Rubio Remains Unpopular; Gun Issues Could Cause Trouble in Senate Bid

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest Florida poll provides a prism into the difficulty gun issues could cause Senate Republicans this fall- especially Marco Rubio if he decides to run for reelection to his seat.

Rubio remains very unpopular in Florida- only 30% of voters approve of him to 49% who disapprove of the job he’s doing. Among critical independent voters he’s even more unpopular than he is with the electorate as a whole- a 26/55 spread. Rubio trails Patrick Murphy 42/41 in a hypothetical match up. That one point deficit is the same as we found when we polled Florida last week. That previous survey also found that among voters familiar with both Rubio and Murphy, Murphy held a 57/35 advantage. Alan Grayson trails Rubio 42/40 this week, on the heels of trailing Rubio 43/38 on the previous survey.

The reason for polling Florida again though is to find out where voters in the state are on gun control measures in the wake of Sunday’s shooting in Orlando, and how those issues might affect Rubio in a possible Senate bid this fall:

-93% of voters in the state support requiring a criminal background check to buy a firearm, compared to only 5% opposed to that. That concept has support from 97% of independents, 92% of Republicans, and 91% of Democrats.

-83% of voters in the state support barring those on the Terror Watch List from buying a gun, to only 11% who are opposed to making that change in the law. 85% of Democrats, 84% of independents, and 80% of Republicans are in favor of that.

Given the strong bipartisan mandate for these measures, we also asked how opposing them might impact a potential Senate candidate. 74% of voters say they’re less likely to vote for a Senate candidate opposed to barring people on the Terror Watch List from buying a firearm, to only 14% who say they’d be more likely to vote for such a candidate. And 64% are less likely to vote for a candidate opposed to requiring criminal background checks to buy a gun, to only 21% who say they’d be more likely to vote for such a candidate. Those numbers show what dicey issues these could be for Republicans in key Senate races.

At the end of the poll we did a simple informed horse race, after telling respondents that Rubio has opposed barring people on the Terror Watch List from buying firearms and that he’s opposed requiring criminal background checks for those wanting to buy firearms. Murphy’s initial 42/41 lead over Rubio ballooned all the way up to 47/32 based on his position on those gun issues. Those numbers are a pretty strong indicator that this year might be different when it comes to gun issues and the election if Congress once again fails to act.

Full results here


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