Quinnipiac Poll: Florida GOP Favors Bush as Christie Support Slips

Friday, 31 Jan 2014 02:33 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Florida Republicans would choose their former governor, Jeb Bush, as the 2016 GOP presidential nominee, while their support for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is waning in the wake of the bridge-gate scandal, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

The poll of 1,565 Florida voters put Bush on top of a hypothetical Republican primary with a 25 percent ranking, followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio with 16 percent; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul with 11 percent; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with 9 percent; Christie with 9 percent and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan with 5 percent.

Christie's ranking fell by 5 percentage points, down from 14 percent in a Nov. 22 poll, taken before the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal began growing.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton placed highest overall in Florida among all potential presidential candidates, the poll showed.

The former first lady came in ahead of Bush by 49-43 percent, and topped Christie 51-35 percent. In November, Clinton only narrowly edged Christie 45-41 percent.

Clinton also topped Rubio, 51-41 percent; Paul, 53-38 percent; Ryan, 52-39 percent; and Cruz, 54-34 percent.

"New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie isn't finding any sun in the Sunshine State" said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"'Bridge-gate' is having a negative effect on his presidential fortunes in Florida." Brown added. "Since Florida is the nation's largest swing state, and one of the early primary states, the numbers are not good news for the New Jersey governor as he tries to weather the storm from the controversy."

The Florida voters also said, by a 45-35 percent margin, that Christie would not be a good president, reversing a 45-35 percent positive score in the Nov. 22. poll.

In addition, Florida voters who have heard about the bridge-gate controversy say the scandal makes them less likely to vote for Christie. Of the 78 percent who have read or heard about the scandal, 35 percent said they are less likely to vote for Christie, and 52 percent said the issue damages Christie's chances at the White House.

Clinton also dominated a Florida Democratic primary, scoring 64 percent of the polled voters, compared to Vice President Joe Biden with 9 percent. No other Democrat received more than 5 percent.

The poll's respondents also said, 58-38 percent, that Clinton would be a good president, while respondents said the same of Bush by 50-40 percent. All of the others included in the poll received negative marks.

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