We’ll take a diversion from 2012 and take a look at 2014 for a second here.
It’s interesting that a Democratic pollster, Public Policy Polling (PPP), finds Governor Scott’s approval ratings on the rise. Scott is now within the margin of error in their Scott (41%) v Crist (44%) poll. This comes after months of polls showing either Scott losing in hypothetical matchups or having very low approval ratings. Most of the improvement comes from Independents, who are now split at 43-43 on Governor Scott, up from 26-60 in June. Scott has also been on a statewide fundraising spree, collecting tons of cash for his “Let’s Get to Work.” The improving polling trends and fundraising, if they continue to march in this direction, will make Scott a formidable opponent to whoever the Democrats nominate, even if it is Republican turncoat Charlie Crist. See portions of the PPP poll statement below.
Scott’s improvement is a combination of a rise in his support from independents and his own party. Independents now split on him, 43-43, when they were at 26-60 in June. That is over half his improvement. The rest comes from Republicans, who now sit at 64-27 on their governor, versus 53-31. He has still upset too many of his own partisans, but he is coming back to safer territory. Democrats have not budged at all and probably won’t ever; they fall at 13-77.
Scott was so unpopular in June that he was down 12 points to an almost unknown challenger who has already announced her bid to oppose him in 2014 (Nan Rich). And we have routinely found him trailing badly to his predecessor Charlie Crist, if he were to become a Democrat, which he is quite clearly in the process of doing. But now Scott has pulled to within three points of Crist in a hypothetical match-up (44-41).
Even though Democrats are the most enthusiastic about Crist becoming a Democrat–56% of them think he should, versus 31% of Republicans and 32% of independents–and though they like Crist (50-31 favorability) a lot more than they do Scott, Scott still slightly outperforms his approval numbers across the aisle when pitted against Crist. He gets 16% of their vote, versus 13% approval. He was only getting 7% of Democrats against Rich.
Crist does get a bit more crossover support than Scott does, at 19% of his former party. But Scott leads 43-40 with independents. When we last polled the two head-to-head eight months ago, Crist wholloped Scott by 23 points (55-32), thanks to Crist’s 25% of Republicans and a 20-point lead with independents (52-32).
Part of Crist’s decline against Scott is his own personal numbers. His 41-41 favorability split overall is down from 48-33 last November. That includes declines across the board, but particularly with the independents who now favor Scott. He has slipped 17 points on the margin with them, and they now actually dislike him, 36-44.
As for Scott’s lieutenant governor Jennifer Carroll, who was recently accused of having an affair with a female staffer, most voters have no idea who she is. 73% have no opinion of her, and those who do split at 14% favorable and 13% unfavorable.
For the full polling results, see here.