April 6, 2011 - Florida Voters Turn Thumbs Down On Gov. Scott, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Back Drug Tests For State Workers Almost 4-1

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The number of Florida voters who disapprove of Gov. Rick Scott has more than doubled, pushing him from a positive 35 - 22 percent job approval February 2 to a negative 35 - 48 percent approval in a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Voters also say 53 - 37 percent that his state budget proposals are unfair to them.

Gov. Scott's proposed budget cuts go "too far," 47 percent of voters say, as 16 percent say they don't go "far enough" and 29 percent say they are "about right," the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds.

By 78 - 20 percent, voters say Scott's order that newly-hired state government workers undergo drug testing and that those already on the job be spot-checked is a good idea.

A proposal working its way through the Legislature that would end the government's practice of collecting union dues from state workers is a bad idea, voters say 47 - 43 percent. But voters support 74 - 22 percent the provision of that same bill which would require unions to get individual members' approval before using dues payments for political purposes.

Voters disapprove 57 - 39 percent of a new law that will tie teachers' pay to student performance on standardized tests, and split 47 - 47 percent on the part of that law that would eliminate tenure for public school teachers hired after July 1.

"While his approval rating is unchanged, Gov. Rick Scott's disapproval rating has jumped from 22 percent to 48 percent, perhaps not surprising given the magnitude of the changes he is proposing," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Today, Scott is a four-letter word to many Florida voters, but political popularity can change with time. The experience of Scott's predecessor, Charlie Crist, who had 70 percent approval ratings at this point in his tenure, shows how fickle public opinion can be."

"Nonetheless, the fact that Scott is as unpopular as the State Legislature, which has a 47 - 35 percent disapproval rating, is evidence of the depth of his problem. It is exceedingly rare for an unindicted governor or president to ever be seen as poorly by the electorate as his legislature or Congress," said Brown.

Voters disapprove 55 - 36 percent of the way Scott is handling the budget. They say 52 - 41 percent that Scott should not have pledged to balance the budget without raising taxes and by 64 - 24 percent they say he will not be able to keep that no-tax pledge.

Voters prefer 65 - 29 percent not raising any taxes and balancing the budget only through spending cuts, rather than raising some taxes in order to reduce the number of spending cuts.

"The one piece of good news for Gov. Scott seems to be that voters agree with his no- new-taxes strategy," said Brown. "Actually, there's another piece of good news: He has almost four years left to turn around public opinion."

Scott's problems run deeper among women, who disapprove of the job he is doing 55 - 26 percent, than among men who approve 45 - 41 percent. He gets a 58 - 25 percent approval among Republicans, but Democrats disapprove 74 - 12 percent and independent voters turn thumbs down 48 - 33 percent.

By 49 - 44 percent, voters say Scott's plan to cut $2 billion in property and business taxes is a bad idea.

"One key metric that Scott will need to turn around if he is to be successful politically is voter perception that his proposed budget is unfair to them," Brown said. "Men are split, saying 46 - 44 percent it is unfair but women find it unfair by 59 - 30 percent."

"It would be rare that a governor who is perceived by the electorate as unfair gets re- elected. A total of 95 percent of Florida voters say the state's budget problems are very or somewhat serious. They know something has to be done, but they want someone who treats them fairly in that process."

From March 29 - April 4, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,499 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.5 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%    58%    12%    33%    45%    26%    49%
Disapprove           48     25     74     48     41     55     36
DK/NA                17     17     14     18     14     19     15
 
                     North/                             Union
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   HsHlds
 
Approve              34%    34%    39%    38%    32%    29%
Disapprove           45     51     45     42     54     58
DK/NA                21     15     16     20     14     13
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Rick Scott is handling his job as Governor?
                     Apr 6   Feb 2
                     2011    2011
 
Approve              35      35
Disapprove           48      22
DK/NA                17      43
 
 
4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              35%    49%    24%    32%    40%    30%    39%
Disapprove           47     33     57     53     45     50     36
DK/NA                18     18     19     16     15     20     24
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Approve              37%    30%    40%    35%    30%
Disapprove           48     52     40     50     49
DK/NA                14     17     19     15     21
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job? (*Low Approve also 30% Jul 2010, Jun 2010)
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Apr 6   Aug 19  Jul 30  Jun 9   Apr 19  Sep 23  Aug 19  
                     2011    2010    2010    2010    2010    2004    2010*    
                                                                             
Approve              35      30      30      30      32      51      30      
Disapprove           47      56      54      53      51      34      56      
DK/NA                18      14      17      18      17      15      14      
 
 
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%     4%     1%     3%     3%     2%     4%
Smwht satisfied      36     52     23     34     40     33     47
Smwht  dissatisfied  34     26     40     35     31     36     29
Very  dissatisfied   26     16     34     27     24     28     19
DK/NA                 1      2      1      1      2      -      1
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Very satisfied        2%     3%     3%     3%     2%
Smwht satisfied      37     36     41     43     29
Smwht dissatisfied   28     31     35     36     38
Very  dissatisfied   30     28     19     17     30
DK/NA                 2      1      2      1      0
 
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
                     Apr 6   Feb 02  Jun 09  Apr 15  Feb 18  Feb 24  Apr 10
                     2011    2011    2009    2009    2009    2005*   2008
 
Very satisfied        3       3       6       3       3      15       5
Smwht satisfied      36      44      45      43      40      48      32
Smwht dissatisfied   34      34      33      34      33      22      34
Very dissatisfied    26      19      15      19      22      15      28
DK/NA                 1       1       2       1       2       1       1
 
 
13. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Rick Scott is handling the state budget?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              36%    58%    13%    37%    44%    28%    49%
Disapprove           55     33     80     55     47     63     42
DK/NA                 9      9      7      8      9      9      9
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Approve              33%    34%    41%    44%    32%
Disapprove           56     60     50     44     59
DK/NA                11      6      8     12      9
 
 
14. Do you think Governor Scott's proposals to balance the state budget are fair or unfair to people like you?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Fair                 37%    59%    14%    38%    44%    30%    51%
Unfair               53     31     76     52     46     59     39
DK/NA                10     10     10     10     10     11     11
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Fair                 37%    36%    44%    44%    29%
Unfair               54     56     45     44     59
DK/NA                10      8     11     11     12
 
 
15. 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         63%    60%    64%    61%    60%    65%    63%
Smwht serious        32     36     30     34     34     30     34
Not too serious       3      2      4      3      3      3      2
Not at all serious    1      -      -      1      1      -      1
DK/NA                 2      2      2      1      2      2      1
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Very serious         62%    61%    62%    60%    66%
Smwht serious        29     36     32     31     30
Not too serious       4      2      4      3      2
Not at all serious    1      -      1      2      1
DK/NA                 4      1      2      4      -
 
TREND: How serious do you think Florida's budget problems are very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious?
                     Apr 6   Feb 2
                     2011    2011
 
Very serious         63      64
Smwht serious        32      30
Not too serious       3       3
Not at all serious    1       1
DK/NA                 2       2
 
 
16. What do you think about the cuts in state spending that Governor Scott has proposed in order to balance the state budget? Do you think Scott's cuts in state spending go too far, not far enough or are they about right?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Too far              47%    26%    70%    48%    41%    52%    35%
Not far enough       16     24      7     16     18     14     21
About right          29     42     15     29     34     24     34
DK/NA                 9      8      8      7      7     10     10
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Too far              45%    50%    39%    39%    55%
Not far enough       14     14     20     21     14
About right          33     29     32     32     22
DK/NA                 9      7      8      9     10
 
 
17. Do you think that Governor Scott's spending cuts will help Florida's economy, hurt Florida's economy, or not make a difference?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Help                 33%    55%    11%    34%    42%    25%    47%
Hurt                 40     19     66     37     33     47     28
No difference        19     18     16     22     19     18     15
DK/NA                 8      8      7      7      6     10     10
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Help                 31%    36%    35%    44%    27%
Hurt                 43     41     35     33     45
No difference        18     18     21     18     18
DK/NA                 9      5      9      5     10
 
 
18. 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?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Good idea            59%    71%    39%    67%    67%    52%    69%
Bad idea             36     24     58     28     30     43     25
DK/NA                 4      4      3      5      4      5      7
 
                     North/                             Union
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   HsHlds
 
Good idea            55%    57%    64%    71%    55%    57%
Bad idea             39     39     32     24     41     38
DK/NA                 6      5      4      5      4      5
 
TREND: 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?
                     Apr 6   Feb 2
                     2011    2011
 
Good idea            59      64
Bad idea             36      28
DK/NA                 4       8
 
 
19. Governor Rick Scott has pledged that in trying to balance the state's budget deficit that he would 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                  41%    54%    33%    38%    43%    39%    43%
No                   52     40     62     55     51     54     52
DK/NA                 6      6      5      7      5      7      5
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Yes                  40%    37%    42%    49%    42%
No                   54     57     51     43     52
DK/NA                 7      5      6      8      6
 
TREND: Governor Rick Scott has pledged that in trying to balance the state's budget deficit that he would not raise taxes or fees. Do you think Rick Scott should have made this pledge or not?
                     Apr 6   Feb 2
                     2011    2011
 
Yes                  41      44
No                   52      48
DK/NA                 6       9
 
 
20. Do you think Rick Scott will be able to keep this pledge or not?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Yes                  24%    37%    10%    24%    29%    19%    29%
No                   64     47     81     65     59     69     59
DK/NA                12     15      9     11     12     12     12
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Yes                  22%    23%    25%    37%    20%
No                   67     66     63     54     66
DK/NA                11     11     12      9     15
 
TREND: Do you think Rick Scott will be able to keep this pledge or not?
                     Apr 6   Feb 2
                     2011    2011
 
Yes                  24      26
No                   64      58
DK/NA                12      15
 
 
21. 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            44%    62%    24%    45%    53%    36%    53%
Bad idea             49     33     68     49     43     55     41
DK/NA                 6      5      8      5      4      8      7
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Good idea            40%    39%    47%    50%    47%
Bad idea             56     53     47     41     46
DK/NA                 4      7      6      9      7
 
TREND: 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?
                     Apr 6   Feb 2
                     2011    2011
 
Good idea            44      50
Bad idea             49      43
DK/NA                 6       8
 
 
22. Which comes closer to your view regarding Governor Scott's budget proposal which cuts taxes and government spending: A)Taxes should not be raised, there should only be spending cuts or B)Taxes should be raised so that there will be fewer spending cuts.
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Only cuts            65%    79%    56%    59%    66%    65%    74%
Taxes/Fewer cuts     29     17     36     35     30     28     22
DK/NA                 6      4      8      5      5      7      4
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Only cuts            66%    64%    66%    70%    63%
Taxes/Fewer cuts     29     30     28     26     30
DK/NA                 5      7      6      5      7
 
 
23. Governor Scott has ordered drug testing of new state government hires and spot checks of existing state employees. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Good idea            78%    87%    65%    81%    79%    77%    84%
Bad idea             20     11     31     16     19     21     15
DK/NA                 3      2      4      3      3      3      1
 
                     North/                             Union
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   HsHlds
 
Good idea            77%    73%    82%    86%    75%    75%
Bad idea             21     22     17     13     21     21
DK/NA                 2      4      2      2      3      5
 
 
24. The legislature has passed and Governor Scott has signed legislation that will tie a teacher's pay to student performance. Do you approve or disapprove of this new law?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              39%    50%    19%    46%    48%    32%    47%
Disapprove           57     45     78     49     48     64     49
DK/NA                 4      5      2      5      4      4      4
 
                     North/                             Union
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   HsHlds
 
Approve              44%    35%    41%    54%    33%    27%
Disapprove           53     61     57     44     60     71
DK/NA                 2      5      2      2      7      2
 
 
25. This teacher bill will end tenure for public school teachers hired after July 1. Do you approve or disapprove of this new law?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              47%    59%    28%    55%    51%    44%    52%
Disapprove           47     35     68     37     44     50     42
DK/NA                 6      5      4      8      5      7      6
 
                     North/                             Union
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   HsHlds
 
Approve              49%    42%    53%    55%    42%    41%
Disapprove           44     53     40     39     53     54
DK/NA                 8      5      7      6      5      4
 
 
26. The legislature is considering a bill which would ban public-sector unions from using automatic payroll deductions to collect union dues and also would require that those unions get individual member's approval before using their payments for political purposes. How much have you heard or read about this bill: A lot, some, not much or nothing at all?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
A lot                20%    23%    15%    21%    27%    14%    21%
Some                 26     28     27     24     28     24     24
Not much             23     18     21     27     20     25     27
Nothing at all       31     30     36     27     25     36     27
DK/NA                 1      1      1      1      -      1      1
 
                     North/                             Union
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   HsHlds
 
A lot                16%    23%    18%    30%    19%    39%
Some                 25     25     21     23     32     24
Not much             30     22     22     23     18     14
Nothing at all       29     29     38     23     30     23
DK/NA                 -      1      1      1      -      -
 
 
27. The bill would ban public-sector unions from using automatic payroll deductions to collect union dues. Do you think that banning these automatic payroll deductions is a good idea or a bad idea?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Good idea            43%    58%    28%    43%    48%    38%    55%
Bad idea             47     33     64     46     44     50     37
DK/NA                10      9      9     11      8     12      8
 
                     North/                             Union
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   HsHlds
 
Good idea            45%    40%    48%    43%    39%    29%
Bad idea             45     52     39     50     52     68
DK/NA                10      8     13      7      9      4
 
 
28. The bill also would require that those unions get individual member's approval before using their payments for political purposes. Do you think that requiring individual member's approval before using payments for political purposes is a good idea or a bad idea?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Good idea            74%    82%    64%    76%    77%    71%    84%
Bad idea             22     15     32     20     20     23     12
DK/NA                 4      4      4      4      3      5      4
 
                     North/                             Union
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE   HsHlds
 
Good idea            74%    70%    77%    77%    73%    75%
Bad idea             21     26     19     20     23     23
DK/NA                 5      4      4      3      4      1