Marco Rubio Butt-Kissing Won't Help GOP Candidates Win Florida, According to Poll

There's been a common theme among this year's GOP presidential candidates -- firmly planting their lips on the buttcheeks of Sen. Marco Rubio and dropping his name as a potential running mate.

If that's a ploy to win Florida in a general election, it won't help, according to survey results released yesterday by Public Policy Polling.

The poll found that although more Floridians approve of Rubio than disapprove, they'd still be less likely to vote for the eventual GOP presidential candidate if Rubio were his or her running mate -- even though Rubio has said repeatedly he's not going to run as a vice presidential candidate.

Out of the 476 Florida voters surveyed, 36 percent said they'd be less likely to vote for the GOP presidential candidate if Rubio were on the ticket, compared to 30 percent who said having Rubio as a vice presidential candidate would enhance their chances of voting Republican. Thirty-four percent didn't care either way.

"By a 24-37 margin, independents say Rubio as the #2 would actually make them less likely to vote Republican," PPP says in a statement. "Needless to say, Florida is crucial to the GOP's chances of taking back the White House, but a hometown 'hero' may not be of any service."

On the other hand, 44 percent gave Rubio a thumbs-up on his job performance, compared to 39 percent who disapprove. Since PPP began polling Rubio's approval rating in March, it's stayed steady between 42 and 44 percent. His disapproval rating, however, went from 31 percent in March to 35 percent in June, and now it's reached its highest at 39 percent.

As part of the "Florida Miscellaneous" results released by PPP, the pollsters found some interesting tidbits of information about Floridians.

Floridians' support for the Tea Party is going down the crapper, as it is in every other swing state, according to PPP -- 41 percent have a favorable opinion of the movement, whereas 49 percent do not.

"The 'Tea Party' label has gotten to the point where it's a turnoff for voters most everywhere -- unless you're running in a Republican primary in a deep red state, that's probably something you want to stay away from if you hope to win the general election," PPP says.

Floridians don't like the idea of gay marriage by a margin of around 10 percentage points, although they do support some sort of legal recognition for gay couples by a margin of 40 percentage points.

The state is also following the nationwide trend of voters moving away from the Democratic Party. On a generic congressional ballot, 46 percent would vote Democrat, compared to 45 percent who would choose the Republican, but that split was 45-40 in favor of Democrats in June.

On the subject of baseball, most Floridians' favorite teams aren't in Florida. The Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays were the most popular choices at 17 percent each, but everyone else chose a team from out of town -- 14 percent like the Atlanta Braves, 10 percent like the New York Yankees, 7 percent chose the Chicago Cubs, and 6 percent opted for the Boston Red Sox. All the other teams were the choice of fewer than 4 percent of survey respondents.

Football was better for Florida -- half of Floridians say their favorite NFL team plays their home games in the state. The Miami Dolphins were chosen by 21 percent, 15 percent for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and 14 percent went for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The most popular out-of-town teams were the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots, which polled at 8 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

Click here for the full survey results.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley