December 19th, 2012
08:56 AM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Florida voters give Gov. Scott low marks

(CNN) – Following an election marked by long lines, voter registration problems and delayed results in Florida, the state's governor continues to struggle with low approval numbers, according to a new poll.

Defending questions about the state's handling of Election Day, Republican Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday on CNN he was simply complying with the law.

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"When you're governor you've got to comply with the law and that's what I did, but we do need change," he said on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."

According to a Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday, 45% of voters in the Sunshine State disapprove of the job Scott's doing in office, while 36% approve. Elected in 2010, Scott is now entering the second half of his term but more than half of voters–52%–say he doesn't deserve a second four-year term.

Interestingly, while 55% of Republicans say he deserves to be re-elected in 2014, 53% of GOP voters say they would like a different Republican to challenge him in a GOP primary.

Since May 2011, Quinnipiac polls have showed Scott has failed to top 41% in his approval ratings. His disapproval ratings have been higher than his approval marks each time the survey has been conducted.

"Gov. Rick Scott's ratings with voters are just plain awful. The numbers cannot be sugar-coated," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "When voters in a politician's own party want him to be challenged in a primary by another candidate, it's difficult to see it as anything but outright rejection."

Florida made headlines on Election Day after some waited in voting lines for hours at a time, even after the president had been declared winner. The battleground state was also the last undecided state in the presidential contest. CNN projected that Obama won Florida on the Saturday following Tuesday's election.

"People are frustrated in our state," Scott said Wednesday. "We've got to restore confidence in our elections."

He added that he has asked his secretary of state to sit down with supervisors of elections, to get "feedback" on "what went wrong."

"We need to have bipartisan legislation that deals with three issues: One is the length of these ballots," he said, showing an example of a 12-page ballot. "This took some people 40 minutes to get through."

Scott also said the state needs to look at more flexibility on the size of their polling locations and the length of the early voting calendar. Some criticized the governor for not extending the number of days for early voting, but Scott said he was simply going with what the law stated.

"We had an election bill that was passed my first year in office by the legislature. It was approved by the Justice Department, so I complied with the law," he said, again pointing to the need for bipartisan group to look at making changes in voting legislation.

In June, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit that sought to stop the state of Florida from purging voters from registration rolls. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Florida program, which would remove names from the state's voter rolls in the key battleground state just a few months before the 2012 presidential election, clearly violated voter registration laws.

Scott, however, contended at the time that the move was necessary to remove the names of non-citizens from the lists, and polls showed that a majority of Florida voters approved of the measure.

The Quinnipiac poll also measured favorability ratings for former Gov. Charlie Crist, who served as a Republican but then became an independent in a failed U.S. Senate bid in 2010. Earlier this month, he officially switched to the Democratic Party, stoking speculation he may seek another gubernatorial or Senate bid.

According the survey, 47% of voters have a favorable view of Crist compared to 33% who don't feel the same way. Meanwhile, Scott is viewed favorably by only 31% of voters, and 43% hold unfavorable opinions about the governor.

Alex Sink, the 2010 Democratic nominee who barely lost to Scott two years ago, holds less name recognition than Crist. Fifty-seven percent of voters say they haven't heard enough about her to form an opinion, while 27% view her favorably and 14% view her unfavorably.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,261 registered voters by telephone from December 11 through December 17. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: Charlie Crist • Florida • Polls • Rick Scott
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    You voted for him Florida Republicans, despite his checkered past.
    Whatcha gonna do about it? I already know, you're gonna re-elect him.

    December 19, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  2. v_mag

    Like a dying star, the Repugnant Party seems to be exploding in its death throes. Republican politicians are everywhere doubling their bets on positions that have proven time and again to be losers. They make statements wildly at odds with the facts and common sense, and they continue to migrate to the fringes.

    When a star dies, it makes a futile last gasp and explodes, and nothing would be more appropriate for the Party of No than an atomic implosion and a fade to black. The end should come sooner rather than later for the benefit of the rational world.

    December 19, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  3. SMJ

    Scott is horrible! Can't wait to vote champion of Medicare and voter fraud out of office in 2014!! He bought the election in 2010...it won't happen again!

    December 19, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F

    When the snow birds have done more for Florida's economic growth than governor Rick Scott, it is time for him to go. He has to hire and bus people in to get applause. Crist in 2014!

    December 19, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  5. Chuck

    It's time to elect a governor from the Democratic Party that will give the State of Florida some political balance.

    December 19, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. plain&simple

    Lame,inept and feeble have been necessary qualities for do nothing governing for too long.....and Rick Scott is an exemplary leader in these departments!!! Makiing Florida proud each day in office.

    December 19, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  7. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Get real. Scott has had low marks as governor since a week after his Inauguration.

    December 19, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    Gov Rick Scott should come clean and admit that the long lines were a GOP/Tea Party attempt to suppress Democrat votes.

    December 19, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  9. Kelby in Houston, TX

    The good people of the Great State of Florida should know that the "long lines, voter registration problems and delayed results in Florida" was all part of Gov Scott's plan. This was a coordinated effort to help Mitt Romney win the state of Florida. The believed that by making it more difficult to vote they would discourage those would come out and vote for President Obama.
    Governor Rick Scott and the Republicans were WRONG

    December 19, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. Wake up People!

    Only in America do people continue to elect these incompetent GOP governors. It seems like the only requirements for the position are white, male, and completely insane. Perry, Scott, and the vag probe guy just a few of the totally incompetent right wing nut jobs.

    December 19, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  11. Karl Jonas

    Buh bye Scott! Here comes Charlie Crist to evict you...

    December 19, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  12. Joi Gibson

    I live in South Florida and have for most of my fifty-something years and let me tell you this, the man is a fool. He simply cannot justify what happened on Election Day. The Republican legislature changed the voting times, he championed it and approved it, now for him to say it needs to be looked into is disingenuous. When he was asked to extend voting times after the lines were so outrageous, he simply said no. Well guess what Lurch, come 2014, we Floridians are going to say NO to you. You are an embarrassment. Even the Supervisors of Election in quite a few counties ignored you and did what they could to accommodate the citizenry. You, sir, did just the opposite. Under him and his free market crap, home insurance rates have increased by hundreds of dollars. His transgressions are too many to count. This man is in over his head. He obviously was better at ripping off Medicare and then taking the Fifth. He is an abomination as a governor and I can't wait for his time to be over. Come on Charlie Crist!!!

    December 19, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  13. Just a thought

    Ok Floridians ....Finally you see the problem with this guy. Get him out as soon as you can!

    December 19, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  14. James Bond

    Huge crook, biggest medicade fraud case ever, ran by your governer, heres your sign

    December 19, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  15. rs

    Well that is logical. Scott worked hard to deny voters their rights, pretty much a GOP philosophy since they'll never win election on the popular front with their wacky party platform.

    December 19, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. James Bond

    You would be hard pressed to find a man with less regard for the citizens of usa, how did this guy get elected? this, like his fraud case, he just doesnt seem to have answers for, both were innocent mistakes, im sure

    December 19, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  17. nothing new here

    Vote this guy out of office.
    He had done more to trample on the Constitution and individual rights than the "liberals" that he constantly whines about.
    Boo hoo – whiner.

    December 19, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  18. The REAL Truth...

    "When you're governor you've got to comply with the law and that's what I did, but we do need change"... I guess that extends to voter role purging (whether you are dead or not, but as long as you are a registered Dem, or non-white) and other voter suppression attempts such as the "solution-looking-for-a-problem" VoterID laws submitted by the Grand Obstructionist Party in a variety of states.... hmmm... that worked well didn't it.
    Yes, we do need change.. figure out for yourselves where that needs to happen...

    December 19, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  19. James Bond

    The only reason the gop will primary him is because he has to take blame for their tactics, wake up, any republican governer will follow the ideaology stipulated to them by their puppetmaster billionaires, they only fear the super pacs, that is who they recognize as their bosses, not you, not me, just money. nice, help me give them the boot please

    December 19, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  20. James Bond

    What didnt tou like cnn? the truth will not be denied, people will vote democratic once they open their eyes

    December 19, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. Just a thought

    He looks as feeble minded has his supporters....we can't have the sunshine state led by such a dim wit

    December 19, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. Just a thought

    The State of Florida needs to get rid of this goof ball. Only those that support idiocy would side with this doofus

    December 19, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. Just a thought

    What a terrible excuse for a governor. Thank goodness smart Floridians are coming around to the idea of getting rid of this loser. Of course there are those that support him...you can't help stupid is what we always say.

    December 19, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  24. teachemwell

    No surprise...would not give Soledad O'Brien a straight answer this morning regarding any legislative changes in the light of Newtown tragedy. Real tap dancer!

    December 19, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  25. James Bond

    Rick snyder is of the same ilk, said he would not touch right to work, then screwed us, bye mr. snyder, your all done here, cops and firemen cant save you, typical right wing crap, put the word right in the name and the idiots will think their benefiting from it, it actually takes rights away, the last thing we can afford

    December 19, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |