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Floridians give Obama mixed grades

President Barack Obama receives middling reviews in a new Mason-Dixon poll of Florida voters, six months before they cast ballots in a high-stakes midterm election widely viewed as a referendum on the Democratic administration.

Statewide, 47 percent rate Obama’s job performance as “excellent’’ or “good,” while 53 percent describe it as “fair’’ or “poor,” according to the poll.

Obama has visited Florida four times since taking office.

The nation’s largest swing state faces a massive changing of the guard in 2010, with the governor’s office, all three Florida Cabinet seats and a U.S. Senate seat up for grabs.

The leading Republican candidates for Senate and governor, former House Speaker Marco Rubio and Attorney General Bill McCollum, respectively, are grounding their campaigns in criticism of the president’s economic and healthcare policies.

The May 3-5 survey of 625 voters has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Obama is most popular in Southeast Florida, where he receives high marks from 61

percent of the voters. He is viewed favorably by a majority of African Americans,

Democrats, voters under 35 and women. In contrast, 85 percent of Republicans and a majority of Hispanics, senior citizens and men rate him negatively.

Statewide, 19 percent rated Obama’s job performance “excellent,” 28 percent “good,” 19 percent “fair’’ and 34 percent “poor.”

Florida voters aren’t enthusiastic about two issues on the president’s agenda: immigration and Wall Street reform.

Only 39 percent favor legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to receive citizenship, while 45 percent are opposed and 15 percent are undecided. A majority of Hispanic voters — 63 percent — back immigration reform.

The immigration numbers suggest that Rubio — who has assailed the legislation considered by Congress in 2006 as “amnesty’’ — is, overall, on the majority side of the issue.

His two major rivals, Gov. Charlie Crist, running as an independent, and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, supported immigration reform.

Only 38 percent of the voters support Obama’s plan to more tightly regulate the financial markets, while 34 percent are opposed and 28 percent are undecided.

Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker called the large percentage of undecided voters “a strong indicator that Floridians are not aware of the details and impact of the proposal.”

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