Quinnipiac University released a new poll today with a headline that includes: “…Gov’s Grades Are Low, But Best Ever.” This description gave many republicans in Florida reason to jump for joy. However, those that were spinning this poll as good news for Gov. Rick Scott failed to read the actual crosstabs. This poll shows that Gov. Scott has an undoubtedly bumpy road ahead in his attempt to be reelected in 2014.
In a head-to-head match-up Crist leads Scott by 10%, but this isn’t the most concerning aspect of this poll for Gov. Scott.
One of the most important questions in this poll asks registered voters whether Rick Scott deserves to be reelected.
Only 35% of registered voters in Florida feel Rick Scott deserves to be reelected, 35% of Independent voters, 37% of Hispanic voters, and an incredibly low 29% of women feel he deserves to be reelected. These numbers should be very concerning to Florida republicans and Gov. Scott, especially the low numbers from women, which represent approximately 52% of the expected electorate in the 2014 general election.
Now, let’s take a look at the favorability of Gov. Scott.
His overall favorability has increased over the past year, but he is garnering much of his support from Republicans, with an extremely high 74% favorable rating in that subgroup. It is interesting to note that though 74% of Republicans find him favorable, only 63% of Republicans feel he deserves to be reelected. Again, let’s focus on Independents, Women, and Hispanic registered voters. 38% of Independents, 35% of Women, and 34% of Hispanics find Rick Scott favorable, this is not good news for Rick Scott. Also important to note, 29% of Black voters, and 26% of Hispanic voters “haven’t heard enough about him” to give an opinion. These two subgroups represent a significant problem for Rick Scott going forward, as voters become more aware of the upcoming election and are bombarded with messages illustrating the negative policies that Gov. Scott has embraced since becoming governor.
The favorability ratings of Charlie Crist show a dramatic difference when compared to Gov. Scott’s.
Crist is +19% net favorable among Independents and Hispanics, and is +23% net favorable among Women. Charlie Crist is the anti-Rick Scott in terms of favorability, he has wide appeal among all subgroups except Republicans. And even among Republicans, 27% have a favorable view of him despite the relentless attacks by the Republican Party of Florida. An interesting number in Crist’s favorability numbers is that 36% of Hispanics “haven’t heard enough about him” to give an opinion. This a very fruitful subgroup for Crist to focus on, to extend his overall favorability.
And now let’s look at the head-to-head matchup between Crist and Scott.
Crist has a 10% lead on Gov. Scott overall, a 12% lead among Independents, a 19% lead among Women, and a 7% lead among Hispanics. Again, of note is the large amount of Hispanic voters (24%) that are not sure who they are supporting in this match-up. Furthermore, voters under the age of 55 support Crist by a wide margin, and a large voter registration drive focused on college campuses would benefit Crist immensely where 18-34 year olds support Crist over Scott by a +16% margin. Another interesting section of this crosstab is the “annual household income” subgroups, surprisingly those making over $100,000 per year support Crist over Scott by a +13% margin, while those in the $50,000 – $100,000 household income level support Scott over Crist by a +3% margin. Crist could cut into this margin by distinguishing his policies that would help the middle-class, compared to that of Scott’s which has pushed for corporate tax giveaways, huge incentive packages for companies to move to Florida without any accountability for actually producing jobs, and Scott’s recent signing of a bill that bans local governments from implementing paid sick-leave time that helps working families.
So far this poll has a ton of bad news for Rick Scott, but this might be the worst news of all. The Republican Party of Florida has been attacking Charlie Crist for changing political parties, and arguing it shows that he doesn’t have any core principles and cannot be trusted. This tactic does not resonate with registered voters in Florida, especially among Independent and Hispanic voters.
Independents see Crist’s change in party affiliation as a positive thing by a +8% margin, and Hispanics, by a very large margin (+25%) view it positively. Usually when there are continued attacks on a political candidate, the messages used in the attacks are viewed negatively by a majority of voters and/or the recipients of the attack messages. Not so, in this case. Basically, Republicans “attacking” Crist for his political evolution is inevitably helping Crist being viewed more positively by very influential subgroups. The irony is palpable.