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Q Poll: Nelson approval so-so; voters split on Obama

Posted Feb 3, 2011 by William March

Updated Feb 3, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Facing a possibly tough re-election fight, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida has so-so approval ratings from Florida voters, according to a new poll—pluralities approve his job performance and say he deserves to be re-elected, but he doesn’t reach 50 percent on either measure.

Nelson’s job approval ratings were 45 percent favorable, 21 percent unfavorable and the rest “don’t know” or other answers, and voters said by 43 percent to 33 percent that he deserves to be re-elected in the new poll by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. Asked whether they’d vote for him against a generic, unnamed Republican candidate, 41 percent said yes and 36 percent said no.

Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown called Nelson’s numbers “mixed ... not in terrific shape, but not in terrible shape either.”

Calling for the poll, which has a 2.9-point error margin, was done before Nelson’s high-profile vote against repealing the national health care reform bill, which hasn’t been popular in Florida. Florida Republicans, for whom unseating Nelson is their top 2012 priority after the presidential race, have targeted him over the vote.

On President Barack Obama’s job performance, 47 percent approved and 49 percent disapproved, which Brown called a split decision because the difference is less than the error margin. By a narrow plurality, 48 percent-45 percent, voters said they wouldn’t re-elect Obama.

New Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, got a 42-20 percent job approval-disapproval rating.

Check the full results here.