TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott's approval rating has ticked up to 37 percent but still ranks among the worst of any swing-state governor polled by Quinnipiac University.
Heading into a three-day Republican Presidency 5 powwow in Orlando, the poll released Wednesday morning shows that half of all Floridians disapprove of the job Scott is doing. That compares to a 35 to 52 percent split on Aug. 5.
"Gov. Scott certainly has a long way to go till he can see the break-even point, but his ratings that dropped to awful are now just bad," said Peter Brown, assistant director at the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's approval rating was 49 percent, unchanged from the August poll.
Before a clemency board meeting Wednesday, Scott was asked what factors might have contributed to the inching up of his poll numbers, which he had not seen.
"I don't know," he said. "What I'm focused on is jobs. I'm focused on the things I ran on to get us back to work."
After Scott's approval rating dropped to 29 percent in May, he replaced many of his closest advisers, hired longtime Tallahassee operative Steve MacNamara as chief of staff and tried to overhaul his image. He wears an open collar instead of a jacket and tie and has embarked on so-called work days, making doughnuts, serving food in a cafeteria and working on a naval base.
The charm offense seems to have helped Scott's standing among women, who are now split 36 to 36 percent when asked if they like Scott as a person. In August, 47 percent said they did not like Scott.
On job approval, 70 percent of Republicans now give Scott a thumbs-up, compared with 61 percent in August. Disapproval among Democrats has climbed to 82 percent from 78 percent in August.
Just 35 percent of voters say they approve of Scott's policies.
On the state budget, Scott's top issue, 41 percent say it's unfair, up from 33 percent last month.
One of Scott's programs that polls well is drug testing applicants for cash welfare assistance.
The latest survey shows 71 percent of Floridians — including 90 percent of Republicans — support the new law. The law is being challenged in court, where opponents contend it is an unconstitutional government search.
The Sept. 14-19 poll of 1,007 registered voters had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
Times/Herald staff writer Steve Bousquet contributed to this report.