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PPP: Scott's popularity keeps dropping, even within his own party

Public Policy Polling obviously took this survey before last night's legendary LeBron show, concluding that the polarizing LeBron James is more popular than the governor. Nonetheless their findings on Gov. Rick Scott are interesting as they find that the governor's popularity in the midst of the voter purge is dropping, even within his own party.

Key point: "Scott’s undoing begins with dwindling support in his own party. Just 53% of Republicans approve of his job performance, down from 60% in April. 17% of Republicans would rather take their chances with unknown Democrat Nan Rich in the gubernatorial election than vote for Scott."

Tom Jensen, PPP director writes:

Several polls have shown now that Rick Scott would lose in 2014 if Charlie Crist became a Democrat and ran against him but our newest survey finds that Democrats might not need that high of a profile candidate to knock off Scott, at least if he remains this unpopular. 5% of voters in the state have a positive opinion of State Senator Nan Rich. Only 14% have even heard of her. And despite that she still leads Scott by 12 points in a hypothetical match up, 47-35.

Obviously that finding has a lot more to do with Scott than it does with Rich. His approval rating has sunk back down to 31%, with 56% of voters disapproving of him. One thing that hasn't done his popularity any favors lately is his push to eliminate some people from the voter rolls. Only 34% of voters approve of that effort to 50% who disagree with it.

Some people have compared Scott to Wisconsin's Scott Walker, saying he could have a similar sort of resurrection in his standing. But the lowest level of popularity Walker ever hit in our polling was 43%. That would be a record high for Scott if he ever got there.

-Like voters in most of the country Floridians are moving on gay marriage. They're still narrowly against it with 45% opposed and 42% supportive. But that three point margin represents an 8 point shift from last September when 48% were opposed and just 37% in support. This very much looks to be an Obama effect. Republicans and independents have moved very little on the issue but Democrats have moved 20 points from +15 support (48/33) to +35 support (61/26). The most dramatic movement has been among African Americans who've shifted 48 points from being opposed -30 in the fall (23/53) to now supporting it by 18 points (49/31). 72% of Florida voters support either gay marriage or civil unions, with only 26% opposed to any form of legal recognition. Even 61% of Republicans support some form of legal recognition for same sex couples.

-There are major partisan and racial divides when it comes to the attitude of Floridians toward the Heat and their playoff run. Overall 36% of voters in the state say they're rooting for the Heat while 28% say they are not, and 35% are not sure. Democrats are pulling for the Heat by a 47/23 margin, but Republicans say they are not by a 29/34 spread. The contrasts are more stark along racial lines. 75% of African Americans are pulling for the Heat to 10% who are not, but only 29% of whites want them to win while 31% don't.

Interestingly only 51% of Florida voters have an opinion about LeBron James (32/19) and that drops to 46% for Dwayne Wade (37/9) and 34% for Chris Bosh (25/9.) There are big divides along racial lines in all their numbers. James is at 26/20 with whites and 63/7 with African Americans. For Wade those breakdowns are 30/8 and 73/4 and for Bosh they're 18/9 and 61/4.

Here's their release: Download PPP_Release_MiscellaneousFL_060812[1]

Raleigh, N.C. – Ever since taking his talents to Tallahassee, Florida Gov. Rick Scott has had a tough time in the arena of public opinion.

In December, he was awarded the dubious honor of least popular governor in the country after polling a 26% approval rating. In the last statewide poll of his approval rating in mid-April, he polled at 34% approval. While his new approval rating—31%—isn’t the worst he’s ever polled, Scott may have finally hit rock bottom—he is now officially less popular than one of the most polarizing figures in American pop culture, 3-time NBA MVP LeBron James.

James, whose Miami Heat are vying for their second consecutive NBA Finals appearance and first championship since 2006, has a favorability rating of 32% among Floridians. Time—and wins and awards and highlight reel dunks—is proving to be an effective antidote for the maligned superstar. His favorability rating has improved 10 points since July, when Floridians were last polled on their opinion of the 8-time All-Star.

But things are far from getting better for Scott, who was elected with 49% of the vote in 2010. Nan Rich, minority leader of the Florida State Senate and the first declared Democratic 2014 gubernatorial candidate, already holds a 47-35 lead over Scott. To make matters worse, Rich carries just 14% name recognition in the state, giving credibility to the theory that literally anyone could beat Scott in 2014.

Scott’s undoing begins with dwindling support in his own party. Just 53% of Republicans approve of his job performance, down from 60% in April. 17% of Republicans would rather take their chances with unknown Democrat Nan Rich in the gubernatorial election than vote for Scott.

Scott is also struggling with women, with whom he has a 25% approval rating, and Independents (26% approval). Rich wins with Independents in a head-to-head matchup with Scott, 41-27. Scott’s drop in approval ratings and glum 2014 outlook comes as his voter-elimination efforts are beginning to surface (and be scrutinized) nationally.

A majority (50%) of Florida voters disapprove of Scott’s push to eliminate some people from the registered voter rolls. His effort is facing significant disapproval, despite only 5% of voters saying they know someone who has been removed from the registered voter rolls this year. 14% of Hispanics and 8% of African Americans say they know someone who has been scratched from the voter rolls this year, while only 3% of whites say they know someone.

Scott’s dismal reception in the Sunshine State may be turning Floridians against Republicans—Florida voters said they would vote Democratic over Republican 46-44 if there was an election for Congress held today. Independents would vote Democratic over Republican 40-38.

Florida voters are becoming more receptive to the idea of same-sex marriage. Floridians still think same-sex marriage should be illegal, but only by a 3-point margin (45-42), down from an 11-point margin (48-37) in October, when Florida voters were last polled on their opinion of same-sex marriage. 72% of Florida voters believe same-sex couples should either be allowed to marry or form civil unions, up from 69% in October. Once again, African American voters are leading the public opinion shift in favor of gay marriage. 49% of African Americans think same-sex marriage should be legal, up 26 points from October, and 66% believe in legalized same-sex marriage/civil unions, up from 50% in October.

While support for same-sex marriage or civil unions is undivided, Floridians’ support for LeBron, Dwyane Wade and the Heat is far from it. The Heat and their two superstars are divisive along a number of demographics, including race, age and political party. The most profound divide is along racial lines. 75% of African Americans are rooting for the Heat to 29% of Whites; 63% of African Americans have a favorable opinion of LeBron to 26% of Whites; and Dwyane Wade has a 73% favorability rating with African Americans to a 30% favorability rating with Whites.

Young people are more supportive of the Miami Heat. 43% of young voters (age 18 to 29) are rooting for the Heat, while just 31% voters over 65 rooting for the Heat. 44% of young voters have a favorable opinion of LeBron, while just 25% of voters older than 65 do. The same goes for Wade—44% favorability with young voters to 27% with voters over 65.

47% of Democrats are rooting for Heat to 29% of Republicans.

42% of Democrats have favorable opinion of LeBron to 23% of Republicans. Dwyane Wade is similarly divisive, with 47% favorability rating among Democrats to 27% favorability among Republicans.

Heat power forward and 7-time All-Star Chris Bosh has a 25% favorability rating in Florida, and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has a 20% favorability rating. Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, who was the focus of a drawn-out and theatrical trade controversy earlier in the season, is viewed favorably by 23% of Florida voters.

PPP surveyed 642 Florida voters from May 31st to June 3rd. The margin of error for the survey is +/-3.9%. This poll was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization. PPP surveys are conducted through automated telephone interviews.