Exit poll: Rubio backers unhappy with government
CURT ANDERSON,Associated Press
MIAMI (AP) — Florida voters who elected Republican Marco Rubio to the Senate on Tuesday were overwhelmingly dissatisfied or angry about the federal government’s performance, and Rubio drew support from both tea party backers and many who described themselves as neutral about the conservative movement.
An Associated Press analysis of preliminary exit poll results and pre-election polls of early voters also showed that Rubio would have handily defeated Democrat Kendrick Meek even if Gov. Charlie Crist had not run as an independent.
The Associated Press projected Rubio the winner just after polls closed, but the governor’s race in early returns was neck-and-neck between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Alex Sink.
Three-quarters of Florida voters described themselves as dissatisfied or angry with the federal government, and Rubio got the overwhelming majority of those votes. About a third of voters said they cast ballots to express opposition to President Barack Obama and Rubio got most of that support as well.
Slightly more than half of Florida voters said they disapproved of how Obama was handling his job as president, according to the preliminary results. Four in 10 favored repealing Obama’s signature health care law, with those voters solidly backing Rubio.
Almost four in 10 voters said they support the tea party movement, which strongly backed Rubio and Scott in the governor’s race. Rubio, however, also got the most votes from those who described themselves as neutral about the tea party.
As it did in the rest of the nation, the economy topped Florida voters’ concerns. Three out of four said they were worried the U.S. economy is in long-term decline and about four in 10 are concerned that a family member might suffer a foreclosure. Rubio got about half the votes from those worried about foreclosure.
Rubio, a Cuban-American, got about half the white vote and half the Hispanic vote in the three-way Senate race. He did better among men than women, had a clear majority among upper-income voters and also won among those who described themselves as independents despite Crist’s presence in the race.
The survey of Florida voters was conducted for AP by Edison Research. It includes preliminary results from interviews with 2,447 voters from a random sample of 45 precincts statewide Tuesday; 649 who voted early or absentee were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 22 through Oct. 31. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.