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A new poll out Thursday had troubling news for President Barack Obama in Florida, while Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) remains favored for re-election in 2012.

The Quinnipiac University poll found 51 percent of Florida voters surveyed earlier this week disapproved of Obama’s job performance, while 44 percent approved. Forty-two percent thought he “deserves to be re-elected,” while 50 percent felt he did not.

In a May Quinnipiac Florida poll, 51 percent of those consulted approved of Obama’s job performance.

Against an unnamed Republican challenger, Nelson was favored for re-election 46 percent to 35 percent. But the second-term Senator’s approval tied an all-time low for a Quinnipiac poll: only 42 percent approve of the job he is doing. The last time he had such a low job approval was August 2004.

Among registered Republican primary voters polled in late July and early August, a majority remained undecided on which candidate they would support to take on Nelson. The poll showed retired Army officer Mike McCalister at 15 percent, former Sen. George LeMieux at 12 percent, former Ruth’s Chris Steak House CEO Craig Miller at 8 percent and former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner at 6 percent.  

The numbers reinforce just how unknown the Republican candidates are and how much money they will need to spend to introduce themselves to voters before the late summer 2012 primary. Florida is an expensive state with large number of sizable media markets, a factor that often hinders candidates who aren’t well-known.

The poll, taken after the debt limit deal was announced, had a margin of error of 3.6 points. The poll of Republicans had a margin of error of 4.3 points.

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