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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Poll: Sorry Marco, the GOP super stars of Fla are Rick Scott and Donald Trump

Scott and Trump took a selfie at Trump Tower in November

Tampa Bay Times

Scott and Trump took a selfie at Trump Tower in November



A newly released poll of Republican primary voters in Florida provides a healthy reminder to politicos inside the Tallahassee bubble that perceptions in the real world are very different from those in and around the Capitol. And to the legislative leaders mulling a run for governor, the Associated Industries of Florida poll should be humbling: You're a nobody outside Tally. 

What's it show? That among Republican primary voters, Rick Scott and Donald Trump are rock stars, with 81 percent of Republicans approving of both the president's and the governor's  job performance.

"Even with an endless, round the clock bombardment of negative coverage in the main stream media, the base remains unfazed in their approval of the President, giving him an 81% approval rating, with 56% strongly approving of the job he is doing as President. These numbers shouldn’t come as a surprise because A) these are primary voting Republicans and B) the President is only doing what he told the voters he would do," AIF's Ryan Tyson wrote of Trump, who enjoys a net 67 percent approval rating among Florida Republicans (81 percent approve and 14 percent disapprove).

"Similarly, the Governor is enjoying an identical sky high approval rating as the President but with 41% of those surveyed strongly approving of the job he is doing as Governor. In essence the Governor enters his second to last session with the highest marks from Republicans that we have tracked during his term."

Shocker. It seems flying from media market to TV market after market talking up your passion for creating jobs, is more effective than mocking the governor's conservative bona fides to a gaggle of reporters in Tallahassee every day.
Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who is looking at running for governor in 2018, may be dominating the Tallahassee press corps coverage and taking shots at Scott day after day, but a mere 16 percent of Florida Republicans have a positive view of the Land O'Lakes Republican, and 24 percent have no opinion.

Likewise, 14 percent had a favorable view of Senate President Joe Negron and 24 percent had no opinion. Ten percent had a favorable view of state Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater, another potential candidate for governor, while 38 percent had a favorable view of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, the early GOP frontrunner for governor.

Sixty-seven percent of the Republicans surveyed had a favorable view of Sen. Marco Rubio, and 22 percent viewed him unfavorably. Attorney General Pam Bondi had a strong 54/12 favorable/unfavorable rating. 

More from AIF's memo on the Feb. 14-17 telephone poll of 800 likely Republican primary voters (MoE +/- 3.46%):

We took multiple stabs at attempting to run through the policy issues that are dominating this session. And while we did find consensus over the Senate proposal to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee, it was more difficult to get the voter to comprehend a fair and accurate understanding of the economic incentive & Visit Florida debate.

 55% of those surveyed agreed that “The Florida legislature is spending our tax dollars wisely” but the support is soft with 44% somewhat agreeing with this sentiment.

 Overall awareness on these debates is low in this survey, regardless of how the question is tested. Furthermore, the nuances of the policy points used to better describe "incentives for job growth" vs "corporate welfare" are far too complex for decisive support for either position in this survey.

 When we described the two sides of the debate over Visit Florida & Enterprise Florida, the results were contradictory. In an effort to get a fair description of the debate, I’m afraid we ended up with a set of questions which were too difficult for the voter to comprehend on a phone, therefore we are not able to make any meaningful conclusions based on the results. This debate is contained within the beltway for now and talking points can easily get a voter to one side of the argument or the other.

 We did find unanimity in the messages we tested surrounding SB 10 and using tax money to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee. Primary voters are not supportive of bonding billions of dollars for these types of environmental projects and they especially oppose using eminent domain. 

AIF is a Republican-leaning business group focused on state issues. The poll did not include Democratic or third party affiliated voters, presumably because Republicans overwhelmingly control the agenda in Tallahassee. State leaders often have more to fear from Republican primary challenges than Democratic general election challenges

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 1:30pm]


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