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Florida Chamber poll shows voters bullish on state government, less so on feds

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A new poll released today by the Florida Chamber of Commerce suggests that while voters are growing more confident in the direction the state is going, they still have deep reservations about the federal government’s stewardship.

“Our results show Floridians are more confident in Florida’s economy,” said Marian Johnson, senior vice president of political strategy at the Chamber. “These signs of optimism are good for our economy, for our families and for our small businesses. Despite the gridlock in Washington DC, this poll shows Florida is increasingly confident that Florida is moving in the right direction. As Governor (Rick) Scott says, ‘It’s working,’ and the voters agree.”

Among the major findings of the study, which was conducted via telephone interviews of 802 likely Florida voters from February 18-23:

Florida’s Right/Wrong Direction:

  • 46 percent of voters say Florida is heading in the right direction, compared to 32 percent who say the wrong direction. This is a strong increase over October 2014, when polling data showed 43 percent to 38 percent respectively.

Congressional/Presidential Approval Rating:

  • 70 percent of Florida voters disapprove of the job Congress is doing, while President Obama’s job approval rating remains upside down at 47 percent approve compared to 51 percent who disapprove.

Possible Presidential Candidates:

  • Jeb Bush’s favorability rating remains positive at 52 percent favorable compared to 33 percent unfavorable.
  • Marco Rubio’s favorability rating is positive at 42 percent favorable and 36 percent unfavorable.
  • Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating is within the margin of error with 48 percent favorable to 47 percent unfavorable.

Head-to-Head Primary Matchups:

President:

  • Jeb Bush earns 32 percent, followed by Scott Walker at 18 percent and Marco Rubio at 10 percent.
  • Jeb Bush vs. Marco Rubio only: Bush earns 51 percent to Rubio’s 35 percent.

U. S. Senate:

  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz earns 42 percent, Alan Grayson is at 8 percent, with Gwen Graham and Patrick Murphy tied at 7 percent each.

Other findings from the study: families say they are financially better off today than a year ago:

  • From February to March of 2015, 36 percent said they were better off; 25 percent worse off.
  • From February to March of 2014, 28 percent said they were better off; 36 percent worse off.

Job Approval:

  • Governor Rick Scott – 48 percent approve of the job he’s doing.
  • Florida Legislature – 42 percent approve of the job they’re doing.

Top Issue of Concern:

  • Jobs/Economy – 22 percent,
  • Education – 17 percent,
  • Healthcare – 8 percent, and
  • Immigration – 7 percent.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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