Poll: Florida Gives Rubio Thumbs-Down on Immigration

Image: Poll: Florida Gives Rubio Thumbs-Down on Immigration

Wednesday, 19 Jun 2013 08:59 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Florida voters disapprove of Sen. Marco Rubio's handling of immigration and gun issues, but still give him a positive job approval rating, a new poll has found.

A Quinnipiac University poll shows that 41 percent of those surveyed disapprove of the Florida Republican's work on immigration-reform efforts, compared to 33 percent who approve.

The finding is significant given that Rubio is a leading member of the Senate's Gang of Eight, the bipartisan group that crafted the comprehensive immigration-reform package now being debated in the Senate.

The poll, conducted from June 11-16, also found that 58 percent of Florida voters back the measure's central proposal to provide a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Meanwhile, on the gun control, 49 percent of the 1,176 voters surveyed think less well of Rubio for his vote against requiring background checks for all commercial gun sales, compared to 10 percent who support his position. According to the poll, background checks are "strongly" supported by 73 percent of voters in Florida, including 63 percent of gun-owning households.

Overall, however, a majority of voters gave the freshman senator a positive approval rating at 51 percent versus 35 percent who view him negatively, which is up slightly from a March poll when his approval rating was 48 percent to 33 percent.

"A mark of an able politician is one who can keep his support among the electorate even when the politician follows his own path rather than the public's preference on high-profile issues like immigration or gun control," observed Peter Brown, assistant director of the university's polling institute.

"As perhaps the best-known Hispanic-American in national politics, Sen. Marco Rubio has a tightrope to walk between keeping the folks back home happy and serving as a high-profile symbol for the GOP nationally," Brown added.

The poll also showed that both Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would lose a presidential bid in their home state to likely Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. Bush would lose by 50-43 percent and Rubio by 53-41 percent. These figures are similar to the last time the Connecticut university asked the same question in March.

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