Poll: Obama edges Romney in Fla., but Rubio would swing state back to GOP

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Romney now posts a net negative favorability rating, with more voters, 45 percent, holding an unfavorable view of him than the 42 percent who view him positively. 

Prior to his commanding win in January's Florida primary, Romney was seen favorably by 44 percent of voters, while just 37 percent saw him unfavorably. Nearly a quarter of those who said they would support Obama characterized their vote as "against Romney" rather than for the president.

Still, there are signs of encouragement for the Republican challenger. Six in 10 of those surveyed felt that the country was on the wrong track, and more than 8 in 10 described the jobs outlook in Florida is either poor or fair. 

Romney also could benefit from adding a popular Floridian to his ticket in the crucial swing state. A paring or Romney with former Gov. Jeb Bush would poll 2 percentage points better than the Obama-Biden ticket. Adding freshman Sen. Marco Rubio as a running mate would give Romney a 3-point edge.

“A small percentage of Obama voters would leave the Democratic ticket to follow Rubio, tipping the scales to the GOP,” Paleologos said. “In a contest likely decided by 1 or 2 points, Rubio’s ballot presence could be the key to Florida’s electoral votes.”

Still, the president continues to perform well in a state that Romney must win to have a shot at winning back the White House, and attitudes toward the president's handling of the economy are improving over past surveys.

"This positive movement on perceptions about the direction of the country over two consecutive polls is solid evidence that things are looking better to those who weren’t sure in the last poll,” said Paleologos. “An acceleration of this number is the trajectory that Obama could ride to reelection as people tie the economy to his incumbency in a positive way.”