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Q Poll: Rick Scott's ratings are "just plain awful," Charlie Crist most-popular possible challenger

From a press release:

Florida voters disapprove 45 – 36 percent of the job Gov. Rick Scott is doing, continuing his almost two-year run of negative scores, and, as he enters the second half of his term, voters say 52 – 30 percent that he does not deserve a second four-year term, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Voters say 55 – 29 percent, including 53 – 30 percent among Republicans, they would like another candidate to challenge Gov. Scott for the GOP nomination for governor in 2014, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Republicans, however, give Scott a positive 63 – 19 percent job approval rating and say 55 – 26 percent that he deserves a second term.

Among potential Democratic challengers to Scott, former Gov. Charlie Crist, who recently changed his party registration to Democrat after moving from Republican to independent in 2010, is the best-known, followed by Alex Sink, who narrowly lost to Scott in the 2010 November election.

“Gov. Rick Scott’s ratings with voters are just plain awful.  The numbers cannot be sugar-coated,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.   “When voters in a politician’s own party want him to be challenged in a primary by another candidate, it’s difficult to see it as anything but outright rejection.

“The only bad news for the Democrats from this poll is that these numbers might give a boost to an intra-party challenge to the governor that could produce a more electable Republican in November of 2014.  Obviously, the governor has almost two years to go until the election and anything is possible, but he faces a herculean task in changing public opinion to his favor.”

“It is worth comparing Gov. Scott’s numbers with those of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who like Scott won a narrow victory in 2010 and had a job approval in the mid-30s during 2011.  But Kasich now has a positive job approval among Ohio voters and seems to have turned things around,” Brown added.

Crist, elected governor in 2006 as a Republican, has a 47 – 33 percent favorability rating from all voters, including 65 – 10 percent among Democrats and 48 – 33 percent among independents, with a negative 28 – 56 percent among Republicans.

By comparison, Scott is viewed favorably by 31 percent and unfavorably by 43 percent of all Florida voters.  His ratings by party are 55 – 18 percent among Republicans, with negatives of 16 – 60 percent among Democrats and 25 – 48 percent among independent voters.

Ms. Sink is viewed favorably by 27 percent, and unfavorably by 14 percent, with 57 percent who haven’t heard enough about her to form an opinion.

Among four other possible Democratic challengers tested – Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, State Sen. Nan Rich and South Florida businessman Jack Seiler – none has a favorability score of more than 17 percent and the “don’t know enough” scores range from 76 to 93 percent.

The only other Republican tested was Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who many in the GOP think will run for governor someday.  He too is unknown, with 80 percent of voters offering no opinion and 13 percent giving a favorable opinion.  Among Republicans, the only ones allowed to vote in GOP primaries, Putnam’s favorability is 17 – 3 percent,

“The rejection of Scott appears to be driven more by policy than personality:  Voters like Scott as a person 36 – 32 percent, but they dislike his policies 52 – 32 percent,” Brown said.  “One bright spot – a total of 49 percent of voters are very or somewhat satisfied with the way things are going in Florida, higher than it’s been so far during Scott’s term.”

Other Florida politicians fare better.  Sen. Marco Rubio has a 52 – 30 percent approval rating and Sen. Bill Nelson gets a 51 – 31 percent score. The Florida State Legislature is in the same boat as Scott, with a negative 35 – 44 percent job approval rating.

From December 11 – 17, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,261 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.  Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research.