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New Q-poll: More than half of Floridians want a new guv, GOP primary could hurt Scott

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 by Dara Kam

More than half of Floridians say Gov. Rick Scott doesn’t deserve another term, according to a new poll released by Quinnipiac University this morning.

And the poll showed that Scott, who is planning to run for reelection, could have problems with a primary challenge. More than half of GOP voters – 52 percent – said they would prefer another candidate instead of the incumbent, the poll found.

And Scott’s approval rating among Florida voters remains dismal, the latest poll found.

Florida voters disapprove 45–36 percent of the job Scott is doing, and more than half of the voters surveyed – 52 percent – said he does not deserve a second term, compared to 30 percent who say he should be reelected in 2014.

Scott’s ratings “are just plain awful,” pollster Peter A. Brown said in a press release.

“The numbers cannot be sugar-coated,” Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said. “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.”

By a 55-29 percent margin, voters said they wanted another candidate to challenge Scott in two years. And GOP voters felt the same way, with 53 percent saying they wanted another candidate compared to 30 percent who supported Scott. Republican voters did give Scott a 63-19 percent job approval rating and 55-26 percent said he deserves a second term.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist, who recently made a high-profile party change and became a Democrat and is considering a run for governor, has a 47-33 percent favorability rating. Not surprisingly, he’s got a negative rating – 28–56 percent – among Republicans, the poll found.

That’s compared to Scott’s a 31-43 favorability rating among voters. Democrats and independent voters view Scott unfavorably while slightly more than half of Republicans view him favorably. Democrats view him unfavorably by a 60-16 percent margin, independents by a 25-48 percent margin while Republicans give him a 55-18 percent favorable rating.

Alex Sink appears to have faded in voters’ memory since her 2010 loss to Scott. More than half – 57 percent – of voters haven’t heard enough about her to form an opinion, compared to 27 percent who view her favorably and 14 percent who view her unfavorably.

The poll of 1,261 voters using land lines and cell phones was conducted from Dec. 11-17 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.

Mack works tailgaters at FSU, UF games on bus tour

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012 by John Kennedy

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack made his way through a crush of garnet-garbed tailgaters Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, ending the opening day of a six-day bus tour at the Florida State-Clemson football game.

Also posing for pictures and shaking hands at the stadium was Josh Romney, one of Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney’s five sons. ‘Noles for Romney-Ryan’ bumper stickers were being distributed by supporters.

Earlier Saturday, Mack had campaigned in Gainesville, working the crowd outside the Florida-Kentucky game in the afternoon. But his race with Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson was never far from his mind.

“It looks good,” Mack said about his chances, despite polls showing him well behind the two-term incumbent. Macksaid he is banking on undecided voters — who number in the 10 percent range in most polls — as his key to a come-from-behind win.

“Polls we’ve done are better, much better,” Mack said. “But the undecideds also are trending Republican, and that’s good.”

Still, Mack also has seen his popularity ratings tank in various surveys. The six-day bus tour, which heads Sunday to Jacksonville, may help soften the image Nelson TV spots have enhanced, casting Mack as a spoiled senator’s son. Mack’s father held the same seat for two terms from 1989-2001.

“It all helps,” said

Connie Mack IV meets fans outside FSU game

Mack, who will campaign Sunday with David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association.

Mack also took issue with Nelson for so far refusing to take part in a CNN debate planned for Oct. 30 and another proposed for Oct. 23 from the University of Florida.  The rival campaigns have agreed on only one debate, an Oct. 17 Leadership Florida-Florida Press Association sitdown scheduled for Davie.

“We’re saying come debate us anywhere, anytime. I’m sure he’s going `Ahh, I’ve got a lot of money in the bank and some of the public polling have us up and we don’t want to make a mistake,” Mack said. “I think the people of Florida are saying, ‘we want to know what the two candidates are all about.’”

Mack, who refused to debate his Republican rivals before the Aug. 14 primary, drew a distinction with his approach. “Our closest opponent was 35 points behind us….we’re in a much more competitive race than we had in the primary.”



Trailing in polls, Mack gets on the bus

Thursday, September 20th, 2012 by John Kennedy

Republican U.S. Senate nominee Connie Mack IV, who a new Fox News poll shows is running  double-digits behind Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, will spend the next week bouncing across Florida on a bus, the campaign announced Thursday night.

Mack will launch his six-day “Freedom Tour” Saturday in Gainesville. While steering clear of South Florida, Mack will spend plenty of time next week in such Republican strongholds as Jacksonville, the Orlando area and the Panhandle. Various VIPs are expected to join him at select stops, the campaign said.

The tour comes on the heels of a Fox News survey showing Mack trailing Nelson by 49-35 percent. The poll was conducted Sept. 16-18, with 829 Florida likely voters surveyed. One of the more revealing sections showed Mack losing 14 percent of Republican voters to Nelson, a crossover the GOP candidate is clearly trying to pull back to his side.

Fox also reported President Obama ahead of Republican Mitt Romney 49-44 percent. Mack has acknowledged that his Senate prospects are hinged largely on whether Romney can win Florida.

Polls in recent weeks show Nelson comfortably ahead of Mack.

Voters like Scott a little more, approve drug-testing of welfare recipients

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick Scott’s popularity among voters grew a little over the past month, a new poll by Quinnipiac University found.

The poll released Wednesday found half of voters disapproved to his performance as governor, compared to 37 percent who approved. That’s about a two percent increase from a month ago, and an uptick from May when the first-term governor had his worst showing with 29 percent approval.

Voters still believe by a 48-41 percent margin that Scott’s budget was unfair to them, another improvement from August, when voters thought by a 51-43 percent margin his spending plan was unfair.

Voters were split by 37-37 percent when asked if they like Scott as a person, compared to a 45-34 dislike in the August 5 poll.

Scott’s improvement comes after the governor launched a PR campaign to better explain his policies to voters, pollster Peter Brown said.

“Gov. Rick Scott has been trying to put on a charm offensive – both in changing how he deals with the news media and spending more time meeting ordinary Floridians from around the state. It appears to be working, at least a little,” Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling institute, said in a press release. “During his first six months in office Gov. Scott alienated the news media and did not make the effort to explain his program to the general public, as he has been doing recently.”

The Q poll also found a large majority of voters — 71 percent — also approve of a new law requiring welfare recipients to pass drug tests to receive benefits. That law is currently being challenged in court.

Scott popularity rises but voters remain unhappy

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick Scott’s popularity is on the rise but the first-term governor has a long way to go to convince voters he’s doing what they want, a new poll released this morning found.

The Quinnipiac University poll found Scott’s approval rating climbed to 35 percent, up 6 percentage points, since May.

But the survey of registered voters found more than 50 percent of Floridians still don’t like Scott’s policies or his handling of the state budget, and more than three-fourths don’t know that the budget did not raise taxes.

And the survey found that even voters who approve of Scott’s accomplishments in theory don’t know what he’s accomplished, and many don’t like him personally.

The poll showed voters approved by a 58-29 percent margin a budget approach that cuts only spending rather than a combination of spending and tax hikes. But more than three-quarters of registered voters who responded to the poll did not know that Scott’s budget did not raise taxes. And more than half – 51 percent – said the state budget is unfair to them, compared to 33 percent who found it fair. The poll also found that voters dislike Scott’s policies by a margin of 54-34 percent; forty-two percent of those polled said the budget cuts went too far, 20 percent said they did not go far enough and 25 percent agreed with the cuts.

“It would seem that Gov. Rick Scott and his aides have failed to get their message out,” Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown said.

Read the full story here.

Scott, Haridopolos name new chiefs

Friday, June 24th, 2011 by John Kennedy

A shuffle at the highest reaches of state government began Friday, with Gov. Rick Scott naming a veteran legislative insider as his chief-of-staff and Senate President Mike Haridopolos also choosing a well-known Capitol name to manage his office.

As expected, Scott chose Steve MacNamara to succeed retired Army Col. Mike Prendergast as his chief-of-staff, plucking MacNamara from Haridopolos’ office, where he served in a similar capacity. Prendergast, who had been working for the first time in state government, earlier this week was named executive director of Florida’s Veterans’ Affairs Department.

MacNamara, though, brings to the governor’s office a wealth of Capitol experience. With polls showing the governor’s popularity at a stunningly low levels and the state’s economy still sluggish, MacNamara will likely be tasked with initiating policies that help Scott elevate his political game — and support from Floridians.

“My goal is to make Florida the number one state in the country for job creation and I believe Steve MacNamara is the best choice to direct my team in that endeavor,” Scott said.  “His experience and political skill will be an asset to all Floridians as we continue to position Florida as an economic leader.”

MacNamara is a former chief-of-staff to then-House Speaker John Thrasher, and served as an agency head under former Republican Gov. Bob Martinez. He also earlier served as a Senate staffer on redistricting — the once-a-deacade process lawmakers began again this month — and is a tenured professor at Florida State University.

Succeeding MacNamara in Haridopolos’ office is Craig Meyer, another longtime Capitol staffer who, most recently, was director of the Senate’s budget committee as it worked to offset a nearly $3.8 billion budget shortfall.

Scott’s office lost two key players this week, with adviser Mary Anne Carter also announcing she was leaving the administration by the end of June.  It’s uncertain whether Carter’s position will be filled, but other changes could be coming within the executive office and Senate president’s shop.


Bin Laden bounce? Obama’s approval up in Florida; Nelson has big Senate lead

Thursday, May 26th, 2011 by George Bennett

President Obama‘s approval rating is back above water in a Quinnipiac University poll released this morning. Floridians approve of Obama by a 51-to-43 percent margin, up from a 44-to-52 percent score last month.

It’s Quinnipiac’s first Florida survey since Obama ordered the May 1 raid in Pakistan that killed Islamist terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.

“Whether these numbers represent a ‘bin Laden bounce,’ President Barack Obama’s popularity is up in Florida, which will be a crucial state for him in the 2012 campaign,” said Quinnipiac’s Peter Brown. “The good news for the president is that by 50 – 44 percent Florida voters say Obama deserves a second term in the Oval Office, compared to April when they said 51 – 42 percent that he did not.”

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, meanwhile, holds leads of at least 20 percent in hypothetical match-ups against each of the three Republicans vying to challenge him in 2012: Mike Haridopolos, George LeMieux or Adam Hasner.


Florida’s political past and present collide: Scott to join Crist for portrait unveiling

Monday, April 18th, 2011 by John Kennedy

Florida’s recent political past and present will collide this afternoon, when Gov. Rick Scott joins Charlie Crist at the Capitol for the unveiling of the former governor’s portrait.

The style of Crist’s portrait is expected to remain a secret until its unveiling, during an event scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.  But details which could have been included in the likeness of Florida’s 44th governor were mockingly cited during last month’s annual capitol Press Skits.

Crist could be depicted with his finger in the air, and a copy of a Quinnipiac University poll by his side, a line from a faux news broadcast suggested.  That would be a homage to the governor’s ability to respond to when, as he once famously put it, “things change.”

But while many saw Crist driven by popularity over principle, Scott is miles from his predecessor on the approval meter. Quinnipiac — in its most recent survey — found Floridians’ dislike for Scott has doubled since February. And while Crist claimed 70 percent approval ratings at this early stage in his term, Scott’s is half that — 35 percent.

So what?

Well, with the Legislature in its final three weeks, Scott’s political mandate could well be tested by lawmakers who so far have shown only middling interest in giving the new administration what it wants.

New poll shows Sink and Scott in dead heat, Rubio in the lead

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 by Dara Kam

A new CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corp. poll shows Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat, and GOP opponent Rick Scott tied in the race for governor.

The survey shows Scott with the backing of 47 percent of likely voters and Sink with 45. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

The poll also showed Sink with a one percent edge among all voters, a drop of seven points from early this month.

Scott held a 13-point advantage with independents likely to vote, with 50 percent said they were likely to cast a ballot for the former health care executive compared to 37 percent who said they’d vote for Sink.

In the three-way U.S. Senate race, the poll found Republican Marco Rubio in the lead with the support of 42 percent of likely voters, independent candidate Gov. Charlie Crist with 31 percent and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, a Democrat, with 23 percent.

New poll shows Scott hits 50 percent mark with voters, 6 point lead over Sink

Friday, September 24th, 2010 by Dara Kam

A new Rasmussen poll shows GOP gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott with a six point lead over Democrat opponent Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.

The telephone poll found that 50 percent of likely voters said they will cast their ballot for Scott with Sink getting 44 percent.

Rasmussen Reports now shifted the race from a toss-up to leaning Republican in its latest Election 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard.

Earlier this month, Sink had a slight edge over Scott, with a 48 to 47 percent lead.

Both polls included “leaners,” likely voters who initially respond that they have no preference for either candidate but when asked again say they prefer a particular candidate.

A Mason Dixon poll released yesterday showed Sink with a 7 point lead over Scott. That poll of likely voters gave Sink 47 percent of the vote compared to 40 percent for Scott, with 11 percent undecided.

Rubio tops Crist 47-44 in latest Quinnipiac poll; “Who would have thunk it?” says pollster

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 by George Bennett

UPDATE: Crist shrugged off the poll results this morning, telling reporters that his main responsibility was to govern and “fight for the people.” Rubio’s campaign sent out a press release announcing the results, but did not offer a reaction.

Marco Rubio, who once trailed Gov. Charlie Crist by 31 points in polling on the 2010 Republican Senate primary, now has a narrow lead in the race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this morning.

The poll shows former Florida House speaker Rubio with 47 percent to Crist’s 44 percent among Republicans, a lead within the poll’s margin of error.

The poll also finds Florida voters disapprove of President Obama’s job performance by a 49-to-45 percent margin.

In hypothetical general election matchups, Rubio tops Democratic Senate front-runner Kendrick Meek by a 44-35 margin while Crist tops Meek 48-36.


One day, two polls, two views of potential Rubio-Meek Senate matchup

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 by George Bennett

As noted Wednesday morning, Quinnipiac University’s latest Florida poll finds former House Speaker Marco Rubio narrowing the gap from 29 points in August to 15 points now in his Republican U.S. Senate primary race against Gov. Charlie Crist.

That poll found Crist with a comfortable lead in a hypothetical Senate matchup against Democratic frontrunner Kendrick Meek, but found Meek with a narrow lead in a Meek-Rubio matchup.

A Rasmussen poll of Florida voters released later in the day finds Crist with 14 point lead over Rubio in a GOP primary, down from 22 points in August.

Rasmussen has Crist leading Meek by 12 points (compared to 20 points in the Quinnipiac poll). And while Quinnipiac gives Meek a 36-to-32 percent lead over Rubio, Rasmussen finds Rubio beating Meek, 46-to-31 percent.

Obama popularity plummets 11 points, Q-poll finds; health reform a no-go

Thursday, August 20th, 2009 by Dara Kam

Worries about President Obama’s health-care proposals have contributed to his plummeting popularity among Floridians, according to poll results released Thursday, leaving him in a virtual tie between those who approve and disapprove of his performance.

Obama’s 47-percent approval rating among likely Florida voters was the lowest in the nation of any poll conducted by Quinnipiac University. The president’s approval rating in Florida dropped 11 points since June, the poll found.

In Thursday’s results, 48 percent of likely Florida voters disapproved of Obama’s performance. The survey had a margin of error of 3 percent.

The poll also found that nearly three out of four Floridians don’t trust Obama to keep his promise to reform health care without increasing the federal budget deficit.

On the other hand, the poll found that a majority of voters — 58 to 36 percent — support creating a government-backed health insurance plan to compete with private insurers, despite protests from opponents who liken the concept to socialism.


McCollum tops Sink for governor in latest Q-Poll

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 by Dara Kam

Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum edged out Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat, by 38-34 percent in the latest Quinnipiac University poll. Twenty percent of the state’s likely voters polled remain undecided.

That flip-flops Sink’s 38-34 percent lead among likely Florida voters two months ago. Sink remains relatively unknown to Floridians, according to the poll from Aug. 12-17 of 1,136 likely voters. Nearly two-thirds of those polled said they don’t know enough about her to have an opinion of her job performance.

McCollum and Sink are both leaving office after one term in pursuit of the governor’s mansion. Gov. Charlie Crist is also vacating after one term to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, who stepped down before his first term in Washington is complete.

The poll also shows Crist with a healthy 55-26 percent lead over GOP primary opponent, former House Speaker Marco Rubio. In June, Crist held a 54-23 percent margin over Rubio.

Senate poll: Crist 54, Rubio 23; Dems little-known

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 by George Bennett

The latest Quinnipiac University poll of Florida voters shows Gov. Charlie Crist with a 54-to-23 percent lead over former state House Speaker Marco Rubio in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Among Democratic voters, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek leads the field with 18 percent. More than half of Democratic voters are undecided. Eighty percent of Floridians, including 74 percent of Dems, say they don’t know enough about Meek to form an opinion.

Among all Florida voters, Crist has a higher job-approval rating (62 percent positive, 28 percent negative) than President Obama (58-35).

Click here to read the entire poll.

Taken June 2-7, the poll doesn’t include former New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith, who recently launched a Republican campaign for Senate.

Polls: voters like unions, love secret ballots

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 by George Bennett

As Congress gears up for a debate over the labor-backed Employee Free Choice Act, unions are touting a a new Gallup poll that finds 53 percent of Americans favor a law “that would make it easier for labor unions to organize workers.”

Beyond that fuzzy concept, however, it appears voters in Florida are uncomfortable with a key aspect of the proposed legislation.

The bill would make it easier for unions to form by allowing them to bypass current requirements that employee votes on whether to unionize be conducted by secret ballot. Instead, a union could form if a majority of workers sign authorization forms.

A new Florida poll commissioned by foes of the congressional bill finds that 86 percent of the state’s voters favor a proposed state constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to cast a secret ballot in all elections, including employee votes on whether to unionize.

To read the polling memo, click here.

House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Boca Raton, is heading efforts to get the constitutional question on the Florida ballot in 2010. If Congress passes the Employee Free Choice Act and Florida voters approve the secret-ballot amendment, courts would likely decide which measure would take precedence in Florida.

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