May 11, 2016 - Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania Have Hot Senate Races, Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll Finds; Voters In All 3 States Back Legalized Marijuana Quinnipiac University Polling Logo
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U.S. Senate races in the key Swing States of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania are too-close-to-call as voters in each state want the Senate to vote on President Barack Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.

By huge margins, voters in Florida and Ohio support legalization of medical marijuana, which already is legal in Pennsylvania, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. By smaller, but still strong margins, voters in all three states support legalization of personal use, so-called recreational use, of marijuana. 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.

U.S. Senate matchups show:
  • Florida - In a crowded field, there are no clear winners or losers, while U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Democrat, seems to be the strongest of all candidates;
  • Ohio - Former Gov. Ted Strickland, the Democrat, has 43 percent, while Republican incumbent Sen. Rob Portman has 42 percent;
  • Pennsylvania - Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey has 45 percent, while Democrat Katie McGinty has 44 percent.
"Ohio Gov. John Kasich and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown look to be in good shape in their crucial home state if their respective presidential nominees want to turn their way for a running mate," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll.

"Gov. Kasich's job approval among Ohioans has slipped a bit from the low 60s to 58 percent, not surprising since running for president often does that to politicians who try to move up to higher office and fail. But he remains the most popular politician in the state. Democrat Sen. Brown's 46 percent approval rating isn't as good, but his name continues to pop up."

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott has a negative 40 - 49 percent approval rating. He might hurt rather than help his fellow businessman-turned-politician Donald Trump's effort to carry Florida," Brown added.

"The Senate races in all three states are close with GOP incumbents in Ohio and Pennsylvania facing strong challenges. The Florida U.S. Senate race is wide open with none of the seven candidates particularly well-known to voters."

Florida

In Florida's U.S. Senate race, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Democrat, leads Republican businessman Carlos Beruff 38 - 32 percent; edges Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera 38 - 34 percent and leads businessman Todd Wilcox 38 - 33 percent. Other races involving Murphy and GOP contenders, or Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson and Republicans, are too close to call.

Voters approve 51 - 33 percent of President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court and say 54 - 40 percent that the Senate should consider Garland's nomination.

Supporting Senate action are Democrats 82 - 12 percent and independent voters 58 - 36 percent. Republicans are opposed 69 - 27 percent.

Voters disapprove 49 - 40 percent of the job Gov. Rick Scott is doing, continuing his five-year trend of mostly negative scores.

President Obama gets a split score, as 48 percent approve and 50 percent disapprove.

Lame-duck Sen. Marco Rubio has a negative 42 - 49 percent approval rating, while Sen. Bill Nelson gets a positive 47 - 26 percent score.

Florida voters say 80 - 16 percent they will vote for a constitutional amendment this November allowing for medical marijuana. Support is over 70 percent among every party, gender, education, age and ethnic group measured.

Voters also support 56 - 41 percent allowing adults to legally possess for personal use small amounts of marijuana. Republicans and voters over 65 years old are the only listed groups opposed.

"The Florida U.S. Senate race features a candidate who appears to be using Gov. Rick Scott's playbook. Scott came from nowhere and won the governor's chair with a campaign arguing that his outsider status and business experience made him a better choice. Businessman Carlos Beruff reportedly has invested $1 million in television ads introducing himself to voters and at this stage is polling roughly as well as the other four GOP candidates," Brown said.

Ohio

Propelled by non-white voters and young voters, former Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, has 43 percent in the Ohio U.S. Senate race, with 42 percent for Republican incumbent Sen. Rob Portman.

Voters 18 to 34 years old back Strickland 58 - 27 percent, while support shifts to Portman among older voters, but by smaller margins. White voters back the Republican 49 - 37 percent, while non-white voters go Democratic 70 - 10 percent.

The gender gap is small as men back Portman 47 - 42 percent while women back Strickland 43 - 37 percent.

Ohio voters approve 47 - 33 percent of Judge Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court and say 56 - 38 percent that the Senate should consider the nomination.

Ohio voters approve 58 - 32 percent of the job Gov. John Kasich is doing.

President Obama gets a negative 45 - 50 percent job approval rating.

Sen. Sherrod Brown gets a 46 - 27 percent job approval rating, while Portman gets a 44 - 29 percent score.

Ohio voters support 90 - 9 percent legalizing the use of medical marijuana, with no listed voter group under 82 percent.

Voters support 52 - 45 percent allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.

"Republican Sen. Rob Portman might consider introducing himself to Ohioans. He is locked in a neck-and-neck re-election fight in which 42 percent of voters say they don't know enough about him to have an opinion. In fact, Democratic opponent Ted Strickland, a former governor is somewhat better known than is he," Brown said.

Pennsylvania

Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey is locked in a tight race with Democrat Katie McGinty, with 45 percent for Toomey and 44 percent for McGinty.

Men back Toomey 53 - 36 percent, while women go with McGinty 51 - 38 percent. White voters go Republican 51 - 40 percent, as non-white voters go Democratic 65 - 18 percent.

Pennsylvania voters approve 52 - 29 percent of Judge Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court and say 58 - 37 percent that the Senate should consider the nomination. Supporting Senate action are Democrats 81 - 14 percent and independent voters 57 - 37 percent. Republicans are opposed 59 - 35 percent.

Because Toomey wants to wait for the next president to make a Supreme Court nomination, 30 percent of voters are less likely to vote for him, while 18 percent are more likely to support him and 51 percent say this will not affect their vote.

Pennsylvania voters support 57 - 39 percent allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Republicans and voters over 65 years old are the only listed groups opposed.

"The most liberal of the three big swing states on the issue, Pennsylvanians give a big thumbs up to small amounts of marijuana in the hands of adults," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

"Pennsylvanians say there's no time like the present for the Senate to consider Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. Sen. Pat Toomey says wait until after the election and the numbers clearly show that could hurt him."

From April 27 - May 8 Quinnipiac University surveyed:
  • 1,051 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points;
  • 1,042 Ohio voters with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points;
  • 1,077 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 3 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.

Visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling or www.facebook.com/quinnipiac poll. Call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter @QuinnipiacPoll.

6a. (FL only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Patrick Murphy the Democrat and Carlos Beruff the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                            
                     FL     OH     PA    
 
Murphy               38%     -      -
Beruff               32      -      -
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      6      -      -
DK/NA                23      -      -
 
 
6b. (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?
                     FL     OH     PA    
 
Murphy               38%     -      - 
Lopez-Cantera        34      -      - 
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      - 
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      6      -      - 
DK/NA                22      -      - 
 
 
6c. (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?
                            
                     FL     OH     PA    
 
Murphy               36%     -      - 
DeSantis             35      -      - 
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      - 
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      6      -      - 
DK/NA                23      -      - 
 
 
6d. (FL only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Patrick Murphy the Democrat and David Jolly the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                            
                     FL     OH     PA    
 
Murphy               37%     -      - 
Jolly                34      -      - 
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      - 
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      6      -      - 
DK/NA                22      -      - 
 
 
6e. (FL only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Patrick Murphy the Democrat and Todd Wilcox the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                            
                     FL     OH     PA    
 
Murphy               38%     -      - 
Wilcox               33      -      - 
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      - 
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      5      -      - 
DK/NA                24      -      - 
 
 
6f. (FL only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Alan Grayson the Democrat and Carlos Beruff the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                            
                     FL     OH     PA    
 
Grayson              36%     -      - 
Beruff               35      -      - 
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      - 
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      7      -      - 
DK/NA                21      -      - 
 
 
6g. (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?
                            
                     FL     OH     PA    
 
Grayson              37%     -      - 
Lopez-Cantera        37      -      - 
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      - 
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      6      -      - 
DK/NA                21      -      - 
 
 
6h. (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?
                     FL     OH     PA    
 
Grayson              36%     -      - 
DeSantis             38      -      - 
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      - 
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      6      -      - 
DK/NA                20      -      - 
 
 
6i. (FL only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Alan Grayson the Democrat and David Jolly the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                           
                     FL     OH     PA   
 
Grayson              35%     -      - 
Jolly                37      -      - 
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      - 
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      6      -      - 
DK/NA                21      -      - 
 
 
6j. (FL only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Alan Grayson the Democrat and Todd Wilcox the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                            
                     FL     OH     PA    
 
Grayson              35%     -      - 
Wilcox               37      -      - 
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      - 
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      5      -      - 
DK/NA                22      -      - 
 
 
6k. (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?
                            
                     FL     OH     PA    
 
Strickland            -     43%     -
Portman               -     42      -
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      1      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      4      -
DK/NA                 -     11      -
 
 
6l. (OH only) Is your opinion of Ted Strickland favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                            
                     FL     OH     PA    
 
Favorable             -     37%     -
Unfavorable           -     31      -
Hvn't hrd enough      -     31      -
REFUSED               -      1      -
 
 
6m. (OH only) Is your opinion of Rob Portman favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                            
                     FL     OH     PA    
 
Favorable             -     35%     -
Unfavorable           -     22      -
Hvn't hrd enough      -     42      -
REFUSED               -      1      -
 
 
6n. (PA only) If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Katie McGinty the Democrat and Pat Toomey the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                            
                     FL     OH     PA    
 
McGinty               -      -     44%    
Toomey                -      -     45     
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -     
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      1     
DK/NA                 -      -     10     
 
 
6o. (PA only) Is your opinion of Pat Toomey favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                           
                     FL     OH     PA   
 
Favorable             -      -     42%   
Unfavorable           -      -     27    
Hvn't hrd enough      -      -     30    
REFUSED               -      -      1    
 
 
6p. (PA only) Is your opinion of Katie McGinty favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                     FL     OH     PA   
 
Favorable             -      -     30%   
Unfavorable           -      -     16    
Hvn't hrd enough      -      -     53    
REFUSED               -      -      1    
 
 
7. 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              40%         58%         36%
Disapprove           49          32          51
DK/NA                11          10          12
 
 
8-9. 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              47%         42%         46%         44%         48%        49%
Disapprove           26          49          27          29          26         34
DK/NA                28           9          27          26          26         17
 
 
9a. (PA only) Do you approve or disapprove of the way Kathleen Kane is handling her job as State Attorney General?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Approve               -      -     23%
Disapprove            -      -     51
DK/NA                 -      -     25
 
 
9b. (PA only) Do you think Kathleen Kane should resign as State Attorney General or not?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Yes/Resign            -      -     50%
No                    -      -     26
DK/NA                 -      -     24
 
 
10. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Approve              48%    45%    49%
Disapprove           50     50     50
DK/NA                 3      4      2
 
 
27. Do you approve or disapprove of President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Approve              51%    47%    52%
Disapprove           33     33     29
DK/NA                16     20     19
 
 
28. Do you think the Senate should consider the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, or do you think the Senate should not consider any Supreme Court nomination until there is a new President?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Consider Garland     54%    56%    58%
Do not consider      40     38     37
DK/NA                 6      6      5
 
 
28a. (OH only) Ohio Senator Rob Portman says he supports waiting for the next president to pick a nominee. Does this make you more likely to vote for Portman, less likely to vote for Portman, or doesn't it make a difference?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
More likely           -     15%     -
Less likely           -     27      -
No difference         -     56      -
DK/NA                 -      2      -
 
 
28b. (PA only) Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey says he supports waiting for the next president to pick a nominee. Does this make you more likely to vote for Toomey, less likely to vote for Toomey, or doesn't it make a difference?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
More likely           -      -     18%
Less likely           -      -     30
No difference         -      -     51
DK/NA                 -      -      1
 
 
32. Do you support or oppose allowing adults in - (FL) Florida / (OH) Ohio / (PA) Pennsylvania - to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Support              56%    52%    57%
Oppose               41     45     39
DK/NA                 3      3      4
 
 
32a. (FL only) As you may know, there is a state constitutional amendment on the November 2016 ballot to allow medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Do you think that you will vote for or against this amendment?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Vote for             80%     -      -
Vote against         16      -      -
DK/NA                 3      -      -
 
 
32b. (OH only) Do you support or oppose allowing adults in Ohio to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it?