More dismal numbers for Rick Scott in Quinnipiac poll; Crist leads by 16 pointsby George Bennett | March 20th, 2013
But they don’t like Scott.
A new Quinnipiac University poll released this morning is full of bleak numbers for the governor. Only 36 percent of Florida voters approve of Scott’s job performance, with 49 percent disapproving. Only 32 percent say he deserves a second term in office. He’d lose to Democrat Charlie Crist by a 50-to-34 percent margin if the 2014 election were held today. He’d lose to 2010 opponent Alex Sink by a 45-to-34 percent margin.
The Quinnipiac poll comes a day after the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling released a survey that found 33 percent of Florida voters approving and 57 percent disapproving of Scott’s performance. That poll found Crist leading Scott 52-to-40 percent in a 2014 match-up.
Scott’s vulnerabilities have fueled some speculation that he could be challenged in a GOP primary next year. Therein lies some of the only good news for Scott in the new poll. Pitted against Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam, Republican voters prefer Scott by a 47-to-24 percent margin.
Other good news for Scott: Voters favor his proposal for across-the-board teacher pay hikes by a 74-to-21 percent margin, and they agree with his proposal to expand Medicaid by a 50-to-40 percent margin. And while Scott’s overall approval rating is 13 points under water, the state legislature’s score is even worse, with 52 percent disapproving and only 25 percent approving.
Scott’s approval/disapproval score of 36/49 compares to 36/45 in a December Quinnipiac poll. His best score came last May, when 41 percent approved and 46 percent disapproved of the way he handled his job.
Crist is viewed favorably by 49 percent of Florida voters and unfavorably by 30 percent. If he runs for governor in 2014, the former Republican can expect to be attacked as a party-switching opportunist who campaigned as a conservative as recently as 2010.
But voters don’t appear to hold Crist’s repackaging against him.
In the new poll, voters were reminded of Crist’s recent partisan journey and given this question: “Some people say this is a positive thing because it shows he is a pragmatist who can change with the times and issues. Other people say it is a negative thing because it shows he has no core beliefs. Which comes closest to your view of Charlie Crist?”
Fifty percent called Crist’s change a positive thing, with 40 percent calling it negative. Independent voters viewed Crist’s switch positively by a 51-to-36 percent margin.
The survey of 1,000 registered Florida voters was conducted March 13-18 and has a 3.1 percent margin of error. The Republican sample of 353 voters has a 5.2 percent margin of error.