The Washington Times - March 21, 2013, 10:18AM

Florida voters overwhelmingly would chose former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for president in 2016 over the state’s two highest profile Republicans, former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, a new poll shows.

Mrs. Clinton leads Mr. Bush by a margin of 51 percent to 40 percent, and bests Mr. Rubio 52 percent to 41 percent, according to the results of a Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters released Thursday.


Mrs. Clinton, a Democrat, also is viewed much more favorably than either man; 62 percent of the survey’s respondents view her favorably while 33 percent don’t, compared with a 50 percent to 35 percent favorable-unfavorable rating for Mr. Bush and 41 percent to 34 percent for Mr. Rubio.

None has declared a candidacy for the next presidential election.

“If (Mrs. Clinton) decides to make the race, she begins with a sizable lead in a state that Republicans cannot win the White House without,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Florida voters have a very positive view of Mrs. Clinton and it’s not just Democrats who feel that way.”

Mrs. Clinton is viewed favorably by 26 percent of Republicans, and has a 57 percent to 35 percent favorable/unfavorable rating among independents. Not surprisingly, she gets 93 percent to 5 percent rating among Democrats.

President Obama remains slightly above water in Florida, with 50 percent of voters approving of his job performance, while 45 percent disapprove.