As One of the Least Popular Senators in the Country, Rubio Would Face a Tough General Election

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s new Florida poll finds that Marco Rubio remains quite unpopular in the state in the wake of his unsuccessful Presidential bid, and that voters aren’t interested in seeing him run for the Senate this year.

Only 32% of voters in the state approve of the job Rubio is doing as Senator, to 54% who disapprove. Those numbers make him one of the least popular Senators in the country. Even among Republicans his numbers are barely positive at 51/37 and he does very poorly with both independents (25/54) and Democrats (18/70). Only 39% of voters in the state want him to run for reelection this year, compared to 51% who say he should sit it out.

If Rubio did decide to run, he would face a tough contest. He trails Patrick Murphy 44-43 in a hypothetical match up, and that comes despite Murphy currently having only 38% name recognition (20% favorable, 18% unfavorable). Among voters who are actually familiar with both Murphy and Rubio, Murphy’s advantage widens to 22 points at 57/35. Murphy would start out as a wider favorite over Carlos Beruff (43/31) and David Jolly (44/29).

We also tested Alan Grayson against the Republican candidates, and he does on average 6 points worse than Murphy. He trails Rubio 43/38, while leading Jolly (40/33) and Beruff (41/32) by more modest margins.

The Presidential race in Florida looks like a toss up. Donald Trump’s at 41% to 40% for Hillary Clinton, with Gary Johnson at 4% and Jill Stein at 2%. In a head to head match up, Trump leads Clinton 45/44. What’s interesting about that is Clinton actually leads 45/34 with independents. But Trump has the slight overall edge because his 83/9 advantage with Republicans is a good deal better than the 77/14 one Clinton has with Democrats. If she can get the party unified around her after officially clinching the nomination she should have a slight edge in Florida, but for now Sanders supporters are showing some reluctance.

Florida’s a rare place where we actually don’t find Sanders doing much better than Clinton in general election polling. He ties Trump at 40%, with Johnson at 5% and Stein at 1%. Sanders does have a 46/43 advantage over Trump when it comes to a one on one contest.

Bill Nelson as ever remains Florida’s most popular politician. 46% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 30% who disapprove. Rick Scott continues to be unpopular, with only 38% of voters approving of him to 47% who disapprove. But Rubio’s newfound unpopularity at least has absolved Scott of his long standing least popular politician in the state status.

Full results here

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