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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Q poll: 43 percent undecided about Gov. Scott, give mixed reviews on his budget plans



Florida voters barely like Gov. Rick Scott more than they dislike him, but they strongly favor two of his budget plans: Cutting taxes and making state workers contribute to their pensions, according to a new poll.

The survey from Quinnipiac University, however, shows that voters slightly disapprove of his plan to layoff 5,500 employeee, or about 5 percent of the state workforce.

Still, voters favor most of Scott’s policies, which are more popular than the governor himself.

The poll shows 28 percent view him favorably, while 24 percent viewing him unfavorably. A plurality of voters – 45 percent – say they haven’t heard enough about him.

Also, voters like Scott’s job performance more than him – 35 percent approve and 22 percent disapprove.

“‘Too soon to tell,’ many Florida voters are saying about their new governor one month into his term,” said Quinnipiac pollster Peter A. Brown.

Voters were much more supportive of their new governor in 2007, when a Quinnipiac poll found that 69 percent approved of the job-performance of Charlie Crist, who called the Legislature into special session and stabilized property-insurance rates. By contrast, Scott is still getting on his feet and has yet to appoint all of his agency heads.

But voters have high hopes. About 56 percent say their optimistic about the next four years under Scott, with 29 percent expressing pessimism. A majority of voters say they’re also dissatisfied with their current situation, and 94 percent say the situation over Florida’s budget – which has a $3.62 billion shortfall next year – is serious.

Scott’s most popular policy: His decision to take a $1 salary and pay for his own travel with his own private jet.

By a 53–6 percentage-point margin, voters say that makes them have a more favorable view of the independently wealthy political newcomer.

By a percentage-point margin of 64-28, voters say state workers should contribute to their pensions, just like private-sector workers.

Voters also like Scott’s talk of cutting property and business taxes to lure jobs, with 50 percent saying they favor the plan and 43 percent disapproving. And by 52–34 percent, voters say they’d prefer to cutting services rather than taxes. Yet voters by a 58–26 percent margin don’t think Scott will be able to make good on the promise.

Scott has been neutral on whether he’d support expanding gaming to increase state revenues. But Florida voters like the idea by a 56-43 percent margin.

Scott has garnered criticism from some reporters for his relative inaccessibility when compared to Crist, and 58 percent of voters say Scott’s accessibility to the media affects their view of him. But 58 percent say Scott has been accessible enough.

Unlike Crist, Scott barely beat his Democratic rival and was battered in the Republican primary beforehand. As a result, the number of voters who refused to cast a ballot in the governor’s race doubled in 2010 compared to 2006, according to a new state report. Scott also won fewer votes than U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, even though he was in a three-man race.

“Interestingly, he has a better rating for his job performance than when voters are asked if they view him favorably or not,” Brown, the pollster, said. “This may reflect the negativity of the campaign and the omnipresent charges by his opponents questioning his honesty as a corporate executive.”

The Quinnipiac University telephone survey of 1,160 registered voters has a 2.9 percent error margin and was conducted from Jan. 25-31 Download 020211 FL GOV + BP contributed to this report 


[Last modified: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 10:09am]


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