By Ashley Lopez
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting
The big takeaway for Florida from a recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling is news that some Republican congressmen in the state might face a tough re-election battle come 2014, thanks to the government shutdown.
However, the poll didn’t just find that Floridians are moving away from congressional Republicans, they also aren’t keen on Sen. Marco Rubio’s immigration stance or George Zimmerman—but they are in support of a medical marijuana initiative. According to Public Policy Polling (PPP),
PPP’s newest Florida poll finds that voters in the state continue to be closely divided in their feelings about Marco Rubio. 43% approve of him to 45% who disapprove, numbers pretty similar to the 44/43 spread we found for him in March. Rubio has dropped over the longer term though- last September we found him with a 51/33 approval.
Floridians say they support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants by a 48/35 margin. Nevertheless only 21% of voters in the state say they agree with Rubio’s stance on immigration, compared to 41% who they disagree. His problem on that issue is that both voters who support a path to citizenship (23/41) and ones who are opposed to a path to citizenship (19/51) both say that they disagree with Rubio on immigration. So basically he’s not pleasing either side on the issue.
Rubio holds narrow leads in a pair of hypothetical reelection match ups, up 45/42 on Alex Sink and 46/43 on Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Republicans would certainly be better off with him running again than they would with Allen West though, who indicated last week that he would be interested in a 2016 Senate bid. West trails Sink 44/38 and Wasserman Schultz 44/40 in head to heads.
This isn’t entirely new for Rubio. Polling from this past summer showed that many Floridians didn’t like Rubio’s mixed positions on immigration. For one, he has advocated for a path to citizenship, which does have public support, but he backed some less popular ideas, like an amendment that would require immigrants to be proficient in English before obtaining permanent residency status and holding back reform unless the Senate bill included tighter border security.
That June poll, like the PPP poll, also found 41 percent of Floridians didn’t like how Rubio was handling immigration reform, which has been all but eclipsed by the federal government shutdown and looming debt ceiling fight.
The recent PPP has good news for a campaign to get a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot for 2014. This year the campaign has gotten some big financial and political backing, which boded well for what has been a struggling effort in the past several years. According to PPP:
A medical marijuana initiative that could be on the ballot next year has overwhelming support with Floridians – 62% say they would support it to only 26% who are opposed. There is a bipartisan consensus on the issue with independents (74/17) and Democrats (68/20) supporting it overwhelmingly and even Republicans (46/41) doing so by a narrow margin.
Not surprisingly, however, George Zimmerman still doesn’t have a lot of public support. The PPP found:
Florida voters don’t like George Zimmerman, giving him a 20/47 favorability rating. But they also agree with the verdict in his trial with 47% saying it was right for him to be found not guilty, compared to 37% who think he should have been convicted. Even with his continued bad press in the aftermath of the trial Republican voters express a favorable opinion of Zimmerman (30/24) while Democrats (11/67) and independents (24/41) strongly dislike him.
Zimmerman hasn’t stayed out of the news since he was acquitted of second degree murder charges this summer for the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. Since then, Zimmerman has been gotten two speeding tickets and was most recently was pulled over for dark tints on his car. His wife also called the cops on him during a domestic dispute that got violent.