Gov. Rick Scott received his highest approval rating and lowest disapproval since April, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
The new survey shows 35 percent of respondents approved of the way the governor is handling his job, compared to 52 percent who said they disapproved.
"Gov. Scott still has a long hike to parity in voter approval, but he has begun the trek," says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Whether it is the beginning of a serious move or just a blip, time will tell."
Then again, the poll also proved that 76 percent of its respondents are either uninformed or misinformed about what Florida's newest budget is all about.
The question was asked, "Do you think the new state budget signed by Governor Scott raises taxes or not, or don't you know?"
Just 24 percent of people knew that the Scott-approved budget does not raise taxes, which seems like it should be something Scott supporters and the anti-Scotts should both know.
Nineteen percent of those surveyed said they believed the budget actually raises taxes, while 57 percent responded that they didn't know.
On the very next question, people were asked which view they held about the Florida budget: Should it contain just spending cuts or a combination of spending cuts and higher taxes? On that one, 58 percent of people said they just wanted spending cuts -- which the governor followed through on, apparently unbeknown to the respondents to the poll.
"Given that voters say 58 to 29 percent they favor a budget approach that only cuts spending, rather than a combination of tax increases and spending cuts, it would seem that Gov. Rick Scott and his aides have failed to get their message out," Brown says.
Then again, faced with questions as to whether they liked Scott as a person or liked him because of his policies, 54 percent said they disliked him because of his policies, and 45 percent said they disliked him as a person.
The governor has been running a public relations campaign for himself even after he's been elected in the hopes of improving his image, including online advertisements and the dreaded robo-calls, but Brown says the best way for Scott to improve his image is to "convince voters that his budget was fair to average folks and make sure they know it didn't raise taxes."
Here's what Quinnipiac says are the "bad grades" on the governor's report card:
- Voters dislike his policies, 54 to 34 percent.
- Voters disapprove, 57 to 32 percent, of his handling of the state budget.
- 42 percent say budget cuts went too far, 20 percent say not far enough, and 25 percent say the cuts are about right.
- Voters say, 39 to 26 percent, that spending cuts in the budget will hurt rather than help the Florida economy.
- Voters say, 51 to 33 percent, that the new state budget is unfair to them.
Also, many of those surveyed are apparently hip to the Casey Anthony situation, since 83 percent said they support "Caylee's Law," which would make it a felony for a parent to not report his or her child missing in a timely manner.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.