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With Floridians Backing His Positions, Rick Scott's on the Rebound

August 21, 2011 - 6:00pm

A poll released Monday, unveiled by the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) and taken byMcLaughlin & Associates, finds Gov. Rick Scott on thecomeback trailwith voters in the Sunshine State.

Scott is still upside down in the poll with 37 percent of those surveyed having a favorable opinion of him while 47 percent see him as unfavorable. Despite a bitter primary against then-Attorney General Bill McCollum a year ago, Scott is commanding support from Republicans, with 56 percent of them seeing the governor in a favorable light and 27 percent seeing him as unfavorable. While Democrats hold Scott in low regard -- only 17 percent see him as favorable while 68 percent view him as unfavorable -- the governor is making inroads with independent voters. Of those surveyed, 47 percentsee Scott as favorable and 37 percent view him unfavorably. Scott did not do so well with ticket-splitters -- 34 percent see him as favorable while 51 percent view him unfavorably.

When it comes to Scotts job performance, the poll found that Florida voters are almost split even: While 45 percent approve of Scotts record as governor, 46 percent disapprove. Once again, Scott does well with his Republican base, with 65 percent backing his performance as governor while 26 percent disapprove of his time in Tallahassee. Scotts performance also wins the backing of independents, with 54 percent supporting it while 34 percent disapprove. Scott still does poorly with Democrats, with 23 percent approving of his performance in office while 68 percent oppose it. The governor also trails with ticket-splitters, with 50 percent disapproving of his performance in office while 41 percent approve it.

Scott is also facing something of a gender gap. Forty percent of males see Scott as favorable while 44 percent of them view him unfavorably. Only 34 percent of women view him favorably while 49 percent see him as unfavorable. The gender gap also emerges in regard to Scotts job performance. While 49 percent of men approve of Scotts record in Tallahassee, 42 percent disapprove; among women, 41 percent approve of Scotts record in office while 50 percent disapprove.

Certainly, the governors approval ratings have been low; however, these numbers are higher than other, recent polls and I think they will only continue to improve, said Ryan Tyson, the vice president of political operations for AIF.

The poll found that Florida voters are overwhelmingly backing Scott on the issues. With strong support from both genders and across all political classifications, 79 percent of those surveyed stand with Scott and back cuts to property and small-business taxes. Only 14 percent oppose the cuts.

Scott receives similar support in the new law requiring public employees to contribute to their own pensions: 76 percent of those surveyed back pension reform while 16 percent oppose it. Democrats offer the strongest opposition to pension reform but they still overwhelmingly back it, 73 percent to 21 percent.

The governors plan to have welfare recipientstested for drugs also wins the backing of Floridians across the board, 74 percent to 24 percent.

In looking to end tenure in public schools, 73 percent of those surveyed stand with Scott while 19 percent oppose it. Once again, Scotts position is backed by voters all across the political spectrum as the plan has the support of 82 percent of Republicans, 75 percent of ticket-splitters, 73 percent of independents and 66 percent of Democrats.

When you look at the numbers regarding his policies, you can see that people really like what Governor Scott is doing and what he has accomplished, said Tyson. Whats equally significant is that Floridians on all sides of the political aisle are generally in favor of the policies he has been advancing.

The poll of 600 likely Florida voters was taken on Aug. 8-9 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Reach Kevin Derby at or at (850) 727-0859.

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