April 19, 2010 - McCollum Leads Tight Florida Governor's Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Obama Approval Up As Voters Back Offshore Drilling

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Republican State Attorney General Bill McCollum holds a narrow 40 - 36 percent lead over Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the Democrat, in the race for Florida governor, while Floridians' view of President Barack Obama is up from a 45 - 49 percent negative in January to 50 - 45 percent positive today, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Voters say 54 - 40 percent that it's a "bad idea" for McCollum to file a lawsuit challenging the federal health care overhaul. Voters say 38 - 28 percent, including 41 - 27 percent among independent voters, that it makes them less likely to support his gubernatorial bid, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds.

McCollum easily disposes of the challenge by State Sen. Paula Dockery for the Republican nomination 56 - 7 percent, with 34 percent undecided. Ms. Sink has no challengers for the Democratic nomination.

Voters approve 51 - 25 percent of the job McCollum is doing as Attorney General and give him a 38 - 18 percent favorability rating, with 41 percent who don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

Ms. Sink gets a 39 - 26 percent approval rating for her job as CFO and a 22 - 15 percent favorability rating, with 61 percent who don't know enough about her to form an opinion.

"Attorney General Bill McCollum clings to a slim lead over CFO Alex Sink in the governor's race, a lead he has held since last August. He is better known than she and voters grade him somewhat better for the job he is doing. While most would rather be in his shoes, on the up side of a close race, November is a long way off," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

McCollum's job approval is about the same as Gov. Charlie Crist's, who gets a 49 - 39 percent approval rating.

"Ms. Sink's low voter recognition is a double-edged sword: She has an opportunity to introduce herself to a majority of the electorate, while McCollum has the chance to define her in an unflattering way. The next governor is the one who is most successful in selling his or her version," said Brown.

"While McCollum's approval rating is better than Sink's or Crist's, his threatened lawsuit to void the new federal health care law doesn't sit well with voters, including independents, historically the key voting group.

"Florida voters mostly disapprove of the health care plan 48 - 44 percent, but trying to stop it in court is not a political winner for McCollum, at least at this point," said Brown.

The uptick in President Obama's job approval rating among Florida voters is largely due to his improved standing among independent voters, who give him a narrow 48 - 46 percent approval, reversing a 51 - 44 percent disapproval in January.

One Obama initiative popular with Floridians is his call for offshore oil drilling. Voters approve of offshore drilling in general 66 - 27 percent and approve drilling off the Florida coast 64 - 28 percent.

Support for Obama's proposal to drill off the Florida coast is much greater among Republicans, 79 percent, than it is among Democrats, 53 percent.

From April 8 - 13, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,250 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed - http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

1. (If registered Republican) If the 2010 Republican primary for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Bill McCollum and Paula Dockery, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED REPS..
                     Tot    Men    Wom
McCollum             56%    58%    53%
Dockery               7      7      6
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2      3      2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      2      1
DK/NA                34     29     38
 
TREND: (If registered Republican) If the 2010 Republican primary for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Bill McCollum and Paula Dockery, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED REPUBLICAN
                     Apr 19  Jan 27  Oct 21
                     2010    2010    2009
McCollum             56      44      43
Dockery               7       6       7
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2       1       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2       1       2
DK/NA                34      47      47
 
 
3. If the 2010 election for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Alex Sink the Democrat and Bill McCollum the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Sink                 36%     5%    73%    28%    35%    38%    17%
McCollum             40     83      7     37     43     36     63
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      4      1      1      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      2      1      2      2      2      3
DK/NA                21     10     18     29     19     23     17
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
Sink                 33%    31%    34%    33%    46%
McCollum             40     46     39     43     35
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2      2      2      1      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      4      1      2      1
DK/NA                24     17     24     21     18
 
TREND: If the 2010 election for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Alex Sink the Democrat and Bill McCollum the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Apr 19  Jan 27  Oct 21  Aug 19  Jun 9
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2009
Sink                 36      31      32      34      38
McCollum             40      41      36      38      34
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       -       2       1       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2       2       2       1       2
DK/NA                21      25      27      25      25
 
 
4. If the 2010 election for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Alex Sink the Democrat and Paula Dockery the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Sink                 37%     9%    69%    29%    36%    37%    17%
Dockery              28     59      6     26     31     25     44
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -      2      2      1      2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      2      1      2      2      2      2
DK/NA                32     29     24     40     28     36     35
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
Sink                 31%    37%    32%    34%    45%
Dockery              28     32     28     36     23
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      2      2      2      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3      2      1      2      2
DK/NA                38     27     36     26     30
 
TREND: If the 2010 election for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Alex Sink the Democrat and Paula Dockery the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Apr 19  Jan 27
                     2010    2010
Sink                 37      35
Dockery              28      29
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2       3
DK/NA                32      32
 
 
11. Is your opinion of - Bill McCollum favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Favorable            38%    61%    24%    36%    41%    37%    57%
Unfavorable          18      6     32     16     21     16      9
Hvn't hrd enough     41     32     43     47     37     45     33
REFUSED               2      1      2      1      2      2      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Bill McCollum favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him? (*Attorney General Bill McCollum)
                     Apr 19  Jan 27  Oct 21  Aug 19  Jun 9   Jan 21
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2009    2009*
Favorable            38      35      34      42      40      40
Unfavorable          18      15      14      13      13      14
Hvn't hrd enough     41      48      50      43      46      44
REFUSED               2       2       2       2       2       1
 
 
12. Is your opinion of - Alex Sink favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Favorable            22%    11%    34%    21%    24%    21%    16%
Unfavorable          15     25      5     17     16     14     24
Hvn't hrd enough     61     61     58     61     58     63     57
REFUSED               2      2      2      2      2      2      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Alex Sink favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her? (*Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink)
                     Apr 19  Jan 27  Oct 21  Aug 19  Jun 9   Jan 21  Nov 18
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2009    2009*   2008*
Favorable            22      24      23      23      25      24      27
Unfavorable          15       8       8       8       7       5      13
Hvn't hrd enough     61      68      68      68      66      70      59
REFUSED               2       1       1       1       1       1       1
 
 
13. Is your opinion of - Paula Dockery favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Favorable             9%    10%     9%     8%    10%     8%     9%
Unfavorable           5      7      4      4      7      3      7
Hvn't hrd enough     85     81     87     87     82     88     83
REFUSED               1      2      -      -      1      1      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Paula Dockery favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                     Apr 19  Jan 27  Oct 21
                     2010    2010    2009
Favorable             9       8       5
Unfavorable           5       6       3
Hvn't hrd enough     85      85      91
REFUSED               1       1       1
 
 
14. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Charlie Crist is handling his job as Governor?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Approve              49%    49%    52%    50%    52%    47%    48%
Disapprove           39     42     37     37     39     39     40
DK/NA                12      9     12     13     10     14     13
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
Approve              44%    54%    46%    55%    52%
Disapprove           42     39     43     34     34
DK/NA                14      8     11     11     14
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Charlie Crist is handling his job as Governor? (*High approve also 73% Mar 2007)
                                                     APPROVE.......  DIS....
                                                     High    Low     High
                     Apr 15  Jan 26  Oct 21  Aug 19  Jul 19  Apr 15  Apr 15
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2007*   2010    2010
Approve              49      50      59      60      73      49      49
Disapprove           39      38      31      30      11      39      39
DK/NA                12      12      11       9      16      12      12
 
 
15. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Approve              32%    43%    28%    28%    32%    31%    34%
Disapprove           51     41     56     55     54     48     49
DK/NA                17     16     16     18     13     21     17
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
Approve              25%    33%    30%    39%    34%
Disapprove           54     54     51     42     50
DK/NA                20     13     19     18     16
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job? (*Low approve also 32% Oct 2009 & Apr 2008)
                                                     APPROVE.......  DIS...
                                                     High    Low     High
                     Apr 19  Jan 26  Oct 21  Aug 19  Sep 23  Apr 19  Apr 19
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2004    2010*   2010
Approve              32      36      32      34      51      32      32
Disapprove           51      46      47      47      34      51      51
DK/NA                17      18      21      18      15      17      17
 
 
18. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill McCollum is handling his job as Florida's Attorney General?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Approve              51%    71%    36%    49%    52%    50%    68%
Disapprove           25      9     41     23     26     24     12
DK/NA                24     20     23     28     22     26     20
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
Approve              52%    52%    51%    59%    47%
Disapprove           26     27     25     14     26
DK/NA                22     20     23     27     26
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill McCollum is handling his job as Florida's Attorney General?
                                                              APPROVE.......
                                                              High    Low
                     Apr 19  Jan 27   Oct 21  Aug 19  Jun 9   Jan 27  Oct 24
                     2010    2010     2009    2009    2009    2010    2007
Approve              51      56       53      53      51      56      44
Disapprove           25      20       19      16      16      20      17
DK/NA                24      24       27      31      33      24      39
 
 
19. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Alex Sink is handling her job as Florida's chief financial officer?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Approve              39%    29%    52%    36%    41%    37%    30%
Disapprove           26     34     18     25     26     25     30
DK/NA                35     37     31     38     33     38     40
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
Approve              42%    37%    39%    34%    39%
Disapprove           19     39     23     29     22
DK/NA                38     23     38     36     39
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Alex Sink is handling her job as Florida's Chief Financial Officer? (*High approve also 39% Jan 2010, Feb 2009 and Jun 2009)
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Apr 19  Jan 27  Oct 21  Aug 19  Jun 9   Apr 19  Feb 18
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2009    2010*   2009
Approve              39      39      38      37      39      39      32
Disapprove           26      22      23      21      17      26      22
DK/NA                35      40      39      42      44      35      46
 
 
20. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Approve              50%    10%    86%    48%    48%    51%    26%
Disapprove           45     86     10     46     49     42     68
DK/NA                 5      4      4      6      4      7      6
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                     Apr 19  Jan 26   Oct 21  Aug 20  Jun 10  Apr 16  Feb 19
                     2010    2010     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
Approve              50      45       48      47      58      60      64
Disapprove           45      49       46      48      35      32      23
DK/NA                 5       6        6       5       7       8      13
 
 
24. (If voted for Rubio q2) If you were convinced that Charlie Crist would definitely win the general election in November, but Marco Rubio might not win the general election in November, would that change your vote in the Republican primary for Senator?
                     REGISTERED REPS...
                     VOTED FOR RUBIO Q2
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Yes                  18%    20%    16%
No                   76     77     75
DK/NA                 6      3      9
 
TREND: (If registered Republican and voting for Rubio) If you were convinced that Charlie Crist would definitely win the general election in November, but Marco Rubio might not win the general election in November, would that change your vote in the Republican primary for Senator?
                     REGISTERED REPUBLICANS
                     RUBIO VOTERS..
                     Apr 19  Jan 26
                     2010    2010
Yes                  18      20
No                   76      74
DK/NA                 6       6
 
 
25. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling - health care?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Approve              44%     7%    80%    42%    44%    44%    18%
Disapprove           49     90     13     51     52     47     75
DK/NA                 6      3      7      7      4      8      7
 
 
26. Who do you trust to do a better job handling health care - President Obama or the Republicans in Congress?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Pres Obama           46%     6%    85%    44%    45%    47%    20%
Reps in Congress     34     77      6     29     35     33     55
DK/NA                20     18      9     27     19     20     25
 
TREND: Who do you trust to do a better job handling health care - President Obama or the Republicans in Congress?
                     Apr 19  Aug 20
                     2010    2009
President Obama      46      42
Reps in Congress     34      38
DK/NA                20      20
 
 
27. From what you've heard or read, do you mostly approve or mostly disapprove of the changes to the health care system just passed by Congress?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Mostly approve       44%     7%    79%    42%    42%    46%    15%
Mostly disapprove    48     87     14     47     52     44     75
DK/NA                 8      5      8     11      7     10      9
 
 
28. If your member of the House of Representatives voted for the health care overhaul just passed by Congress, would that make you more likely to vote for him or her in November, less likely, or doesn't it make a difference?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
More likely          26%     4%    49%    22%    27%    25%    10%
Less likely          36     72      7     35     42     31     60
No difference        35     21     43     38     28     40     27
DK/NA                 3      3      2      4      3      4      3
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
More likely          28%    24%    23%    23%    30%
Less likely          39     41     38     42     27
No difference        30     33     37     25     40
DK/NA                 3      2      2      9      3
 
 
29. If your member of the House of Representatives voted against the health care overhaul just passed by Congress, would that make you more likely to vote for him or her in November, less likely, or doesn't it make a difference?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
More likely          31%    63%     8%    29%    34%    28%    52%
Less likely          29      8     51     27     31     28     18
No difference        35     24     39     39     30     40     24
DK/NA                 4      5      2      4      4      3      7
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
More likely          33%    38%    31%    41%    22%
Less likely          33     26     26     23     35
No difference        30     33     40     27     40
DK/NA                 3      3      4      9      3
 
 
30. Does President Obama's handling of health care reform make you think more favorably of him, less favorably, or doesn't it make a difference?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
More favorably       36%     6%    64%    36%    36%    36%    18%
Less favorably       42     83      8     43     46     40     64
No difference        20     10     27     19     18     22     17
DK/NA                 1      1      1      2      1      2      1
 
 
31. Does the Republican party's handling of health care reform make you think more favorably of the party, less favorably, or doesn't it make a difference?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
More favorably       26%    57%     8%    20%    29%    24%    42%
Less favorably       43     16     65     47     46     41     25
No difference        27     23     25     30     23     31     28
DK/NA                 3      4      1      3      2      4      4
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
More favorably       27%    32%    27%    27%    20%
Less favorably       42     39     43     41     48
No difference        30     26     27     22     28
DK/NA                 1      3      3     10      3
 
 
32. Does the Democratic party's handling of health care reform make you think more favorably of the party, less favorably, or doesn't it make a difference?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
More favorably       27%     4%    54%    22%    29%    26%    14%
Less favorably       43     84     12     41     47     40     64
No difference        27     11     32     33     23     31     21
DK/NA                 2      1      2      3      1      3      1
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
More favorably       29%    25%    27%    15%    32%
Less favorably       45     52     43     54     33
No difference        25     22     28     26     32
DK/NA                 1      1      3      5      3
 
 
33. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and attorneys general from several states have said they will sue to block the recently passed health care overhaul plan. Do you think filing a lawsuit to stop the plan from taking effect is a good idea or a bad idea?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Good idea            40%    77%     9%    39%    43%    36%    66%
Bad idea             54     17     88     53     52     56     27
DK/NA                 6      6      2      8      4      8      7
 
 
34. Does Bill McCollum's decision to file a lawsuit to stop the health care overhaul plan from taking effect make you more likely to vote for him for Governor in November, less likely, or doesn't it make a difference?
                                                              WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
More likely          28%    57%     5%    27%    30%    27%    47%
Less likely          38      5     65     41     36     40     19
No difference        31     34     29     30     32     31     32
DK/NA                 2      4      1      2      1      3      3
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
More likely          29%    34%    25%    38%    24%
Less likely          34     37     33     34     47
No difference        35     26     40     24     27
DK/NA                 1      3      2      5      2
 
 
35. In general, do you support or oppose the United States increasing the amount of drilling for oil and natural gas in offshore waters?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Support              66%    86%    48%    68%    75%    57%    79%
Oppose               27     11     42     26     21     32     14
DK/NA                 8      3      9      7      4     11      8
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
Support              64%    65%    73%    64%    61%
Oppose               26     25     21     27     33
DK/NA                10      9      5      9      6
 
TREND: In general, do you support or oppose the United States increasing the amount of drilling for oil and natural gas in offshore waters?
                     Apr 19  Jan 27
                     2010    2010
Support              66      63
Oppose               27      33
DK/NA                 8       4
 
 
36. As you may know, President Obama recently announced his plan to expand offshore oil drilling in Florida. Do you think that is a good idea or a bad idea?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Good idea            64%    79%    53%    62%    71%    57%    74%
Bad idea             28     14     38     29     23     32     18
DK/NA                 9      7      9      9      6     11      8
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
Good idea            60%    65%    71%    57%    60%
Bad idea             30     28     21     28     31
DK/NA                10      8      7     14      9