The 2012 election is still 17 months away, but the latest numbers from Quinnipiac show hopeful news for Democrats for the first time in month. President Barack Obama's approval ratings are back above 50 percent in Florida since 2009, and more Floridians say they would definitely vote for him than a generic Republican challenger. Meanwhile, incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson still holds huge advantages over all his Republican challengers.
In the first poll taking in Florida since the death of Osama bin Laden, 51 percent of Floridians say they approve of the way Obama is handling his job; 43 disapprove. That's up for a 44-52 split back in April. The president remains especially popular in South Florida where his approval rating is 62 percent. Even amongst independents his approval ratings are back above water at 47-45.
Forty-four percent of Floridians say they'd vote for Obama if the election was held today, while only 37 percent say they'd vote for a Republican. That's up from 41 percent who say they'd vote Republican, and 38 percent who say they'd vote for Obama back in April. Meanwhile, 50 percent say they feel Obama deserves to be reelected.
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In the senate race, the Republican primary is still a big question-mark with 64 percent of registered Republican undecided. Fourteen percent say they'd vote for George LeMieux. Thirteen percent would cast their ballot for Mike Haridopolis. Though, Bill Nelson would beat LeMieux 47-27, and Haridopolis 47-26 if the election was held today.
Nelson also has higher approval ratings now than Republican senator Marco Rubio for the first time since Rubio took office. Fifty-one percent approve of Nelson's job handling, while 49 percent approve of Rubio's.
Granted, these numbers may not mean much in 17 months (if anything, they're a reminder of how quickly public opinion can change), but they are encouraging signs for Democrats.