Romney on top of the pack in Florida as debate nears
August 26th, 2011
10:12 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney on top of the pack in Florida as debate nears

(CNN) - Two and a half weeks before the first Republican presidential debate in Florida, a new poll indicates that Mitt Romney leads the pack in the battle for the GOP nomination.

According to a Sachs/Mason-Dixon survey, 28 percent of likely Republican primary voters in Florida say they support Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who's making his second bid for the GOP nomination, with 21 percent backing Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who earlier this month launched a run for the White House.

The poll indicates that 13 percent support Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, seven percent support former Godfather's Pizza CEO and radio talk show host Herman Cain, five percent back former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and four percent support Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who's making his third bid for the presidency. Everyone one else is in the low single digits, and 17 percent are undecided.

The survey's release comes two and a half weeks before CNN teams up with the Tea Party Express, a leading national tea party organization, for a GOP presidential debate in Tampa, Florida on September 12. Florida is a very important state in presidential politics. The state's primary date is not yet nailed down, but it's most likely Floridians will vote early in the caucus and primary season. Florida's also a crucial battleground state in the general election and Tampa will be the site of next year's Republican National Convention.

According to the poll, 41 percent of all Floridians say they approve of the job the president's doing in office, with 56 percent saying they disapprove. In hypothetical general election matchups, Romney holds a 51 to 43 percent advantage over Obama, with Perry holding a one point 46 to 45 percent margin over the president, and Obama holding a two point 46 to 44 point advantage over Bachmann. The Perry margin over Obama and the president's margin over Bachmann are both within the poll's sampling error.

Obama won Florida by three percentage points over Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the 2008 presidential election.

"Unlike 2008, if the election were held today, President Obama would face a stiffer headwind to hold on to Florida and its 29 electoral votes against a top-tier Republican challenger – and that could cost him re-election," said Ron Sachs, president of Ron Sachs Communications.

The Sachs/Mason Dixon poll was conducted August 18-22, with 625 registered voters in Florida questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Mitt Romney • Rick Perry
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens has taken both sides of every important issue facing Floridians, so that means he will do well with those who have short attention spans. I am not surprised, as we continue to elect California resident Connie Mack, even though he votes against seniors, veterans, police, firemen, teachers, and the middle class.

    August 26, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. FM

    It is all about time this will change. Romney followed Charles Krauthammer advice that he should look presidential all the time. Really?? How can anyone take such an advice! Look presidential while you have not passed the primary test yet!! This does not hold any logic at all. Krauthammer yes, he is improving himself to be one of high rated politicians, but to my beliefs, I will go for Karl Rove who is not one sided politicians and always his advices work!

    August 26, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens will explain to Floridians that corporations are people too, and seniors should be willing to sacrifice their social security payments to help the struggling Kochs, big banks and big oil.

    August 26, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Gets real Tea party made president approval rating goes down and they change the congress
    Now tea party and congress approval ratings very low and they are making history

    August 26, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. NoTags

    Polls 14 months in advance of the general election mean absolutely nothing. We still don't know who may be hiding in the woods waiting to announce their candidacy.

    August 26, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney needs to change his tactics and attack Perry's questionnable record of accomplishments as Texas governor. Failure to do so may prove fatal against a hard charging Perry.

    August 26, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. T'sah from Virginia

    They back Romney because he's been around since the beginning of time. Perry's number are not that far behind Mitten's him. Either way, it's interesting to see "The Rise and Fall of the Republican Candidates!!"

    August 26, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. LegendRx

    Poor Republican party, what does this say about the Republican candidates, when Mr. Plastic and phony condescending to his dense base Romney is on top? Too good to attend public debates, I will take a stand after it all falls apart Romney. Laughable, yet sad.

    August 26, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. maikl

    Anybody ,but not Obama. The man not fit to be president. No vision, anti bossiness ,just kva-kva-kva.

    August 26, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |

    Obama 2012!!!!

    August 26, 2011 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. nobody

    What a fitting a description, "leading the pack". Why, because they are a pack of political dogs, strays. Even with high unemployment and given any other "pack" of GOP candidates I would say Obama is finished, but not this time. Romney is the GOP version of John Kerry, elitist and a serial flip-flopper.. Perry and Bachmann are right wing fundamentalist extremists, not so bright and using Carl Roves words stupid. Paul is intellectual and Huntsman is a realist and pragmatist and both could win nationally but they will not make it through the primary season because primaries are dominated by right wing fundamentalist extremists. I recall just six months ago "The Trump" was the latest GOP flavor of the week and leading the "pack". THis is a party that is so far right they are hopelessly going in a circle..

    August 26, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Vigla

    I guess that clinches it! The people of Florida are morons. I know the economy sucks, but you honestly think that Republicans who put us in this mess will save us? REALLY? Have you all lost your senses? IT amazes me how short sighted and idotic people can be. But it's still early. Obama hasn't even begun campaigning yet and when people see what the Republicans have to offer (which is nothing but tax cuts for the rich and spending cuts for the middle class) it's really a no brainer...

    August 26, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. Bill from GA

    Romney and the other repug prez-wanna-bees like to tell voters how the stimulus was a total failure, but the CNNMoney story on " Economy: 'Slowdown is here to stay' " shows the stimulus at work in the graph on GDP. The chart shows that the repugs are all liars.

    GDP was MINUS 6.7% the quarter President Obama took office; a year later, when the stimulus was in full swing, GDP was PLUS 4%. Then the dems lost their Super-Majority in the Senate and mcconnell and his repugs put the brakes on.

    August 26, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. Vigla

    maikl, what the hell are you talking about? Anybody? Really? Even Bachmann or Cain? You would rather have an idiot as president because it makes you feel better about yourself. Well, we've already had an idiot president in Bush. We don't need another one to make you feel better. I prefer an intelligent president that believes in science and fairness, not pay for play Perry or flip flopper Mittens. In any case, Bush in 2004 was behind in the polls too until he began the campaign and still squeaked by. Obama will win when people see who is really looking out for our best interests...and it isn't anyone in the Republican field who have NO ideas.

    August 26, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Which debate are they referring to here? I know that NBC has on one on 9/7/2011. I still think that a bunch of these GOP candidates are not fully understanding what science is. There seems to be too much ideolgy and not enough thinking. I'd like to see where they are taking their idea from and how much they are willing to compromise. We need that.

    August 26, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. Carl Bell

    I get true inner satisfaction knowing that Republicans have an ache in their souls about the inevitiable re-election of President Obama. They are like fans of a lowly college football team playing Oklahoma or Auburn and chanting "we're number one". Wait until the President selects Hillary Clinton as his Vice President nominee at the convention. Republicans have campaigned to ruin this great Nation's economy – the bill is coming.

    August 26, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  17. nobody

    Winning re-election with high unemployment is not exceptional but winning with less than 50% popularity is. Still, I am convinced Obama will win simply because the GOP front-runners are so extraordinarily weak. Outside of the bible-belt, the only candidates with the intellect and national crossover appeal will simply not make it. Gingrich, Paul, Romney, Huntsman and Cain are all smart enough to lead however each is flawed as a GOP primary process candidate. Ideology and Tea Party purity will dictate the ultimate victor early next year and survivors will be the front runners today, the party junk yard dogs Bachmann, Perry.

    August 26, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Carl Bell who wrote:
    Wait until the President selects Hillary Clinton as his Vice President nominee at the convention.
    Oh my God Carl don't tease me like this!!!!!!!!!!!
    I love Joe but my girl Hillary would be OUTSTANDING. A "twofer" so to speak!!!
    Obama 2012

    August 26, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |