In surveys released on January 26 and 27, 2010, the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute reported that former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio leads Gov. Charlie Crist by 47 percent to 44 percent in their Republican primary contest for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by appointed Republican Senator George LeMieux. The January release was the first time the Quinnipiac poll showed Mr. Rubio with a lead over the governor, but the three-point lead was within the poll's 3.8-percentage-point margin of error for Republican-only questions. In a poll released on August 19, 2009, Gov. Crist led by 55 percent to 26 percent, and Quinnipiac's October 21, 2009 poll showed Gov. Crist leading by 50 percent to 35 percent.
The poll also found that the governor's job-approval rating was at the lowest point since he took office in 2007. The January 2010 poll showed 50 percent of respondents approved of the Gov. Crist's job performance and 38 percent disapproved. At its peak in mid-2007, Gov. Crist's job approval rating was 71 percent, with only an 11-percent disapproval rating.
In the race to succeed Gov. Crist, Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum extended his lead over Democratic CFO Alex Sink. The January poll showed the attorney general leading by 41 percent to 31 percent, with 25 percent undecided. The two previous Quinnipiac Florida polls, released on August 19 and October 21, 2009, both showed Attorney General McCollum with a four-point lead over CFO Sink, and a June 9, 2009 poll showed CFO Sink leading Attorney General McCollum by four points.
Attorney General McCollum faces primary opposition from Sen. Paula Dockery (R-Lakeland). The poll showed 44 percent of registered Republicans support the attorney general, six percent support Sen. Dockery, and 47 percent were undecided.
The poll also addressed some issues that are likely to play a role in this year's statewide races. Respondents disapproved of President Barack Obama's job performance by 49 percent to 45 percent; three months earlier, Florida voters approved of the president's job performance by a margin of 48 percent to 46 percent. Respondents disapproved of the health care proposals under consideration in Congress by 57 percent to 32 percent. On the issue of offshore oil drilling, lifting the ban on drilling in federal waters off Florida won the support of 55 percent of voters, with 38 percent opposed. However, when asked whether allowing drilling rigs five miles off the coast was a good idea or a bad idea, 39 percent approved and 53 percent disapproved.
The Quinnipiac University poll interviewed 1,618 registered Florida voters from January 20 – 24, 2010. The margin of error on general questions was 2.4 percentage points. The margin of error for questions that were asked only of registered Republicans was 3.8 percent.