Politics & Government

Florida voters give Obama mixed reviews in latest poll

President Barack Obama receives middling reviews in a new Mason-Dixon poll of Florida voters, six months before they cast ballots in a high-stakes election widely viewed as a referendum on the Democratic administration.

Statewide, 47 percent rate his job performance as "excellent" or "good," while 53 percent describe it as "fair" or "poor," according to the poll.

Obama visited Florida for the fourth time last month.

The nation's largest swing state is facing a massive changing of the guard in 2010, with the governor's office, all three Cabinet seats and a U.S. Senate seat up for grabs. The leading Republican candidates for Senate and governor, former House Speaker Marco Rubio and Attorney General Bill McCollum, are grounding their campaigns in criticism of the president's economic and health care policies.

The May 3-5 survey of 625 voters has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Obama is most popular in Southeast Florida, where he receives high marks from 61 percent of the voters. He is viewed favorably by a majority of African Americans, Democrats, voters under 35 and women. In contrast, 85 percent of Republicans and a majority of Hispanics, seniors and men rate him negatively.

Florida voters aren't enthusiastic about two issues on the president's agenda: immigration and Wall Street reform.

Only 39 percent favor legislation that would allow illegal immigrants to earn citizenship, while 45 percent are opposed and 15 percent are undecided. Hispanic voters back immigration reform by 63 percent.

The immigration numbers suggest Rubio -- who has assailed the legislation considered by Congress in 2006 as "amnesty" -- is on the right side of the issue. His two major rivals, Gov. Charlie Crist and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami, supported immigration reform.

To read the complete article, visit www.miamiherald.com.

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