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Florida: McCain Back Out Front 46% to 43%

John McCain has recaptured the lead over Barack Obama in Florida, besting his Democratic opponent 46% to 43% in the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of voters in the state.

Counting “leaners,” McCain attracts 48% of the voter while Obama earns 46%. That advantage for McCain is well within the poll’s margin of sampling error. Full demographic crosstabs are available for Premium Members. T ime is running out to save on Premium Memberships. Sign up now and save. Learn More .

While Obama remains close in the polls, he is viewed unfavorably by 48% of Florida voters, including 57% of white voters. Just 49% of all voters give the Democrat a favorable assessment. McCain is viewed favorably by 61% of Florida voters and unfavorably by 36%.

Last month, Obama held a statistically insignificant one-point lead on McCain following a month where Obama spent a reported $5 million on television advertising while McCain spent nothing. That was the first time Obama had held an advantage of any kind over McCain in the Sunshine State. For the previous six months the Republican had been ahead anywhere from seven to 16 percentage points.

McCain regained sizable ground among unaffiliated voters in the new survey. After trailing among unaffiliateds by 23% in July, he has now drawn even with Obama among those voters. McCain earns the vote from 86% of Republicans while 78% of Democrats say they’ll vote for Obama.

Nationally, the race between Obama and McCain remains very close in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.

As he does nationally, Obama leads McCain among women voters. In Florida, he has a 52% to 41% advantage, roughly comparable to last month. McCain has an even larger spread among men, 51% to 33%. That represents a sizable gain since July.

Florida has been carried by the Republican presidential candidates in eight out of the last 10 elections, most notably in 2000 when it took a month to determine that George W. Bush was the winner. In 2004, Bush easily defeated Democrat John W. Kerry 52% to 47% in the Sunshine State. The closeness of the 2000 race, however, has given Florida the reputation of being a so-called swing state.

McCain’s ability to stay competitive in the race with the younger and more charismatic Obama is credited in large part to his championing of offshore oil drilling as one way to offset high gas and oil prices. The majority of voters in Florida, a state which is directly impacted by his position, favor lifting the congressional ban on such drilling. So do most voters nationwide.

Rasmussen Markets data currently gives McCain a % chance of winning Florida’s 27 Electoral College votes in November. At the time this poll was released, Florida was rated as “Leans Republican” in the Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power Calculator. NOTE: Factors other than the latest Rasmussen Reports poll impact the Balance of Power ratings. The current status is indicated on the table in the upper righthand corner of this article.

A plurality of Florida voters (42%) rank economic issues as the most important in the current election cycle, down from 49% in July. For 26%, national security issues are the most important, an increase of seven percentage points in a month.

For the second month in a row, 57% favor drilling for oil off the coast of Florida while 29% are opposed. The latter number is down from 32% in July. Sixty percent (60%) say it is at least somewhat likely that Congress will approve offshore drilling in the next year, but 30% believe that is not likely to happen.

As for the price at the pump, 69% say gas is not likely to drop below $3 a gallon this year, but the identical number (69%) say it isn’t going above $5 a gallon either by the end of December.

Most Florida voters (73%) say television is their primary source for information on hurricanes and other storms, followed by 22% who rely on the Internet and 4% who say radio. Nearly half (48%) say emergency services are now better prepared for these storms, too, while only two percent think they are less prepared. Forty-five percent (45%) say the preparation is about the same as always.

Fifty-two percent (52%) say the state’s schools are getting worse, with only 13% saying they are improving and 27% saying there has been no change.

Still, half of the state’s voters (50%) rate Republican Governor Charlie Crist’s job performance as good or excellent, while only 10% give him poor marks. Seventy-nine percent (79%) expect the governor’s recent marriage to make no difference in his governing.

For the second month running, President Bush’s job performance gets good or excellent marks from 35% and is rated poor by 48%. Nationally, he continues to earn very low performance ratings.

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Florida

Latest RR Poll

RR Poll Avg.

McCain (R)

50%

49%

Obama (D)

49%

49%

This telephone survey of 700 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports August 18, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology.


Florida Trends: McCain vs. Obama

Date

McCain

Obama

11/02/2008

50%

49%

10/26/2008

47%

51%

10/19/2008

49%

48%

10/12/2008

46%

51%

10/08/2008

47%

50%

10/05/2008

45%

52%

09/28/2008

47%

47%

09/24/2008

48%

47%

09/21/2008

51%

46%

09/14/2008

49%

44%

09/07/2008

48%

48%

08/18/2008

46%

43%

07/22/2008

45%

46%

06/26/2008

48%

41%

06/18/2008

47%

39%

05/19/2008

50%

40%

04/10/2008

53%

38%

03/12/2008

47%

43%

02/16/2008

53%

37%


Favorable Ratings for Presidential Candidates in Florida

 

McCain

Obama

Very Favorable

38%

43%

Somewhat Favorable

22%

9%

Somewhat Unfavorable

19%

12%

Very Unfavorable

20%

36%

Not Sure

1%

1%


Rasmussen Reports - Electoral College Balance of Power Summary

Republicans

160

Democrats

173

Toss-Ups & Leaners

205


About Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.