October 1, 2010 - Despite Annoying Ads, Scott Leads In Florida Gov Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Obama Approval 16 Points In The Hole

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Republican Rick Scott holds a 49 - 43 percent lead over State Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the Democrat, in the race to become Florida's next governor, according to today's Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters whose overall low opinion of President Barack Obama appears to be dragging Sink down.

Scott's lead comes despite a television advertising campaign that voters say they find annoying, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey, conducted by live interviewers, finds. This first likely voter general election survey in Florida in this election cycle can not be compared with prior surveys of registered voters.

Although Scott holds a 6-point lead in the horse race, the candidates have almost identical favorability ratings from Florida likely voters: 39 - 39 percent for Sink and 41 - 40 percent for Scott.

Florida likely voters disapprove 56 - 40 percent of the job President Obama is doing. Democrats approve 83 - 15 percent, while disapproval is 92 - 6 percent among Republicans and 56 - 38 percent among independent voters.

"Rick Scott's millions in TV advertising may annoy voters, but it won him the Republican nomination and is pushing him to a 6-point general election lead," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"It's no surprise that Scott's campaigning and advertising has been trying to tie State CFO Alex Sink to President Barack Obama. The president's low ratings, especially among independents who are likely to decide the governor's race, are a problem for Ms. Sink's campaign."

"It's a fair bet that if the president had a 56 - 40 percent approval rating, instead of the opposite, Sink probably would be ahead," Brown added.

Although Sink could become Florida's first female governor, there is only a small gender gap in the matchup: Women support Scott 47 - 43 percent while men back him 50 - 42 percent.

Only 14 percent of likely voters who name a candidate say they might change their mind, including 16 percent of Sink backers and 13 percent of Scott supporters.

"There aren't very many undecided voters and relatively few who say they might switch their allegiance, which means this race is likely to be close until Election Day," said Brown. "Whichever side does the best job getting its people to the polls is likely to be the winner."

Scott's edge in the horse race may be tied to the public perception that he would be better able to rebuild the state's economy, 48 - 39 percent, than can Ms. Sink. On rebuilding the economy, Scott enjoys a 48 - 34 percent lead among independent voters.

Scott, a former health care executive, was a political unknown until last spring when he began the biggest television advertising campaign in Florida political history.

Among likely voters, 89 percent said they had seen Scott's TV ads and 54 percent of that group call the ads annoying, while 40 percent say they are informative. But 43 percent of likely voters say Scott's campaign advertising is "the right amount" while 38 percent call it "excessive," and 11 percent say "not enough."

Almost as many likely voters, 87 percent, have seen Sink's commercials. This group splits 47 - 46 percent on whether the ads are informative or annoying. More than half, 51 percent, say the Sink ad spending is "about right," while 17 percent call it "excessive" and 21 percent say it's "not enough."

From September 23 - 28, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,151 Florida likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed - http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

1. If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Alex Sink the Democrat and Rick Scott the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) If you had to choose today, would you vote for Sink or Scott? (This table includes Leaners).
                     LIKELY VOTERS.....................................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Sink                 43%     8%    87%    40%    42%    43%    21%
Scott                49     87      9     46     50     47     71
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -      2      1      2      2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
DK/NA                 7      3      4     12      6      8      6
 
                     PartOf        ANGRY WITH
                     TeaPartyQ25   StateGovQ26
 
Sink                 11%           42%
Scott                83            49
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2             2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -             -
DK/NA                 4             6
 
 
1a. Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.............................
                                                 CAND CHOICE Q1
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    AS     RS
 
Made up              85%    87%    91%    75%    83%    86%
Might change         14     12      9     23     16     13
DK/NA                 1      1      -      2      1      1
 
 
2. (If Sink voter) Is your vote for Governor mainly for Sink or against Scott? (*subgroups not large enough to report)
                     LIKELY SINK VOTERS................................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    *Rep   Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    *Evnglcl
 
For Sink             58%           67%    39%    54%    62%
Against Scott        35            27     51     39     30
DK/NA                 7             6     10      7      8
 
 
3. (If Scott voter) Is your vote for Governor mainly for Scott or against Sink? (*subgroup not large enough to report)
                     LIKELY SCOTT VOTERS...............................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    *Dem   Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
For Scott            64%    68%           62%    66%    61%    60%
Against Sink         29     25            29     26     33     33
DK/NA                 7      7             9      9      6      7
 
 
4. Is your opinion of - Alex Sink favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.....................................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            39%    13%    76%    33%    38%    41%    22%
Unfavorable          39     64     10     37     39     39     60
Hvn't hrd enough     19     18     13     27     19     18     15
REFUSED               3      5      1      4      4      2      3
 
                     PartOf        ANGRY WITH
                     TeaPartyQ25   StateGovQ26
 
Favorable            13%           36%
Unfavorable          69            51
Hvn't hrd enough     16            12
REFUSED               2             1
 
 
5. Is your opinion of - Rick Scott favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.....................................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            41%    72%     9%    39%    43%    38%    56%
Unfavorable          40     14     71     38     39     41     25
Hvn't hrd enough     17     12     20     20     15     18     16
REFUSED               2      3      1      3      2      3      3
 
                     PartOf        ANGRY WITH
                     TeaPartyQ25   StateGovQ26
 
Favorable            69%           41%
Unfavorable          20            45
Hvn't hrd enough      8            13
REFUSED               2             1
 
 
12. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you think would do a better job rebuilding Florida's economy, Alex Sink or Rick Scott?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.....................................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Sink                 39%     7%    81%    34%    38%    40%    19%
Scott                48     83      9     48     50     47     71
NO DIFF(VOL)          4      2      5      5      5      3      4
DK/NA                 9      7      5     13      8     10      7
 
 
13. Have you seen any of Alex Sink's television advertisements for this year's election for Governor?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.....................................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Yes                  87%    84%    91%    85%    85%    90%    90%
No                   12     14      9     14     14     10      9
DK/NA                 1      1      -      1      1      -      1
 
 
14. (Have seen ads q13) From what you have seen of Alex Sink's television ads, are they more informative or more annoying?
                     LIKELY VOTERS(SEEN ADS Q13).......................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Informative          47%    26%    73%    42%    46%    47%    32%
Annoying             46     66     22     51     47     46     61
DK/NA                 7      7      5      7      7      7      7
 
 
15. Thinking about the Sink campaign's amount of advertising on television, radio, and through mail, do you think Alex Sink's campaign advertising has been excessive, just about right, or not enough?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.....................................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Excessive            17%    20%     7%    22%    15%    20%    24%
About right          51     53     57     47     50     53     57
Not enough           21     14     29     20     24     18     10
DK/NA                10     13      6     10     11      9      9
 
 
16. Have you seen any of Rick Scott's television advertisements for this year's election for Governor?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.....................................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Yes                  89%    88%    89%    91%    88%    91%    89%
No                   10     10      9      8     11      8     11
DK/NA                 1      1      1      1      2      1      -
 
 
17. (Have seen ads q16) From what you have seen of Rick Scott's television ads, are they more informative or more annoying?
                     LIKELY VOTERS(SEEN ADS Q16).......................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Informative          40%    66%    15%    38%    40%    41%    57%
Annoying             54     28     80     56     55     53     37
DK/NA                 6      6      6      6      5      6      6
 
 
18. Thinking about the Scott campaign's amount of advertising on television, radio, and through mail, do you think Rick Scott's campaign advertising has been excessive, just about right, or not enough?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.....................................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Excessive            38%    20%    56%    41%    40%    36%    29%
About right          43     60     27     40     41     45     55
Not enough           11     12      9     13     11     12     12
DK/NA                 8      9      9      7      9      8      5
 
 
24. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.....................................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              40%     6%    83%    38%    37%    44%    16%
Disapprove           56     92     15     56     60     52     81
DK/NA                 3      2      2      6      3      4      2
 
                     PartOf        ANGRY WITH
                     TeaPartyQ25   FederalGovQ27
 
Approve               7%           17%
Disapprove           92            82
DK/NA                 1             1
 
 
26. I am going to mention four phrases and ask you which one best describes how you feel about the way the state government works. Do you feel enthusiastic, satisfied but not enthusiastic, dissatisfied but not angry, or angry?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.....................................
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Enthusiastic,         2%     3%     2%     1%     2%     3%     3%
Satisfied            32     30     36     34     31     33     30
Dissatisfied         48     50     46     46     50     45     49
Angry                16     14     14     17     16     16     17
DK/NA                 2      3      2      2      1      4      1