A year after Florida flipped from blue to red and helped Republican Donald Trump to his stunning presidential victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, President Trump has a 41 percent approval rating in a new poll of Sunshine State voters.
While Trump is under water by 6 points in Florida, that’s considerably better than his nationwide numbers. The RealClearPolitics.com average of national polls shows a net negative of 17.9 points for the president, with 38.7 approving and 56.6 percent disapproving.
Trump won Florida in November 2016 with 49 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 47.8 percent.
Trump’s latest approval numbers are slightly better than the FAU poll found in August, when 37 percent of voters approved and 47 percent disapproved.
FAU’s online poll of 500 voters, conducted Nov. 2-5, has a 4.5 percent margin of error. FAU says the poll was conducted “using an online sample supplied by Survey Sampling International using online questionnaires and via an automated telephone platform using registered voter lists supplied by Aristotle, Inc.”
The poll’s sample is 33.3 percent Republican, 32.3 percent Democrat and 34.3 percent independent. Actual Florida voter registrations are 37.5 percent Democrat, 35.4 percent Republican and 27.1 percent no party or minor party.
The poll contains some good numbers for Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is expected to challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson next year.
Scott is viewed favorably by 49 percent of Florida voters and unfavorably by 39 percent. His handling of Hurricane Irma rated good to excellent by 72 percent of voters, with
57 percent saying it will help him if he runs for Senate.
Three-term incumbent Nelson is viewed favorably by 45 percent and unfavorably by 22 percent.
Rubio and Nelson also visited citrus growers in Lake Wales and Ave Maria University students in Immokalee on Wednesday.
The pair flew together on a Coast Guard plane on Monday to survey damage in the Keys. They planned to meet at an emergency operations center in Jacksonville on Tuesday, but missed each other by about 30 minutes.
The working relationship between Rubio and Nelson could take some of the partisan edge off next year’s expected challenge to Nelson by Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
Last year, when Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy challenged Rubio for re-election, Nelson came to Rubio’s defense after Murphy accused him of failing to deliver on federal money to fight the Zika virus.
Said Scott: “Hurricane Irma is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening Category 5 storm and the state is aggressively preparing to ensure families are safe as we prepare for a possible landfall. The brave men and women of the Florida National Guard are incredibly important to executing emergency preparedness and response actions across the state and I will continue to activate more members as needed. These members will be in place to help with evacuations and sheltering, as well as the coordination of search and rescue with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. National Guard members will also be assisting utility companies following the storm as they respond to return power to homes and businesses.”
Republican Gov. Rick Scott — widely expected to challenge Nelson next year — plans to visit the same EOC at 11:15 a.m. for a briefing with Florida Director of Emergency Management Bryan Koon. He’s scheduled to remain there for a 12:15 p.m. news conference.
It wasn’t immediately clear this morning whether Nelson and Scott will be in Doral at the same time.
Nelson is also scheduled to visit Palm Beach County’s EOC this afternoon at 2 p.m.
Scott’s schedule includes another briefing with Koon at 5:15 p.m. in Tallahassee.