June 22, 2015 - Dems Ahead In Florida, Ohio Senate Races, Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll Finds; Toomey Gives GOP Edge In Pennsylvania Quinnipiac University Polling Logo
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Democratic candidates hold small early leads in 2016 U.S. Senate races in Florida and Ohio, while Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is ahead in Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich enjoys a 2-1 job approval rating, while Florida Gov. Rick Scott is stuck in a job approval hole and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has a modest approval rating, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. The Swing State Poll focuses on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania because since 1960 no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states.

President Barack Obama has a negative job approval rating in all three states:
  • 43 - 51 percent in Florida;
  • 40 - 56 percent in Ohio;
  • 42 - 55 percent in Pennsylvania.
"All three swing states are expected to have very competitive U.S. Senate races. None of the candidates in Florida are well known to voters, while the Pennsylvania and Ohio races involve candidates who have run statewide previously," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll. "Democrats hold an early edge in the Sunshine State, but no candidate from either party has much visibility at this point."

"In Ohio and Pennsylvania, however, the major candidates are well-known. Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has a slim edge over incumbent GOP Sen. Rob Portman in a race Republicans had seen as relatively safe. Next door in Pennsylvania, Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey has a larger than expected lead over Joe Sestak, whom he defeated to win the seat six years ago. The betting is that when Election Day comes all three of these Senate races will be close."

"President Barack Obama is unlikely to be much, if any, help to the Democratic candidates. His job approval numbers are close to his all-time low in Pennsylvania and well below water in Ohio and Florida," Brown added.

Florida

In possible matchups in the 2016 U.S. Senate race in Florida:
  • Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy tops Republican Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera 40 - 28 percent;
  • Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson tops Lopez-Cantera 37 - 31 percent;
  • Murphy tops Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis 39 - 31 percent;
  • Grayson tops DeSantis 38 - 32 percent;
The possible candidates are largely unknown at this point as the percentage of voters who don't know enough about each candidate ranges from 62 percent to 81 percent.

Florida voters give Gov. Rick Scott a negative 39 - 49 percent job approval rating, his lowest score since a negative 36 - 49 percent score in a March 20, 2013, Quinnipiac University poll. Scott has never had a positive job approval rating, since a 35 - 22 percent score in his first poll after he was elected.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson gets a 48 - 27 percent job approval rating, with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio at 50 - 38 percent.

"The U.S. Senate candidates in Florida might want to put their pictures on milk cartons to increase their visibility. U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson is the best-known, but 62 percent of voters don't know him well-enough to have an opinion about him. The 'don't know' numbers for the others are even worse."

Ohio

Former Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, has a 46 - 40 percent lead over Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who is up for reelection in 2016.

Portman tops Cincinnati City Council member P.G. Sittenfeld 49 - 24 percent.

The incumbent has a 49 - 28 percent job approval rating and a 43 - 21 percent favorability. Strickland gets a 47 - 29 percent favorability rating, while 85 percent of voters haven't heard enough about Sittenfeld to form an opinion.

Gov. John Kasich has a 60 - 30 percent job approval rating, brushing up against his all- time high of 61 - 28 percent April 6.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown has a 50 - 31 percent job approval rating.

"Gov. John Kasich was re-elected in a landslide in 2014, while President Barack Obama carried the Buckeye State comfortably in 2012," Brown said.

"Yet Kasich remains a political icon, while Obama might have difficulty winning in Ohio these days, factors which could boost Sen. Rob Portman's re-election chances," Brown added. "But it's too soon to be sure where anyone's numbers will be on Election Day 17 months from now."

Pennsylvania

In a rematch of the 2010 U.S. Senate race in the Keystone State, Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey leads possible Democratic challenger Joe Sestak 47 - 36 percent.

Toomey tops another Democrat, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski 52 - 28 percent.

Toomey has a 51 - 28 percent job approval rating and a 47 - 24 percent favorability rating. His possible challengers are largely unknown as 58 percent of voters haven't heard enough about Sestak to form an opinion of him, and 85 percent haven't heard enough about Pawlowski.

Pennsylvania voters approve 47 - 32 percent of the job Gov. Tom Wolf is doing and give U.S. Sen. Robert Casey a 48 - 29 percent job approval rating.

"With healthy job approval and favorability ratings and opponents who have very weak or even negligible recognition, Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey seems to be on cruise control - for now," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

"Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf prolongs the honeymoon with job approval numbers his Republican predecessor, Tom Corbett, could only have dreamed of."

From June 4 - 15 Quinnipiac University surveyed:
  • 1,147 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points;
  • 1,191 Ohio voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points;
  • 970 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points.
Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more information, visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter @QuinnipiacPoll.

33a. (FL only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Patrick Murphy the Democrat and Carlos Lopez-Cantera the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Tot
 
Murphy               40%
Lopez-Cantera        28
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      5
DK/NA                27
 
 
33b. (FL only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Alan Grayson the Democrat and Carlos Lopez-Cantera the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Tot
 
Grayson              37%
Lopez-Cantera        31
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      5
DK/NA                26
 
 
33c. (FL only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Patrick Murphy the Democrat and Ron DeSantis the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Tot
 
Murphy               39%
DeSantis             31
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3
DK/NA                26
 
 
33d. (FL only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Alan Grayson the Democrat and Ron DeSantis the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Tot
 
Grayson              38%
DeSantis             32
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      4
DK/NA                25
 
 
33e. (FL only) Is your opinion of Patrick Murphy favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot
 
Favorable            22%
Unfavorable           6
Hvn't hrd enough     71
REFUSED               1
 
 
33f. (FL only) Is your opinion of Carlos Lopez-Cantera favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot
 
Favorable            12%
Unfavorable          10
Hvn't hrd enough     77
REFUSED               -
 
 
33g. (FL only) Is your opinion of Alan Grayson favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot
 
Favorable            21%
Unfavorable          16
Hvn't hrd enough     62
REFUSED               1
 
 
33h. (FL only) Is your opinion of Ron DeSantis favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot
 
Favorable            11%
Unfavorable           7
Hvn't hrd enough     81
REFUSED               1
 
 
33i. (OH only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Ted Strickland the Democrat and Rob Portman the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Tot
 
Strickland           46%
Portman              40
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3
DK/NA                10
 
 
33j. (OH only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were P.G. Sittenfeld the Democrat and Rob Portman the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Tot
 
Sittenfeld           24%
Portman              49
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      5
DK/NA                20
 
 
33k. (OH only) Is your opinion of Ted Strickland favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot
 
Favorable            47%
Unfavorable          29
Hvn't hrd enough     23
REFUSED               1
 
 
33l. (OH only) Is your opinion of Rob Portman favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot
 
Favorable            43%
Unfavorable          21
Hvn't hrd enough     35
REFUSED               1
 
 
33m. (OH only) Is your opinion of P.G. Sittenfeld favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot
 
Favorable             7%
Unfavorable           7
Hvn't hrd enough     85
REFUSED               -
 
 
33n. (PA only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Joe Sestak the Democrat and Pat Toomey the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Tot
 
Sestak               36%
Toomey               47
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2
DK/NA                14
 
 
33o. (PA only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Ed Pawlowski the Democrat and Pat Toomey the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Tot
 
Pawlowski            28%
Toomey               52
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3
DK/NA                16
 
 
33p. (PA only) Is your opinion of Pat Toomey favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot
 
Favorable            47%
Unfavorable          24
Hvn't hrd enough     28
REFUSED               1
 
 
33q. (PA only) Is your opinion of Joe Sestak favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot
 
Favorable            26%
Unfavorable          15
Hvn't hrd enough     58
REFUSED               1
 
 
33r. (PA only) Is your opinion of Ed Pawlowski favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot
 
Favorable             6%
Unfavorable           8
Hvn't hrd enough     85
REFUSED               1
 
 
34. Do you approve or disapprove of the way - (FL) Rick Scott / (OH) John Kasich / (PA) Tom Wolf - is handling his job as Governor?
                     FL          OH          PA
                     Scott       Kasich      Wolf
 
Approve              39%         60%         47%
Disapprove           49          30          32
DK/NA                12          10          21
 
 
35. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Approve              33%    42%    28%
Disapprove           50     41     53
DK/NA                17     17     19
 
 
36-37. Do you approve or disapprove of the way - (FL) Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio / (OH) Sherrod Brown, Rob Portman / (PA) Bob Casey Jr., Pat Toomey - is handling his job as United States Senator?
                     FL...............       OH.................     PA................
                     Nelson      Rubio       Brown       Portman     Casey Jr.   Toomey
 
Approve              48%         50%         50%         49%         48%         51%
Disapprove           27          38          31          28          29          28
DK/NA                26          12          18          23          22          21
 
 
38. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?