Obama Plummets in Florida Poll

As the GOP presidential candidates prepare for tonight’s debate in Florida, a new Quinnipiac poll today shows Barack Obama’s approval cratering with voters in the Sunshine state while Texas Governor Rick Perry surges to a sizable lead in the GOP field. The Perry folks shouldn’t be popping champagne corks, however, as Mitt Romney continues to fare better against Obama at this juncture.

Whether it’s in a crowded field or one-on-one, Rick Perry is the man to beat in the party’s race for the White House, a new poll shows.

The Texas governor leads rival Mitt Romney by 9 percentage points in the crowded race for president, according to the survey from Quinnipiac University that also found Perry would best Romney if Sarah Palin hopped in the race or if the contest was a simple head-to-head matchup. The other seven candidates poll in the single digits.

Somewhat surprisingly, Romney’s attacks on Perry for calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” don’t appear to be gaining much traction in Florida as more than half the Republicans polled say that’s a fair description of the enetitlement.

Romney enjoys a sizable lead on Obama while Perry is in a statistical dead heat.

Romney’s relative weakness in the eyes of Republican voters — that is, his perceived moderation — would be a strength in a matchup against President Obama, whom the former Massachusetts governor  bests by a 47-40 percent spread thanks to the support of independent voters.

Perry is statistically tied with Obama, who earned his lowest job approval rating ever in a Quinnipiac poll. Only 39 percent approve of the way Obama’s doing his job, while 57 percent disapprove. More than half of voters say Obama does not deserve a second term. Only 41 percent say he should be re-elected.

Obama is almost certainly doomed if he can’t compete in this most important of swing states. Since August, both Perry and Romney have gained on or surpassed Obama.

In possible 2012 presidential matchups, Romney tops the president 47 – 40 percent while Perry gets 42 percent to Obama’s 44 percent, a dead heat. In the August 4 Florida poll, Romney and Obama were deadlocked 44 – 44 percent while the president led Perry 44 – 39 percent.

Also in Perry’s favor is if Sarah Palin stays out of the race more of her voters will move to Perry, who is also favored by self-described Tea Party voters. Without Palin, Perry leads Romney by nine points.

Meanwhile, Obama’s Florida disapproval is at 57%, with only 39% approving. That approval number is down 25 points from early 2009, five points in the past month and 12 points since May, a bleak indicator of his re-election chances. Only 41% of Florida voter believe Obama deserves re-election while 53% says he does not. Obama won Florida in 2008 with 50.9% of the vote.

What should further spook Team Obama is the sample of respondents to the poll had only 29% GOP, with 32% Democrat and 33% independents (results are contained in a Word file at the bottom of the Q-poll link).

As to tonight’s debate, it seems now would be the right time for moderators to begin asking questions relating to current events. The Obama scandals surrounding Solyndra, LightSquare and Fast and Furious would appear to be a good starting point. American’s are still largely in the dark on these burgeoning scandals thanks in large part to a near media blackout, especially with the gun-running fiasco.

It’s time American’s heard the reaction of the candidates to these issues.