February 2, 2011 - Florida Voters Say Wait And See On New Gov, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; But They Don't Believe His No-Tax Pledge

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More Florida voters are taking a wait-and-see attitude on their new governor, Rick Scott, who gets a 35 - 22 percent job approval rating with 43 percent undecided, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. By 56 - 29 percent, voters are generally optimistic about the next four years with Scott as governor.

But Florida voters aren't thrilled with his plans to cut at least 5 percent of the state work force, calling it a "bad idea" 46 - 42 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Voters, however, say 64 - 28 percent that state workers should contribute to their pensions, which they do not do now.

Although by 52 - 34 percent voters say they prefer cutting services to raising taxes to meet the state's budget shortfall, they say 48 - 44 percent that Scott should not have promised to do so without raising taxes.

By 58 - 26 percent, voters don't think Scott will be able to make good on the promise.

Scott gets a 28 - 24 percent favorability rating from voters, while 45 percent say they don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

"'Too soon to tell,' many Florida voters are saying about their new governor one month into his term. Interestingly, he has a better rating for his job performance than when voters are asked if they view him favorably or not," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "This may reflect the negativity of the campaign and the omnipresent charges by his opponents questioning his honesty as a corporate executive."

Not surprisingly Scott gets much better job approval among Republicans, 52 - 11 percent, and independent voters, 33 - 18 percent, than he does among Democrats, who disapprove 39 - 18 percent. He does better among men, 38 - 23 percent, than among women, 33 - 21 percent.

Florida voters are convinced about the seriousness of the state budget problems, with 64 percent calling them "very serious" and another 30 percent labeling them "somewhat serious."

Despite their budget concerns they back Scott's plan to cut property and business taxes by about $2 billion, calling it a "good idea" 50 - 43 percent.

"Voters say they see a serious problem with the state's finances yet they aren't happy with the idea of laying off state employees to save money. And they back cutting taxes which will require even greater spending cuts to balance the budget," said Brown.

Scott, whose net worth is in the billions, has said he will only take a $1 salary and pay for trips around the state out of his own pocket. By 53 - 6 percent, voters say that makes them view him more favorably.

There have been numerous complaints from the news media that their access to Scott has been less than with past governors. More than half of voters, 58 percent, say the amount of access Scott has given has been about right, with 22 percent saying there hasn't been enough and 6 percent saying there was too much.

Asked how much their opinion about the governor is affected by his accessibility to the news media, 28 percent say "a great deal;" 30 percent say "some;" 22 percent say "not much" and 16 percent say "not at all."

"Although voters are basically split on his plans for state worker layoffs, they like his plan to have them contribute to their own retirement and the fact he is taking just a $1 salary," Brown added. "Voters don't seem concerned that portions of the news media have complained about their access to him."

From January 25 - 31, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,160 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

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, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Rick Scott is handling his job as Governor?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              35     52     18     33     38     33     44
Disapprove           22     11     39     18     23     21     11
DK/NA                43     36     42     50     39     47     45
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Approve              42     37     39     31     27
Disapprove           14     22     21     18     30
DK/NA                44     41     41     51     44
 
 
5. Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic about the next four years with Rick Scott as Governor?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Optimistic           56     77     35     56     55     57     70
Pessimistic          29     15     45     29     31     28     15
DK/NA                15      8     19     15     14     15     16
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Optimistic           61     61     56     68     45
Pessimistic          24     25     33     23     35
DK/NA                15     14     11      8     20
 
 
6. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Florida today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Very satisfied        3      5      2      2      2      3      4
Smwht satisfied      44     47     34     48     43     45     46
Smwht dissatisfied   34     33     39     31     32     35     38
Very dissatisfied    19     14     24     19     22     16     12
DK/NA                 1      2      1      1      1      1      1
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Very satisfied        4      2      3      3      3
Smwht satisfied      53     51     38     49     35
Smwht dissatisfied   27     29     39     28     39
Very dissatisfied    14     18     20     19     22
DK/NA                 2      1      1      1      2
 
TREND: In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Florida today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied? (*combined High also 63% Sep 2004)
                                                             VERY+SMWHT....
                                                             High    Low
                     Feb 02  Jun 09  Apr 15  Feb 18  Jan 21  Feb 24  Apr 10
                     2011    2009    2009    2009    2009    2005*   2008
 
Very satisfied        3       6       3       3       4      15       5
Smwht satisfied      44      45      43      40      42      48      32
Smwht dissatisfied   34      33      34      33      34      22      34
Very dissatisfied    19      15      19      22      20      15      28
DK/NA                 1       2       1       2       1       1       1
 
 
11. Is your opinion of Rick Scott favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            28     48      7     24     28     27     38
Unfavorable          24     10     46     20     23     24     10
Hvn't hrd enough     45     40     43     52     47     44     49
REFUSED               3      2      3      4      1      5      3
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Favorable            37     30     26     34     19
Unfavorable          17     22     23     23     32
Hvn't hrd enough     44     47     46     41     46
REFUSED               3      1      5      1      4
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Rick Scott favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Feb 02  Aug 19  Jul 30  Jun 09
                     2011    2010    2010    2010
 
Favorable            28      28      29      31
Unfavorable          24      40      30      22
Hvn't hrd enough     45      30      38      46
REFUSED               3       2       2       1
 
 
18. How serious do you think Florida's budget problems are very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Very serious         64     60     66     66     62     66     58
Smwht serious        30     37     26     28     30     30     36
Not too serious       3      2      5      3      6      1      5
Not at all serious    1      -      2      1      -      2      -
DK/NA                 2      1      2      2      2      2      2
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Very serious         55     63     66     62     69
Smwht serious        40     30     29     30     22
Not too serious       3      2      2      5      5
Not at all serious    1      1      -      3      1
DK/NA                 1      4      2      -      2
 
 
19. To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Raising taxes        34     24     47     36     34     35     23
Cutting services     52     70     31     52     56     48     66
DK/NA                14      6     21     13     10     17     11
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Raising taxes        35     28     28     37     43
Cutting services     51     56     53     59     47
DK/NA                14     16     19      4     10
 
 
20. To help balance the state budget Rick Scott has said that he will lay off at least five percent of the state work force. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Hsholds
 
Good idea            42     57     19     48     50     35     31
Bad idea             46     32     68     42     40     52     52
DK/NA                12     11     13     10      9     14     17
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Good idea            42     46     42     47     37
Bad idea             47     41     48     38     51
DK/NA                12     14     10     15     11
 
 
21. Governor Scott says that state workers, who currently do not contribute to their retirement funds, should pay part of the cost. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Hsholds
 
Good idea            64     72     51     69     68     60     57
Bad idea             28     21     39     25     26     30     35
DK/NA                 8      7     10      6      6     10      9
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Good idea            59     62     71     77     59
Bad idea             34     30     23     19     29
DK/NA                 8      7      6      4     13
 
 
22. There has been talk in Tallahassee of increasing legal gambling in Florida to help reduce the budget deficit. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Good idea            56     56     55     59     65     49     43
Bad idea             39     40     40     36     30     46     53
DK/NA                 5      4      5      5      5      5      4
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Good idea            56     62     48     55     61
Bad idea             38     33     47     43     35
DK/NA                 6      6      5      2      5
 
 
23. Governor Rick Scott has pledged that in trying to balance the state's budget deficit that he will not raise taxes or fees. Do you think Rick Scott should have made this pledge or not?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Yes                  44     52     32     43     48     39     53
No                   48     43     57     48     45     50     41
DK/NA                 9      5     11      8      6     11      6
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Yes                  40     51     42     47     41
No                   53     41     52     49     45
DK/NA                 7      8      6      5     14
 
 
24. Do you think Rick Scott will be able to keep this pledge or not?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Yes                  26     37     14     23     27     26     33
No                   58     50     69     62     60     58     51
DK/NA                15     13     17     15     14     17     16
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Yes                  25     29     27     27     24
No                   57     56     58     61     61
DK/NA                18     15     15     12     16
 
 
25. Governor Scott wants to cut about 2 billion dollars in property and business taxes to make Florida more attractive to businesses and attract jobs. Others say the state can't afford to lose the revenue. Do you think these tax cuts are a good idea or a bad idea?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Good idea            50     61     28     55     55     45     57
Bad idea             43     34     60     38     41     44     31
DK/NA                 8      5     12      7      3     11     11
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Good idea            52     54     46     54     47
Bad idea             41     39     48     38     44
DK/NA                 8      7      6      8     10
 
 
26. Governor Scott is taking a 1 dollar salary and has said he will pay for his flights around the state out of his own pocket. Do these things make you think more favorably of him, less favorably of him, or doesn't it make a difference?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
More favorably       53     65     38     51     50     55     72
Less favorably        6      3     13      4      6      6      2
Doesn't make diff    40     32     48     42     42     37     26
DK/NA                 2      1      1      3      2      1      -
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
More favorably       58     48     56     52     48
Less favorably        4      7      9      4      6
Doesn't make diff    37     44     33     44     43
DK/NA                 1      1      2      -      3
 
 
27. How much is your opinion of a Governor affected by how accessible he is to the news media - A great deal, some, not much, or not at all?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
A great deal         28     29     25     30     33     23     28
Some                 30     33     30     28     27     32     32
Not much             22     23     22     20     19     24     23
Not at all           16     13     16     17     16     15     14
DK/NA                 5      2      7      5      5      5      3
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
A great deal         30     22     29     28     30
Some                 28     34     31     27     28
Not much             18     24     25     20     21
Not at all           19     16     12     22     15
DK/NA                 6      4      3      3      7
 
 
28. Do you think Governor Scott has been too accessible to the news media, not accessible enough to the news media, or has Governor Scott's accessibility to the news media been about right?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Too accessible        6      4      6      7      5      8      4
Not accessible
 enough              22     14     30     24     25     19     18
About right          58     75     41     56     58     57     71
DK/NA                14      7     22     13     12     16      7
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Too accessible        7      7      3      2     10
Not accessible
 enough              19     20     23     22     24
About right          60     63     57     71     49
DK/NA                14     10     17      5     17