A new Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll shows Mitt Romney jumping out to his largest lead of the cycle over Barack Obama in Florida, 51%-43%. In April, he led by 5%.
Driving Obama's downward tilt? His bad approval rating of -15%.
Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are also dead-locked with Obama in the state, with Perry up by 1% and Bachmann down by 2%.
But for Romney, this is very good news, though not totally unexpected. He's been doing very well in Florida, even during Barack Obama's relatively good months.
According to the poll, Romney continues to hold a lead over the other GOP candidates in Florida at 28 percent, with Rick Perry coming in second at 21 percent and Michele Bachmann in a distant third at 13 percent. Though Perry has jumped ahead of the pack in national polls taken after his high-profile entry into the race, it looks like Romney could have a buffer of support in the Sunshine State against the overall Perry surge.
Florida remains an important early state in the primary process. The Romney campaign seems to understand this, having raised the most money among the candidates in Florida through the beginning of August. It's still several months before Florida Republican voters go to the polls, however, and such a small poll like this--only 300 likely GOP primary voters were surveyed--may not illuminate much. The fact that Romney is beating Obama among all 625 registered voters surveyed may say more about Obama's standing in Florida, a state he won only three years ago.