Public Policy Polling’s first Florida survey of 2013 finds Rick Scott’s approval numbers on the decline and Democrats warming up to Charlie Crist, setting the stage for Florida to possibly elect its first Democratic Governor in 20 years next fall.
Scott’s approval rating is just 33%, with 57% of voters disapproving of him. Scott’s numbers had gradually improved over the course of 2012, but these numbers represent a regression from early November when he was at a 37/48 spread. Scott meets with near universal disapproval from Democrats (21/71) and independents (32/64) and is even on pretty shaky ground with Republicans (49/38).
Crist meanwhile is being embraced by Democrats. His favorability rating with them is 70/16. That’s a big improvement from early September when it was just 44/33. The party’s unified around him since his official switch last month. 52% of Democratic primary voters say they’d like for Crist to be their candidate for Governor next year, compared to 18% for Alex Sink, 13% for Pam Iorio, 4% for Buddy Dyer, and 1% for Nan Rich.
Crist would start out as the favorite in a showdown with Scott. He leads 53-39, most notably taking a whooping 29% of the Republican vote. He still has some residual appeal to Republican voters. Crist isn’t the only Democrat who could give Scott trouble for reelection though.
Sink (47/40), Iorio (43/39), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (44/42) all lead Scott in hypothetical head to head match ups as well. The only Democrats Scott outdistances are Rich and Dyer, both by narrow 41/37 margins. 42% is the highest level of support Scott can summon against anyone tested against him.
There’s some chance Democrats might not even get to run against Scott in the general election though. In general only 50% of Republican primary voters want Scott to be their candidate again next year, compared to 40% who would prefer someone else. He still hasn’t really won over the base voters who didn’t support him in the 2010 primary election, and that would leave him vulnerable to a potential primary change. We actually find him trailing in a head to head contest with Allen West, 38/37. And although he has a big lead he’s under 50% in a head to head with Pam Bondi as well at 49/25.
Scott squeaked by in one of the best Republican years on record in 2010, but at least at this early stage it looks like he would have a hard time doing it again in 2014.