that's just over a week into effect.

Rubio takes 15 percent of the GOP primary vote, according to the Quinnipiac poll, with Jeb Bush earning 13 percent and Scott Walker 11 percent. No other candidate tops 9 percent and 14 percent remain undecided.

Clinton naturally blows away any Democratic competition and other Republicans, except 43-year-old Rubio. In a general election matchup, Clinton gets 45 percent of American voters to 43 percent for Rubio. That's better than other Republicans, including Bush whom Clinton leads 46-39.

“The youngest member of the GOP presidential posse moves to the front of the pack to challenge Hillary Clinton whose position in her own party appears rock solid,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “This is the kind of survey that shoots adrenalin into a campaign. Marco Rubio gets strong enough numbers and favorability ratings to look like a legit threat to Hillary Clinton.”

Bush tops the “no way” list as 17 percent of Republican voters say they would definitely not support him.Chris Christie is next with 16 percent, with 10 percent for Rand Paul.

From April 16 – 21, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,353 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones. The survey includes 567 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points and 569 Democrats with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points.

After the news got out, Rubio's campaign manager, Terry Sullivan, remarked on Twitter that polls this early "don't matter." That's true but it's also likely Rubio's campaign knows what comes with the additional attention: more media scrutiny and more overt shots from Republicans.

At the least, the poll would seemingly validate feeling among Rubio's camp that he had a strong rollout and that Clinton's campaign announcement a day before Rubio's did not eat into his national news attention.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

April 06, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Jeff Atwater leads early Florida Senate field, though few voters know potential candidates

@PatriciaMazzei

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater tops the early field of possible 2016 U.S. Senate candidates in Florida, according to a new poll, though the four potential contenders in the survey are still largely unknown to voters. A tough race is expected if Republican Sen. Marco Rubio announces next week that he's running for president.

The Republican Atwater bests Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter, the only declared candidate in the race so far, by 38-34 percent, the new Quinnipiac University poll found. Atwater also leads Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando 42-32 percent.

Murphy holds a 35-31 percent lead over Republican Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. Lopez-Cantera's advantage over Grayson, 33-32 percent, is essentially a tie, given the poll's 3 percent error margin.

A key figure: all of them have a high proportion of voters -- 58 percent or more -- who said they don't know enough about the politicians to form an opinion. Quinnipiac did not survey primary-election match-ups.

"If U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio runs for president, the fight for his Senate seat will be a test of relatively unknown candidates on both sides of the aisle," Peter A. Brown, the poll's assistant director, said in a statement. "Florida's Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater has a small edge in exposure to the voters, but we have a long way to go. Whoever wins will be the candidate who does the best job introducing themselves to the voters."

The poll also found that voters continue to disapprove of Republican Gov. Rick Scott's job performance by 49-42 percent. Rubio has a higher approval rating (54-35 percent) than his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Bill Nelson (45-30 percent).

Quinnipiac also found 84 percent of respondents favor legalizing medical marijuana, compared to 14 percent who oppose it. A constitutional amendment to that effect failed despite garnering nearly 58 percent support because it failed to meet the state's 60-percent amendment threshold. A new amendment is in the works for the 2016 ballot, with a different wording than what the pollsters used in their survey, making an apples-to-apples comparison impossible.

According to the poll, outright marijuana legalization -- not just for medical uses -- is supported 55-42 percent.

April 02, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Jeb Bush's lead over other likely GOP candidates shrinks in Florida

@PatriciaMazzei

Former Gov. Jeb Bush is still the favorite 2016 presidential candidate among Florida Republicans, a new poll says, but he has lost some ground since February.

Bush tops the GOP field at 24 percent, down from 32 percent on Feb. 4, the public-opinion survey by Quinnipiac University found. Rounding out the top three are Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 15 percent and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 12 percent.

Bush would benefit from Walker stays out of the race, the poll indicates, while Rubio would be the beneficiary if Bush doesn't run.

In two other swing states -- Ohio and Pennsylvania -- Bush's popularity is in the single digits. In Ohio, he's tied for third at 8 percent, compared to 10 percent in February. In Pennsylvania, Bush is tied for second place at 9 percent, down from Bush's 12 percent last month.

Bush "can't be happy with his numbers today," Peter A. Brown, the poll's assistant director, said in a statement. "Bush has a lead over the field in his home state of Florida, but it's not anywhere near insurmountable."

By contrast, on the Democratic side, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is far and away the favorite in Florida. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they would vote for her in a primary, followed by Vice President Joe Biden at 11 percent and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 7 percent. Warren has said she's not running, and Biden isn't expected to challenge Clinton.

Only one candidate on either side of the political aisle -- Cruz -- has officially announced he's running, so it's early in the race for polls to mean much. The key constituency for now is deep-pocketed donors who can help a contender amass enough money to launch a serious campaign. Much of the Republican establishment in that demographic has gravitated toward Bush; results from Quinnipiac released earlier this week suggest he is the strongest general-election candidate against Clinton in Florida.

April 01, 2015

Public Policy Polling survey: Republican voters think well of Marco Rubio

@PatriciaMazzei

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is well-positioned to do well as a potential Republican presidential contender if another candidate stumbles because GOP voters view him so favorably, according to a new poll.

The Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found that Rubio had the highest approval rating -- 55-22 percent -- of the nine politicians featured in its survey. In contrast, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's rating was 39-37 percent. But Rubio is not most voters' first choice, which is why the pollsters said he could benefit if a competitor has a setback.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who became the first Republican to formally declare his candidacy last week, has seen a surge in popularity in the past month, according to the poll results. But the leading hopeful in the crowded Republican field remains Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, with 20 percent support, which is down from last month's 25 percent. Bush is in second place at 17 percent; Rubio's tied for sixth at 6 percent. The polls error margin is 4.7 percentage points.

Poll: Support growing among Cuban Americans for new U.S.-Cuba policy

via @HeraldMimi

A new national poll of Cuban Americans shows that their support for the White House's new Cuba policy has grown in the three months since the historic announcement, and now 51 percent say they support the effort to begin normalizing relations with Cuba.

Forty percent said they disagreed with the new policy and 9 percent didn’t respond or said they didn’t know, according to the poll by Bendixen & Amandi International.

Cuban Americans living outside Florida have embraced the new policy much more than those residing in the Sunshine State, according to the poll. Attitudes also diverge between older Cuban Americans born on the island and younger generations.

Forty-nine percent of Cuban Americans living in Florida said they disagreed with the effort to normalize relations while 41 percent said they agreed. However, 69 percent of Cuban Americans living outside the exile stronghold of Florida said they agreed with the new policy.

The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points, will be unveiled Wednesday in New York at the sold-out Cuba Opportunity Summit, a conference for senior level business executives interested in exploring business opportunities in Cuba.

Bendixen & Amandi International polled 400 Cuban Americans 18 and older March 20-25 in English or Spanish on their attitudes toward the new policy. It includes renewing diplomatic relations with Cuba, allowing more Americans to travel to the island, raising remittance levels, cooperating with Cuba on areas of mutual interest such as environmental protection, and increased commercial ties even as the U.S. trade embargo against the island remains in place.

More here.

Quinnipiac poll: President Obama's job approval dips in Florida

@PatriciaMazzei

Florida voters continued to give President Obama negative marks in a new public-opinion poll that has also found most respondents favor some sort of deal on Iran's nuclear program.

Obama's popularity, known as his job-approval rating, is 41 percent in Florida, with 55 percent disapproving of the Democratic president, according to the survey by Quinnipiac University published Wednesday. Last time the organization asked that question, in February, Obama was doing slightly better, with 46 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval.

The latest poll, which has an error margin of 3 percentage points, also found that 61 percent of Florida respondents would like to change direction from Obama's policies, compared to 32 percent who would like to continue them.

"President Barack Obama gets lousy grades for his job performance, although they are not quite as low as they have been at times in his second term," Peter A. Brown, the poll's assistant director, said in a statement. "More damning is that about five in eight voters say they want the new president to take the country in a different direction."

Despite their disapproval of Obama, Florida voters said -- by 63-26 percent -- that they would back an agreement with Iran to lift sanctions against the country in return for restrictions on its nuclear program. The Obama administration is in negotiations that have stretched past a self-imposed March 31 deadline.

Last month, 47 Republican U.S. senators sent Iranian leaders a letter warning that a deal with Obama might not be backed by the GOP-controlled Congress. Wednesday's poll found a majority of Florida voters found the letter to be unhelpful, by 55-38 percent (that's a wider negative margin than Obama's approval rating). The split was largely partisan, with Democrats and independents in opposition and Republicans in support.

Still, half of Florida voters opined the letter won't have an impact on the White House's efforts, and they support, by 65-23 percent, legislation making any Iran deal subject to congressional approval.

March 31, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Hillary Clinton less popular than she used to be in Florida

@PatriciaMazzei

Hillary Clinton remains a formidable presidential candidate in Florida, but the Democrat's popularity has dropped in the nation's largest swing state after a controversy over her email use as U.S. secretary of state, a new poll found.

The public-opinion survey, by Quinnipiac University, found former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush edges Clinton 45-42 in a potential match-up -- essentially a tie, given the poll's error margin of 3 percentage points. Clinton tops Florida Sen. Marco Rubio 46-44, also a tie. Both Bush and Rubio are Republicans.

A single poll's results matter little this early in the 2016 presidential race -- so early that Bush, Clinton and Rubio have not even declared their candidacies. But each politician's popularity trend is noteworthy, and that's where Clinton is struggling a bit. The last Quinnipiac poll, released Feb. 3, showed Clinton topping Bush 44-43 and Rubio 49-39.

Since then, more Florida voters have learned about Clinton's exclusive use of private email as secretary of state. She deleted the emails from her personal server after turning over to the State Department the ones she and her staff deemed pertinent.

When asked if Clinton is honest and trustworthy, 50 percent of poll respondents said no, compared to 41 percent who said yes. Fifty-one percent called Clinton's email troubles very or somewhat important to their presidential choice, with 38 percent saying it would affect their vote and 56 percent saying it would not.

"The good news for Hillary Clinton is that the e-mail controversy has not done huge violence to her presidential chances. But the matter is taking a toll on the former secretary of state's public image," Peter A. Brown, the poll's assistant director, said in a statement.

Clinton is viewed favorably by 49 percent of respondents and negatively by 46 percent. That rating has fallen from 53-39 percent in February. Bush's is 47-42 percent, compared to 46-38 percent last month. 

Quinnipiac also surveyed two other crucial swing states. Clinton tops Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul 46-41 percent in Ohio, and Paul edges Clinton 45-44 percent in Pennsylvania. Paul has not yet announced his candidacy, either.

This post has been updated.