February 5, 2015 - Obama Under Water In Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll Finds; Strong Support For Tax Hike On Rich Quinnipiac University Polling Logo
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President Barack Obama has negative approval ratings in the key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, but voters in each state strongly support his call to raise taxes on the rich to help the middle class, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.

Voters in each state want the next president to "change direction from Barack Obama's policies," 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.

The president's approval ratings are:
  • Negative 46 - 49 percent in Florida;
  • Negative 42 - 53 percent in Ohio;
  • Negative 44 - 53 percent in Pennsylvania.
A slim majority of Florida voters support President Obama's call for free community college, while voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania oppose the idea.

About 80 percent of voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania are worried about Islamic extremism and about a possible terrorist attack in the U.S. By wide margins, 2-1 in Florida and Pennsylvania, voters say the federal government should investigate terrorist threats, even if it means intruding on personal privacy.

"President Barack Obama's approval rating remains under water in the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, but perhaps more interesting is that even more people want the next president to take a new path," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

"That's even though they think the national economy has improved under this president. Voters, however, don't think President Obama's policies have helped them personally."

"Opinion is split on one of the president's high-profile ideas, making the first two years of community college free for all Americans," Brown added. "Floridians like the idea, but Ohioans and Pennsylvanians don't think it is a good idea.

"Voters strongly favor Obama's call for raising taxes on the rich and using the money to cut levies on the middle class, a potential hot button issue in the 2016 presidential race.

"On the ever-changing pendulum between security and civil liberties, when it comes to the topic of what the federal government should and should not do to safeguard Americans, the country has strongly moved into the camp of those who favor stronger action, even if it endangers individual rights."

Swing State voters are opposed to the 2010 health care reform and most want to amend it in some way, while only about one-quarter of voters want to repeal it outright.

Florida

Florida voters say 56 - 38 percent they want the next president to change direction rather than continue Obama's policies.

Obama's policies have helped the nation's economy, 43 percent say, while 39 percent say they have hurt the economy. Only 23 percent of Florida voters say Obama's policies have helped them personally, while 35 percent say they have hurt.

Florida voters support 58 - 36 percent raising taxes on higher-income earners to reduce taxes paid by the middle class.

Voters oppose the Affordable Care Act 50 - 45 percent, but only 27 percent want to repeal it entirely. A total of 56 percent want to keep it with minor or major changes while 15 percent want to keep it as is. Employers should provide health insurance to employees who work 30 hours a week, 51 percent say, while 42 percent say set the cutoff at 40 hours per week.

Florida voters support 51 - 44 percent Obama's proposal to provide free community college tuition.

A total of 79 percent of voters are "very worried" or "somewhat worried" about the rise of Islamic extremism and 79 percent are "very worried" or "somewhat worried" about a terrorist attack in the U.S. The government should investigate possible terrorist threats, even if it means intruding on personal privacy, voters say 64 - 28 percent.

Ohio

The next president should change direction rather than continue Obama's policies, Ohio voters say 61 - 34 percent.

Obama's policies have helped the nation's economy, 38 percent say, while 40 percent say they have hurt the economy. Only 20 percent of Ohio voters say Obama's policies have helped them personally, while 34 percent say they have hurt.

Ohio voters support 61 - 35 percent raising taxes on higher-income earners to reduce taxes paid by the middle class.

Voters oppose the Affordable Care Act 55 - 40 percent, but only 27 percent want to repeal it entirely. A total of 59 percent want to keep it with minor or major changes while 11 percent want to keep it as is. Employers should provide health insurance to employees who work 30 hours a week, 57 percent say, while 38 percent say set the cutoff at 40 hours per week.

Ohio voters oppose 51 - 44 percent Obama's proposal to provide free community college tuition.

A total of 79 percent of voters are "very worried" or "somewhat worried" about the rise of Islamic extremism and 78 percent are "very worried" or "somewhat worried" about a terrorist attack in the U.S. The government should investigate possible terrorist threats, even if it means intruding on personal privacy, voters say 59 - 33 percent.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania voters say 58 - 36 percent that the next president should change direction rather than continue Obama's policies.

Obama's policies have helped the nation's economy, 40 percent say, while 37 percent say they have hurt the economy. Only 21 percent of Pennsylvania voters say Obama's policies have helped them personally, while 34 percent say they have hurt.

Pennsylvania voters support 62 - 33 percent raising taxes on higher-income earners to reduce taxes paid by the middle class

Voters oppose the Affordable Care Act 50 - 44 percent, but only 26 percent want to repeal it entirely. A total of 59 percent want to keep it with minor or major changes while 12 percent want to keep it as is. Employers should provide health insurance to employees who work 30 hours a week, 55 percent say, while 39 percent say set the cutoff at 40 hours per week.

Ohio voters oppose 52 - 44 percent Obama's proposal to provide free community college tuition.

A total of 81 percent of voters are "very worried" or "somewhat worried" about the rise of Islamic extremism and 78 percent are "very worried" or "somewhat worried" about a terrorist attack in the U.S. The government should investigate possible terrorist threats, even if it means intruding on personal privacy, voters say 61 - 32 percent.

From January 22 - February 1 Quinnipiac University surveyed:
  • 936 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percent;
  • 943 Ohio voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percent;
  • 881 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percent.
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.

21. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Approve              46%    42%    44%
Disapprove           49     53     53
DK/NA                 4      5      4
 
 
22. Would you like to see the next President generally; continue with Barack Obama's policies or change direction from Barack Obama's policies?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Continue policies    38%    34%    36%
Change direction     56     61     58
DK/NA                 7      6      7
 
 
27. Do you think President Obama's policies have helped - the nation's economy, hurt the nation's economy, or haven't made a difference?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Helped               43%    38%    40%
Hurt                 39     40     37
No difference        14     19     19
DK/NA                 3      3      3
 
 
28. Do you think President Obama's policies have helped - your personal financial situation, hurt your personal financial situation, or haven't made a difference?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Helped               23%    20%    21%
Hurt                 35     34     34
No difference        42     44     44
DK/NA                 1      1      2
 
 
29. Do you support or oppose increasing taxes on higher income earners to reduce the amount of taxes paid by the middle class?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Support              58%    61%    62%
Oppose               36     35     33
DK/NA                 6      4      5
 
 
30. If a candidate for Congress or the U.S. Senate opposes increasing taxes on higher income earners to reduce the amount of taxes paid by the middle class; does that make you more likely to vote for that candidate, less likely to vote for that candidate, or doesn't it make a difference?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
More likely          23%    23%    25%
Less likely          39     38     38
No difference        35     36     33
DK/NA                 3      3      3
 
 
31. Do you support or oppose the health care law passed by Barack Obama and Congress in 2010?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Support              45%    40%    44%
Oppose               50     55     50
DK/NA                 5      5      6
 
 
32. Do you think Congress should keep the health care law in place as it is, make minor changes, make major changes, or repeal the health care law entirely?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Keep law             15%    11%    12%
Minor changes        32     34     34
Major changes        24     25     25
Repeal law entirely  27     27     26
DK/NA                 2      3      3
 
 
33. The federal health care law says companies with 50 or more employees have to offer health insurance to those who work at least 30 hours a week. The Republicans in Congress have proposed changing this to at least 40 hours a week. Which of these do you prefer? Should employers be required to provide coverage for employees who work at least 30 hours a week, or should it be at least 40 hours a week?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
At least 30/wk       51%    57%    55%
At least 40/wk       42     38     39
DK/NA                 6      5      6
 
 
34. President Obama has proposed providing free tuition to attend community colleges at a cost to the federal government of sixty billion dollars over 10 years. Do you support or oppose this proposal?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Support              51%    44%    44%
Oppose               44     51     52
DK/NA                 5      6      4
 
 
35. How worried are you about the rise of Islamic extremism around the world; very worried, somewhat worried, not so worried or not worried at all?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Very worried         47%    41%    48%
Somewhat worried     32     38     33
Not so worried       10     12     10
Not worried at all    9      8      8
DK/NA                 1      1      1
 
 
36. How worried are you about the possibility of a terrorist attack in the United States, like the ones that happened recently in Paris; very worried, somewhat worried, not so worried or not worried at all?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Very worried         39%    34%    38%
Somewhat worried     40     44     40
Not so worried       13     14     16
Not worried at all    7      8      6
DK/NA                 1      -      -
 
 
37. What do you think is more important right now: for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy, or for the federal government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats?
                     FL     OH     PA
 
Investigate threats  64%    59%    61%
Not intrude privacy  28     33     32
DK/NA                 7      8      7
 
 
Additional info by state:
Florida: Trends and Crosstabs Sample and Methodology detail
Ohio: Trends and Crosstabs Sample and Methodology detail
Pennsylvania: Trends and Crosstabs Sample and Methodology detail