Round-up of stories about Florida and the 2012 presidential campaign (8/5)

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President Barack Obama is losing support among Florida voters, especially among independents, a poll released Thursday shows.
Fifty percent of voters surveyed randomly by landline telephone between July 27-Aug. 2 by Quinnipiac (Conn.) University said Obama would not deserve a second term in the election were held today. However, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the only announced Republican candidate with enough support in the poll to give the president a strong challenge. Both men were favored by 44 percent of those questioned.
In a matchup against Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is expected to get into the race for the GOP presidential nomination, Obama was favored 44 percent to 39 percent.
The GOP candidate for president has pulled even with President Obama in the pivotal swing state of Florida, according to a poll released today by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
A series of polls from the university suggests the scaled-down deal to cut spending and restore the nation’s ability to borrow more money damaged the president politically. In a poll done last week, the president held a 46 percent to 41 percent lead over the former Massachusetts governor. After congressional leaders and the White House reached the deal, which cuts almost $1 trillion in spending over 10 years immediately and at least $1.2 trillion by next year, Obama’s disapproval rating ticked up to 51 percent — it was 43 in a poll conducted in May. And he was tied with Romney, 44-44, among prospective voters in the 2012 presidential race.
Most Floridians say President Barack Obama doesn’t deserve a second term following an emotional debate over the national debt ceiling, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday.
The survey also showed Mitt Romney leading the pack of GOP presidential candidates in Florida and depicted a wide-open Republican U.S. Senate primary as Plant City tree farmer Mike McCalister held a slim lead.
With a firm commitment from former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, the American Conservative Union now has pledges from all nine major Republican presidential candidates to address the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando next month.
Though Huntsman’s camp was planning for him to speak, the official word did not come down from the ACU until earlier today, when the Washington-based conservative organization announced him as a speaker at the Sept. 23 conference at the Orange County Convention Center.
A blistering internal feud in the Jon Huntsman presidential campaign is erupting into public view, with dueling camps trading charges and an exodus of campaign officials.
And now, a longtime family friend tells POLITICO that Huntsman’s wife and father fret that his presidential prospects have been threatened by the turmoil — and he places the blame on John Weaver, Huntsman’s controversial chief strategist.
As the RNC struggles to keep states from leap-frogging over one another and blowing up their carefully laid presidential nominating calendar, don’t look for Mitt Romney be wringing his hands over calendar scoflaws. Look at some of the states talking busting the national party’s directive not to schedule any contest before March 6: Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Romney well ahead in Florida
Tim Pawlenty was in Tampa earlier this week. Jon Huntsman has put his campaign headquarters in Orlando. And Rick Perry has a friendship with Gov. Rick Scott.
But it is clear they are all still chasing Mitt Romney in the Republican Presidential Primary race according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll. Romney is still the number one choice of Florida Republicans and he does best against President Barack Obama in a head-to-head matchup.
A majority of Florida voters (51%) don’t approve of the way Obama is doing his job, the new poll finds, slightly higher than before the debt-ceiling deal was announced.
“President Barack Obama’s numbers in the key swing state of Florida have gone south in the last two months. The debt ceiling deal is not making any difference in that decline,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.