Sen. Marco Rubio is very bad at standing in front of human voters and saying words. It's his biggest weakness. He sweated his career away when he responded to the 2013 State of the Union address, flunked out of the 2016 Republican presidential primary for robotically repeating the same phrases, and, just this month, was intellectually outclassed by teenagers during a CNN debate about guns, school safety, and the overpowering influence of the National Rifle Association.
Student Cameron Kasky asks Marco Rubio whether he will pledge not to take any more NRA money pic.twitter.com/kJi1Tot2YT— Axios (@axios) February 22, 2018
After the mass shooting in Parkland, a new Quinnipiac poll shows Rubio's approval rating is in the toilet: He's sitting at a -15 percent net approval among Florida voters, the university's well-respected polling agency reports.
According to Quinnipiac, 53 percent of Florida voters disapprove of Rubio's job performance, compared to 38 percent who approve and 9 percent who said they didn't know enough to answer. Quinnipiac has been taking stock of Rubio's approval rating since he entered the Senate in 2011, and this is his lowest approval rating. It's also the first time more than half of those polled said they didn't like him.
And really, what's there to like? Democrats hate every fiber of his being, but he's also relatively unpopular amid the far-right Breitbart/Steve Bannon/conspiratorial loon crowd, which hates him for the few centrist stances he's taken in his short career. (Breitbart is still needlessly howling at him for trying to give amnesty to undocumented immigrants in 2013, for example.)
"Republicans and white men are the only listed party, gender, education, age, or racial groups to approve," Quinnipiac wrote yesterday. "Sen. Rubio's approval rating among Republicans is a lackluster 65-24 percent. Disapproval is 49-44 percent among white voters, 63-28 percent among black voters, and 66-27 percent among Hispanic voters."
In the meantime, Florida governor and deep-sea tube worm Rick Scott's approval rating hit an all-time high this week, 49 percent, despite the fact that he too is as much of a lying sellout as Rubio. Fellow Sen. Bill Nelson's approval rating sits at 48 percent, which is generally standard for the centrist Democrat.
But running for president put a target on Rubio's back, and now the public appears to have realized that Marco does not care about anyone or anything except Marco. He spent all of 2017 transparently fighting for the interests of his corporate donors, including the Obamacare-hating health-insurance industry ($2.5 million in donations), the net-neutrality-hating cable companies that want to sell your web data to advertisers ($156,000 in donations), and the nation's generally wealthy class of 1 percenters, who received gobs of money from the tax cut that Rubio helped ram through Congress last year.
But no ordeal has quite exposed the bland, flavorless, pulpy nothing that is Rubiodom than the Parkland shooting. Mere hours after Nikolas Cruz went on his rampage, people began tweeting angry missives at Florida's junior senator, noting he'd taken more than $3.3 million in campaign donations from the NRA, the lobbying organization that has trampled the gun-control debate since the 1970s, especially since gun-rights extremist Wayne LaPierre became NRA vice president in 1991.
Q-Poll for Florida is good news for Democrats:— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) February 27, 2018
Sen. Bill Nelson leads Gov. Rick Scott 46-42% in hypothetical matchup.
Scott's net approval is 9% but Nelson is +24% and Rubio underwater at -15% while Trump is -12%
Generic gov race: Dem leads Rep 45-37%
Rubio seemingly thought he could fight his way through a week of bad press, which was a miscalculation for the ages. He showed up at CNN's town hall on gun violence in
Once the cameras started rolling, Rubio tried to convince the parents of dead children that a semiautomatic-weapons ban wouldn't have saved any Parkland students and would be generally impossible in 2018 America. This being Broward, perhaps the most staunchly, pro-establishment Democrat county in America, Rubio was booed to high heaven. By the end of the
I don’t know what y’all can hear on TV but wooooooo Rubio made a bad choice— Ryan Yousefi (@Rizzmigizz) February 22, 2018
Of course, the real moment that seemed to end things for Rubio came midway through the debate, when Parkland survivor and hall-of-fame Twitter user Cameron Kasky asked the senator, to his face, whether he'd quit taking NRA donations.
Father who lost his daughter in the Parkland shooting presses Marco Rubio on assault weapons ban pic.twitter.com/8PE9pzJAZe— Axios (@axios) February 22, 2018
"The positions I hold on these issues of the Second Amendment I've held since the day I entered office in the city of West Miami as an elected official," Rubio replied. "People buy into my agenda, and I do support the Second Amendment."
"In the name of 17 people, you cannot ask the NRA to keep their money out of your campaign?" Kasky asked.
"I think in the name of 17 people, I can pledge to you that I will support any law that will prevent a killer like this from getting a gun," Rubio replied.
In other words: No.