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Poll finds Florida voters down on leaders, political choices, especially Marco Rubio

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Florida voters are dissatisfied with their political leaders and national candidates, and profoundly unhappy with Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, a new Gravis Marketing poll shows.

The survey found Florida voters showing high dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama, presumed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

But Florida’s two former presidential candidates? Much worse.

In the poll, Florida voters — who propelled Rubio from long-shot to U.S. Senate stardom in 2010 and then abandoned him in the March 15 Florida primary — now have an almost unprecedented low opinion of him. Only 20 percent said they approved of his job performance while 56 percent said they disapproved.

Some of that could be attributed to the hammering Rubio took from Trump and others during the campaign, charging that he was neglecting his Senate duties. But Bush drew no such charges; he fared only slightly better than Rubio.

Bush dropped out before the Florida primary. That may have been a good thing. The Gravis poll found that 28 percent of Florida voters said they have favorable opinions of him, while 53 percent said they have unfavorable views.

Winter Springs-based Gravis conducted the poll of 2,542 registered Florida voters last Tuesday and Wednesday. The firm said the survey was conducted using automated telephone calls and weighted by anticipated voting demographics, and Gravis claimed a 2 percent margin of error.

Polling like that may justify Rubio’s steadfast position that he would not jump back into the U.S. Senate race this year even though the Republican field is scrambled with no clear front-runners; or that he has no intention of being Trump’s vice presidential running mate; or of running for governor in 2018.

Bush also appears to be done with elected politics.

The same, obviously, is not true of Trump or Clinton, who head toward their parties’ conventions also holding low approvals among Florida voters.

Obama, by contrast, may be showing a little rebound: 46 percent of Florida voters said they disapprove of his job performance in the Gravis poll. But he broke even: 46 percent stated that they approve.

Trump drew a 38 percent favorable rating among Florida voters and a 54 percent unfavorable rating.

Clinton drew a 40 percent favorable rating and a 52 percent unfavorable rating.

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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