After a sometimes rocky economic mission to Spain, Gov. Rick Scott is scheduled to return stateside Thursday where he’ll be greeted by some better approval ratings in the latest Quinnipiac University poll.
The survey released Thursday shows Scott’s job approval among Floridians has topped 40 percent for the first time in the Quinnipiac poll — although by a 46-41 percent rating, more voters still disapprove of his performance as chief executive.
“Although (Scott’s) numbers aren’t that impressive, they are a step up for him – the first time he has gotten his approval rating out of the 30s since taking office,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
In the Quinnipiac poll, Scott’s previous best score was 50-38 percent disapproval in January, Brown said.
The Florida Republican Party has spent $1.2 billion since late March on a TV advertising campaign to promote Scott and his policies, with the spending all directed outside more costly South Florida. The latest poll shows Scott drawing his worst ratings in South Florida, where voters disapprove of the job he’s doing by 54-29 percent.
Although Scott’s not on the ballot this fall, Democrats are eager to lash him and his lackluster numbers to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Democrats say the recent TV campaign is aimed at softening Scott’s negatives.
The Quinnipiac survey also shows Romney now holding a 47-41 percent advantage over President Obama in Florida. Democrats disputed those findings, saying the Quinnipiac poll questioned too many Republican-leaning voters.
Scott’s trip to Spain may not have much effect on his popularity in Florida. But the governor was lampooned on Spanish television during his visit for awkwardly asking King Juan Carlos about his elephant-hunting expedition to the African nation of Botswana.
The monarch’s trip became known only after he broke his hip while in Botswana. In a nation wracked by soaring unemployment and crippling debt, the kingly junket was ridiculed as insensitive. Juan Carlos later called the trip a “mistake.”
Scott and his wife, Ann, peppered the King with questions about the Botswana hunting expedition during their brief meeting Wednesday. The exchange, and the king’s unease, was used to draw plenty of laughs on the Spanish TV program El Intermedio, an Iberian version of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Here’s a link to Scott on Intermedio. Disfruten! http://bit.ly/LteyRr