July 2012 Florida Decides Poll: Obama, Romney in dead heat

Last Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012, 11:12 AM EDT

Originally posted Friday, July 13, 2012.

More Floridians think Mitt Romney would do a better job with the economy than President Barack Obama.

In our exclusive Florida Decides Poll, Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are in a virtual dead heat in Florida, with Obama getting 46 percent of the vote and Romney getting 45 percent. Another 2 percent say they plan to vote for libertarian Gary Johnson and 7 percent remain undecided at this time.

Obama is currently struggling with overall job approval. Half of the people polled say they disapprove of the job he's doing: 50 percent to 46 percent who approve. The president even finds disapproval in his own party, with 15 percent of Florida Democrats saying they disapprove of Obama's job the past four years.

Fifty-four percent also say the country is on the wrong track, including nearly a quarter of Democratic voters, and many believe the man who ran on a campaign for change, isn't changing things for the better.

The economy has been the issue top of mind for the majority of Americans, but 41 percent of Floridians say Obama's actions to stabilize the economy have only made it worse. Only 35 percent say his efforts have improved the economic situation and 22 percent say it's had no effect at all.

It may be the economy where Mitt Romney's background could serve the presumed Republican candidate well among Florida voters.

While 39 percent of people say the man with a personal wealth of about $240 million is out of touch with the average American, 46 percent say that financial success can serve as an inspiration to other people.

As for his business background, his dealings with Bain Capital, the Boston-based venture capital group that he founded in 1984, have been cause for criticism, but many Floridians think his business experience overall shows he has the skills to better manage the government and improve the economy (47 percent). Only 38 percent of the people polled say Romney is more concerned about making money and his practices, in many instances, have unnecessarily cost people their jobs.

A CLOSER LOOK

By taking a closer look at the numbers, there appears to remain a racial divide between the two candidates, with 93 percent of black voter throwing their support behind Obama. Hispanics too are leaning towards keeping the current president in office. Among white voters, though, Romney has the edge, taking 53 percent of that group's vote.

One problem for Obama may be his ability to reach across the aisle and get Republicans to vote for him. Only 5 percent of Republicans polled plan to vote for Obama compared to 12 percent of Democrats who plan to vote for the Republican candidate. Independents are generally split with 46 percent for Obama and 41 percent for Romney.

Romney also holds stronger male support while women favor Obama.

VP PICK

Florida Senator Marco Rubio has been mentioned as a possible pick for Romney's VP running mate, in part, for his potential to help Romney win Florida. But, according to the poll, Rubio may not make a significant difference.

With Rubio as his running mate, the Republican ticket only gets a slight uptick from voters - 46 percent to 45 percent for Obama/Biden. And, among Hispanics, a demographic many thought Rubio would help bring to the Republican ticket, the divide remains evenly split with 44 percent voting Republican and 43 percent leaning Democrat.

STATEWIDE NAME RECOGNITION

Do recognize the name ....?

(If yes) Do you have  afavorable, unfavorable or neutral opinion of ....?

  RECOGNIZE - FAVORABLE
RECOGNIZE - UNFAVORABLE
RECOGNIZE - NEUTRAL
DON'T RECOGNIZE
Barack Obama
44%
41%
15%
 --
Mitt Romney
37%
33%
27%
3%

Question: If the 2012 general election for president were held today, which one of the following candidates would get your vote:

  • Barack Obama, the Democrat
  • Mitt Romney, the Republican
  • Gary Johnson, the Libertarian
  OBAMA
ROMNEY
JOHNSON
UNDECIDED
STATE
46%
45%
2%
7%
REGION
OBAMA
ROMNEY
JOHNSON
UNDECIDED
North Florida
35%
56%
2%
7%
Central Florida
43%
45%
3%
9%
Tampa Bay
47%
46%
2%
5%
Southwest Florida
36%
55%
1%
8%
Southeast Florida
58%
34%
2%
6%
SEX
OBAMA
ROMNEY
JOHNSON
UNDECIDED
Men
39%
53%
3%
5%
Women
52%
38%
1%
9%
AGE
OBAMA
ROMNEY
JOHNSON
UNDECIDED
18-34
53%
38%
4%
5%
35-49
49%
44%
2%
5%
50-64
44%
47%
1%
8%
65+
42%
47%
2%
9%
RACE
OBAMA
ROMNEY
JOHNSON
UNDECIDED
White
37%
53%
3%
7%
Black
93%
4%
--
3%
Hispanic
49%
42%
--
9%
PARTY
OBAMA
ROMNEY
JOHNSON
UNDECIDED
Democrat
84%
12%
1%
3%
Republican
5%
83%
2%
10%
Independent
46%
41%
3%
10%

 

Question: Do you approve or disapprove of Barack Obama’s job performance as president?

  APPROVE DISAPPROVE NOT SURE
STATE 46% 50% 4%
REGION APPROVE
DISAPPROVE
NOT SURE
North Florida 41% 56% 3%
Central Florida 44% 50% 6%
Tampa Bay 44% 52% 4%
Southwest Florida 39% 56% 5%
Southeast Florida 54% 43% 3%
SEX APPROVE
DISAPPROVE
NOT SURE
Men 39% 58% 3%
Women 52% 43% 5%
RACE APPROVE
DISAPPROVE
NOT SURE
White 37% 60% 3%
Black 95% 4% 1%
Hispanic 45% 44% 11%
PARTY APPROVE
DISAPPROVE
NOT SURE
Democrat 80% 15% 5%
Republican 10% 88% 2%
Independent 47% 46% 7%

Question: Would you say that things in the country are on the right track or would you say they are on the wrong track?

  RIGHT WRONG NOT SURE
STATE 38% 54% 8%
REGION RIGHT
WRONG
NOT SURE
North Florida 33% 61% 6%
Central Florida 38% 55% 7%
Tampa Bay 33% 55% 12%
Southwest Florida 27% 66% 7%
Southeast Florida 48% 44% 8%
SEX RIGHT
WRONG
NOT SURE
Men 35% 58% 7%
Women 41% 50% 9%
RACE RIGHT
WRONG
NOT SURE
White 32% 62% 6%
Black 81% 4% 15%
Hispanic 28% 60% 12%
PARTY RIGHT
WRONG
NOT SURE
Democrat 68% 24% 8%
Republican 6% 87% 7%
Independent 36% 53% 11%

Question: Do you feel President Obama’s actions to stabilize the economy have:

  • Improved the nation’s economic situation
  • Worsened the nation’s economic situation
  • Had little effect on the nation’s economic situation   
  IMPROVED WORSENED NO EFFECT NOT SURE
STATE 35% 41% 22% 2%
REGION IMPROVED
WORSENED
NO EFFECT
NOT SURE
North Florida 32% 47% 18% 3%
Central Florida 32% 36% 31% 1%
Tampa Bay 31% 41% 25% 3%
Southwest Florida 28% 49% 22% 1%
Southeast Florida 44% 38% 16% 2%
SEX IMPROVED
WORSENED
NO EFFECT
NOT SURE
Men 33% 44% 20% 3%
Women 37% 38% 23% 2%
RACE IMPROVED
WORSENED
NO EFFECT
NOT SURE
White 32% 48% 18% 2%
Black 66% 7% 24% 3%
Hispanic 20% 35% 42% 3%
PARTY IMPROVED
WORSENED
NO EFFECT
NOT SURE
Democrat 62% 15% 21% 2%
Republican 8% 70% 20% 2%
Independent 33% 39% 24% 4%

STATEWIDE NAME RECOGNITION

Do recognize the name ....?

(If yes) Do you have  afavorable, unfavorable or neutral opinion of ....?

  RECOGNIZE - FAVORABLE
RECOGNIZE - UNFAVORABLE
RECOGNIZE - NEUTRAL
DON'T RECOGNIZE
Marco Rubio 51% 19% 23% 7%
Barack Obama
44%
41%
15%
 --
Mitt Romney
37%
33%
27%
3%

Question: If Mitt Romney chose Marco Rubio as his vice presidential running mate, would you vote for:

  • The Democratic ticket of Barack Obama & Joe Biden
  • The Republican ticket of Mitt Romney & Marco Rubio
  • The Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson & James Gray
  OBAMA
ROMNEY
JOHNSON
UNDECIDED
STATE
45%
46%
1%
8%
REGION
OBAMA
ROMNEY
JOHNSON
UNDECIDED
North Florida
35%
56%
2%
7%
Central Florida
43%
46%
1%
10%
Tampa Bay
46%
46%
2%
6%
Southwest Florida
36%
55%
1%
8%
Southeast Florida
56%
36%
1%
7%
SEX
OBAMA
ROMNEY
JOHNSON
UNDECIDED
Men
38%
54%
2%
6%
Women
52%
38%
1%
9%
AGE
OBAMA
ROMNEY
JOHNSON
UNDECIDED
18-34
52%
40%
2%
6%
35-49
49%
44%
2%
5%
50-64
43%
48%
1%
8%
65+
40%
48%
1%
11%
RACE
OBAMA
ROMNEY
JOHNSON
UNDECIDED
White
36%
54%
2%
8%
Black
92%
4%
--
4%
Hispanic
43%
44%
--
13%
PARTY
OBAMA
ROMNEY
JOHNSON
UNDECIDED
Democrat
82%
12%
1%
5%
Republican
4%
85%
2%
9%
Independent
44%
41%
2%
13%

Question: Which one of following positions is closest to your view of Mitt Romney’s personal wealth, which is estimated at $240 million: (ORDER ROTATED)

  • His wealth and lifestyle make him out of touch with the average American
  • His wealth and lifestyle is a sign of success that can inspire the average American
  OUT OF TOUCH SUCCESS BOTH  NOT SURE
STATE 39% 46% 2% 13%
REGION OUT OF TOUCH
SUCCESS
BOTH 
NOT SURE
North Florida 32% 54% 1% 13%
Central Florida 42% 46% 2% 10%
Tampa Bay 40% 46% 1% 13%
Southwest Florida 35% 57% -- 8%
Southeast Florida 42% 47% 4% 17%
SEX OUT OF TOUCH
SUCCESS
BOTH 
NOT SURE
Men 38% 51% 1% 10%
Women 39% 42% 3% 16%
RACE OUT OF TOUCH
SUCCESS
BOTH 
NOT SURE
White 34% 51% 2% 13%
Black 75% 18% 2% 5%
Hispanic 29% 49% 3% 19%
PARTY OUT OF TOUCH
SUCCESS
BOTH 
NOT SURE
Democrat 64% 21% 3% 12%
Republican 11% 75% 1% 13%
Independent 44% 39% 2% 15%

 

Question: Which one of following positions is closest to your view of Mitt Romney’s business background (ORDER ROTATED)

  • It shows he has the skills to better manage the government and improve the economy
  • It shows he is more concerned about making money and his practices in many instances have unnecessarily cost people their jobs in order to earn profits
  BETTER MANAGE COST JOBS BOTH NOT SURE
STATE 47% 38% 3% 12%
REGION BETTER MANAGE
COST JOBS
BOTH
NOT SURE
North Florida 56% 33% 1% 10%
Central Florida 52% 34% 4% 10%
Tampa Bay 47% 41% 1% 11%
Southwest Florida 54% 32% 2% 12%
Southeast Florida 35% 45% 5% 15%
SEX BETTER MANAGE
COST JOBS
BOTH
NOT SURE
Men 52% 36% 1% 11%
Women 43% 40% 4% 13%
RACE BETTER MANAGE
COST JOBS
BOTH
NOT SURE
White 54% 33% 2% 11%
Black 11% 68% 5% 16%
Hispanic 45% 32% 8% 15%
PARTY BETTER MANAGE
COST JOBS
BOTH
NOT SURE
Democrat 15% 67% 2% 16%
Republican 82% 9% 1% 8%
Independent 47% 35% 7% 11%

HOW THE POLL WAS CONDUCTED

This poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida from July 9 through July 11, 2012. A total of 800 registered voters were interviewed statewide by telephone.  All stated they were likely to vote in the November general election.

Those interviewed were randomly selected from a phone-matched Florida voter registration list that included both land-line and cell phone numbers.  Quotas were assigned to reflect voter turn-out by county.

The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than ±3.5% percentage points.  This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the "true" figure would fall within that range if all voters were surveyed.  The margin for error is higher for any subgroup, such as a gender or party grouping.

Demographics            
PARTY REGISTRATION  
Democrat 346 (43%)
Republican 320 (40%)
Independent or Other 134 (17%)
AGE  
18-34 106 (13%)
35-49 212 (27%)
50-64 234 (29%)
65+ 246 (31%)
Refused 2 -
RACE/ETHNICITY  
White/Caucasian 577 (72%)
Black/African American 108 (13%)
Hispanic or Cuban 105 (13%)
Other/Refused 10 (1%)
SEX  
Male 389 (49%)
Female 411 (51%)
REGION  
North Florida 160 (20%)
Central Florida 170 (21%)
Tampa Bay 150 (19%)
Southwest Florida 90 (11%)
Southeast Florida 230 (29%)