July 2012 Florida Decides Poll: Gov. Scott's low approval ratings

Last Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012, 11:08 AM EDT

Originally posted Saturday, July 14, 2012.

Gov. Rick Scott's recent attempts to improve his popularity may not be working as well as he had hoped.

An exclusive Florida Decides statewide poll found the governor is still struggling with approval from Florida voters, with only 40 percent giving him a positive job approval rating.

Fifty-one percent said they're not happy with Scott's performance as governor and 9 percent remain unsure.

Scott is getting his lowest approval from the southeast part of the state, where the region shows a 57 percent disapproval rating. Central Florida voters are above the state numbers with 44 percent approving of the job he's doing compared to 46 percent who disapprove.

Republican analyst Chris Ingram said the challenge for Scott is that he's giving Floridians what they need, not necessarily what they want.

"In terms of fiscal responsibility and restraint and holding down the line on taxes and spending, And those aren't always popular things but they demonstrate real leadership," Ingram said.

Women seem to have a lower regard for the governor than men, with 56 percent saying they're not happy.

Even among his own party, his ranking is relatively low. One quarter of republicans say they disapprove of Scott. He also has heavy disapproval among black voters.

Democratic analyst Ana Cruz said voters don't feel that they have a governor who is out for their best interest.

"Rick Scott does what Ricks Scott wants to do. And I don't believe that he's beholden to the Republican Party of Florida since he funded his own campaign," Cruz said.

She added that his relative newness doesn't help either.

"He's an unknown,” Cruz said. “He hasn't been around in public service or in Florida for that matter, as other politicians have been."

The governor has also made waves recently with his decision to purge voter roles of people who are non-U.S. citizens.

In April, state election officials sent out a list of more than 2,600 names to election supervisors. Since then, local supervisors have begun to remove 100 voters from the rolls for being non-U.S. citizens. The problem is many of those turned out to actually be citizens.

Despite the controversy over this move, 54 percent of Floridians polled support the voter purge. Only 35 percent are opposed and 11 percent remain undecided on the governor's decision.

The Hispanic voters polled are strongly in favor of the decision, while most black voters, 68 percent, oppose it.

Ingram said Scott just needs to build relationships and let people know he's sincere and he means business.

"If he's able to do that people will take a second look and he doesn't need to worry about these numbers two years before an election," Ingram said.

Poll Results:

QUESTION: Do you approve or disapprove of Rick Scott’s job performance as governor?

  APPROVE 
DISAPPROVE 
NOT SURE
STATE
40% 51% 9%
REGION
APPROVE 
DISAPPROVE NOT SURE 
North Florida
45% 49% 6%
Central Florida
44% 46% 10%
Tampa Bay
39%
52% 9%
Southwest Florida
47% 47% 6%
Southeast Florida
32% 57%
11%
SEX
APPROVE DISAPPROVE NOT SURE 
Men
46% 45% 9%
Women
35% 56% 9%
RACE
APPROVE DISAPPROVE
NOT SURE 
White
45%
47%
8%
Black
11% 78% 11%
Hispanic
40% 46% 14%
PARTY
APPROVE DISAPPROVE
NOT SURE 
Democrat
17%
76%
7%
Republican
65% 25%
10%
Independent
41% 50% 9%

QUESTION: Do you support or oppose the plan being implemented by Governor Scott and state elections officials to purge the Florida voter roles of persons who are non-U.S. citizens?

  APPROVE 
DISAPPROVE 
NOT SURE
STATE
54%
35% 11%
REGION
APPROVE 
DISAPPROVE NOT SURE 
North Florida
67% 23% 10%
Central Florida
53% 38% 9%
Tampa Bay
57% 34% 9%
Southwest Florida
57% 31% 12%
Southeast Florida
43%
43% 14%
SEX
APPROVE DISAPPROVE NOT SURE 
Men
62% 30%
8%
Women
47% 39% 14%
RACE
APPROVE DISAPPROVE
NOT SURE 
White
58% 30% 12%
Black
29% 68% 3%
Hispanic
60% 25% 15%
PARTY
APPROVE DISAPPROVE
NOT SURE 
Democrat
29%
55% 16%
Republican
80% 13% 7%
Independent
58% 35% 7%


QUESTION: Do you recognize the name ....?
(IF YES) Do you have a favorable, unfavorable or neutral opinion of ... ?


  RECOGNIZE - FAVORABLE
RECOGNIZE-UNFAVORABLE
RECOGNIZE - NEUTRAL
DON'T RECOGNIZE
Rick Scott
29%
37% 30% 4%


QUESTION: Do you approve or disapprove of Rick Scott’s job performance as governor?

  APPROVE 
DISAPPROVE 
NOT SURE
STATE
40%
51% 9%
REGION
APPROVE 
DISAPPROVE NOT SURE 
North Florida
45% 49% 6%
Central Florida
44% 46%
10%
Tampa Bay
39% 52% 9%
Southwest Florida
47% 47% 6%
Southeast Florida
32% 57% 11%
SEX
APPROVE DISAPPROVE NOT SURE 
Men
46% 45% 9%
Women
35% 56% 9%
RACE
APPROVE DISAPPROVE
NOT SURE 
White
45% 47%
8%
Black
11% 78%
11%
Hispanic
40% 46% 14%
PARTY
APPROVE DISAPPROVE
NOT SURE 
Democrat
17%
76% 7%
Republican
65% 25%
10%
Independent
41% 50% 9%


QUESTION: Do you support or oppose requiring Floridians to provide photo identification at the polls in order to vote in an election?

  SUPPORT
OPPOSE
UNDECIDED
STATE
82%
15% 3%
REGION
SUPPORT 
OPPOSE UNDECIDED 
North Florida
86%
9% 5%
Central Florida
83%
14% 3%
Tampa Bay
85% 13% 2%
Southwest Florida
88% 8% 4%
Southeast Florida
75% 23% 2%
SEX
SUPPORT OPPOSE UNDECIDED 
Men
82%
16%
2%
Women
82%
15% 3%
RACE
SUPPORT OPPOSE
UNDECIDED 
White
87%
12%
1%
Black
61% 34% 5%
Hispanic
77% 12%
11%
PARTY
SUPPORT OPPOSE
UNDECIDED
Democrat
71% 26% 3%
Republican
93% 6% 1%
Independent
86% 7% 7%


QUESTION: Do you support or oppose the plan being implemented by Governor Scott and state elections officials to purge the Florida voter roles of persons who are non-U.S. citizens?

  SUPPORT
OPPOSE
UNDECIDED
STATE
54% 35% 11%
REGION
SUPPORT 
OPPOSE UNDECIDED 
North Florida
67% 23% 10%
Central Florida
53%
38%
9%
Tampa Bay
57% 34%
9%
Southwest Florida
57% 31% 12%
Southeast Florida
43% 43% 14%
SEX
SUPPORT OPPOSE UNDECIDED 
Men
62% 30% 8%
Women
47% 39% 14%
RACE
SUPPORT OPPOSE
UNDECIDED 
White
58% 30% 12%
Black
29% 68% 3%
Hispanic
60% 25% 15%
PARTY
SUPPORT OPPOSE
UNDECIDED
Democrat
29% 55% 16%
Republican
80% 13% 7%
Independent
58% 35% 7%

The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida from July 9 - July 11, 2012. A total of 800 registered voters were interviewed by telephone. The margin of error is +/-3.5%.