MIAMI, April 1 (UPI) -- A Florida newspaper poll shows Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, President Bush's younger brother, is hanging on to a big lead over his Democratic opposition, including former Attorney General Janet Reno, for the November election.
But The Miami Herald-St. Petersburg Times poll, conducted by Schroth & Associates in Washington, also shows his disapproval rating has risen in advance of his re-election bid.
Reno has a big margin over Tampa attorney Bill McBride and three other candidates in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary but still trails Bush 54 percent to 37 percent. That represents a gain from a 22-point deficit in another poll in January.
In the primary, she leads McBride 48 percent to 18 percent with state Rep. Lois Frankel getting 5 percent and state Sen. Daryl Jones 4 percent. McBride, however, has gained some ground against Bush, and trails 55 percent to 34 percent, nearly matching Reno's performance.
Bush's approval rating is 56 percent to 35 percent disapproval. In October 1999 the poll showed he had 59 percent approval and only 16 percent disapproval.
The poll also showed voters do not like Bush's education policies by a 51-40 margin. He has emphasized improving the state's education system, but critics contend he has made no move to reduce classroom crowding or increase teacher pay.
An earlier poll shows Florida voters are so unhappy with Florida's educational system they are willing to pay higher taxes to provide more money for education.
Reno's biggest drawback has been thought to be her decision to send 6-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez back to Cuba, but 61 percent of those polled said it did not matter and only a third said they would not vote for her for that reason.
Schroth sampled 800 voters between March 22-28. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
Bush is unopposed in the GOP primary.