Romney, Paul outperform Perry against Obama in crucial swing state Florida

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Rick Perry’s recent poor debate performance and his comment that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme is causing him some trouble in the crucial swing state of Florida, according to a poll released Thursday by Public Policy Polling.

Just 29 percent of Floridians say they have a favorable view of Rick Perry, while 58 percent cite an unfavorable view. In a head-to-head race against President Barack Obama, he loses 43 percent to 50 percent, in spite of Obama’s 51 percent disapproval rating in the state. 46 percent say they approve of the job Obama is doing as president.

In fact, Michele Bachmann outperforms Perry, losing to Obama 44 percent to 49 percent.

The poll was conducted beginning last Thursday, the evening of the presidential debate in which Perry acquitted himself rather poorly, by all accounts, and continued through the weekend. That poor debate performance is likely contributing to his trouble in the state; a poll released yesterday by PPP found that the percentage of Republicans who said they would vote for Perry declined from Thursday night before the debate to Friday.

PPP also found that 63 percent of Floridians disagree with Perry’s statement that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, which is likely causing him trouble.

In terms of who Floridians hold a favorable view of him, none of the candidates fare all that well. Bachmann is 30 points upside down, Ron Paul is 20 points upside down, and even Mitt Romney fares poorly, with 46 percent of Floridians saying they hold an unfavorable view of him and 40 percent saying they have a favorable view of him.

Nonetheless, Romney and Paul fare well against President Obama. Paul ties Obama with 44 percent to Obama’s 45 percent. Romney ties the president 45 percent to Obama’s 46 percent. (RELATED: Santorum doesn’t like Florida’s attempt to become first primary state)

“Florida makes it pretty clear that out of the two Republican front runners there’s one who can beat Barack Obama and one who can’t. There’s no way the GOP wins next year without Florida, and it doesn’t look like Rick Perry can do that,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling.

Trouble in Florida could spell disaster for Perry, or any other candidate. The swing state is considered crucial to win the general election, as well as the Republican primary. A National Journal Insiders Poll released Thursday, Republican insiders ranked Florida hands down the most important state in determining the Republican nominee for President, over New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Iowa, in part because of its sheer size, which requires both money and organization to effectively campaign.

The poll is based on robo-call surveys of 476 Florida voters from September 22 through September 25, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.