President Barack Obama is losing support among Florida voters, especially among independents, a poll released Thursday shows.
Fifty percent of voters surveyed randomly by landline telephone between July 27-Aug. 2 by Quinnipiac (Conn.) University said Obama would not deserve a second term in the election were held today. However, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the only announced Republican candidate with enough support in the poll to give the president a strong challenge. Both men were favored by 44 percent of those questioned.
In a matchup against Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is expected to get into the race for the GOP presidential nomination, Obama was favored 44 percent to 39 percent.
However, Obama held double-digit leads over all other Republican presidential hopefuls.
Romney, an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination in 2008, led Perry 23 percent to 13 percent in a sampling of 510 Republican voters with none of the other announced candidates reaching double digits.
"Gov. Perry's stock is rising even before he announces whether he'll run," said Peter Brown, assistant director for Quinnipiac's polling institute.
The margin of error in the survey of 1,417 voters that ended Tuesday was plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.
And while 50 percent of those surveyed said they approved of the debt ceiling deal, only 2 percent said they were enthusiastic about the settlement compared to 18 percent who registered as angry, including nearly a fourth _ 23 percent _ of independents.
It was with independents where Obama took his biggest hit. Sixty-one percent of independents said they now disapprove of the president's performance compared to 33 percent who approved. In May, 47 percent of the independents approved of Obama's job performance compared to 45 percent who did not.
Obama wasn't helped by the recent fight with Congress over raising the nation's debt ceiling, the poll indicated.
The president's popularity dipped slightly in Quinnipiac's survey of 743 voters after the long, acrimonious battle on the debt ceiling. His negative rating increased from 50 percent to 51 percent despite most respondents, 36 percent, saying he acted in their best interests during the lengthy debate compared to 32 percent for Republican House Speaker John Boehner and 12 percent for Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Overall, 42 percent said the president deserves re-election.
Obama's job approval rating in Florida was 44 percent compared to 51 percent who disapproved, a drop from a 51-43 favorable rating he enjoyed in a May survey by Quinnipiac shortly after U.S. Navy SEALs killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.