Florida Republicans Give Marco Rubio and Rick Scott Good Marks

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: January 20, 2012 3:55 AM
Florida Republicans give high marks to freshman U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who rocketed to national prominence following his win over then-Gov. Charlie Crist during the 2010 election cycle, and offered a solid grade for Gov. Rick Scott.  

The poll, conducted by Harrisburg, Pa.-based Voter Survey Service (VSS), found that 77 percent of likely Florida Republican presidential primary voters see Rubio as favorable, while only 10 percent see him as unfavorable. Twelve percent of those surveyed have no opinion about Rubio.

 Marco Rubio
Scott did slightly worse than Rubio among Florida Republicans, but remained in solid shape with them. Fifty-nine percent said they approve of the job Scott is performing in Tallahassee while 23 percent said they disapprove of it. Seventeen percent said they are undecided on how Scott is performing. Scott won the Republican gubernatorial nomination after a contentious primary against then-Attorney General Bill McCollum in 2010. While Scott held off Democratic candidate Alex Sink in the general election -- the closest one in the 165 years Florida has been a state -- McCollum refused to endorse Scott after losing to him in the primary.

Jim Lee, president of VSS, stressed to Sunshine State News that Rubio and Scott are being held by Florida Republicans to different standards.

 Rick Scott
“Scott’s job is more as a ‘chief executive’ while Rubio is more of a ‘statesman.’  This means it’s unlikely Scott’s job approval will ever catch Rubio as long as Rubio remains personally popular,” Lee noted.

“My own sense is that people evaluate the effectiveness of their governor through the prism of their own economic conditions: are they better or worse off; are they employed, etc.?” continued Lee. “Unlikely for Rubio -- his personal appeal and leadership style will be more of a factor because it’s unlikely his voting record will be as closely scrutinized as Scott’s and people will not be as willing to blame Rubio for their everyday troubles.”

Lee compared the poll numbers to a Sunshine State News Poll taken in July and noted that both Rubio and Scott were doing better with Florida Republicans now than they did in the earlier poll.

“Scott’s job approval rating is up from 48-34 with GOP voters in July of last year," Lee told Sunshine State News. “This shows that he has increased his support somewhat. In comparison to other governors, Scott’s numbers are on par with Corbett (Pennsylvania) but not as strong as we have seen for Christie (New Jersey). Rubio, who was 60-16 (favorable/unfavorable) in July of last year, now also shows some improvement (at 77-10).”

The poll of 1,266 likely Republican primary voters was taken Jan. 11-14 and had a margin of error of +/- 2.75 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

VSS is the same firm that in 2010 conducted some of the most accurate polls taken of races in the Florida primary and general election. It has conducted hundreds of polls in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Delaware, Maryland, and other states across the nation. It is a leading survey research and political polling firm for GOP candidates for public office and a variety of corporate clients, trade associations, public relations firms and the media.

 rubio.senate.gov | Mark Wallheiser
The work it did in Florida in 2010, commissioned and reported by Sunshine State News, included polls on all races in the primaries and the general election -- some of them taken more than once, as issues and trends through the summer and fall shifted.

RealClearPolitics.com gave VSS/Sunshine State News a tip of the cap after the primary elections because its poll results, particularly in the surprise gubernatorial race, were nearly "spot on." The election ended with Bill McCollum at 43.5 percent, Rick Scott at 46.5 percent and the spread at plus 2.9 percent. The last VSS/Sunshine poll taken showed McCollum at 42 percent, Scott at 44 percent and the spread at plus 2 percent. No other polling firm came anywhere near Sunshine's result.

Lee has 17 years of polling experience and background as a former lobbyist for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and as a special projects coordinator for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He has a bachelor of science degree in political science from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., and he's a member of both the American Association of Public Opinion Research and the American Association of Political Consultants.

See the poll's crosstabs in the attachment below.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

Comments (3)

GOP healthcare plan is 'Die Quickly"
5:25PM JAN 26TH 2012
Let it be noted that ALL funding for Alzheimer's research was cut while Marco Rubio was Speaker. However, he did approve ALL of the money to go to the "Taj Mahal" courthouse. Obviously the Republican regime in Florida cares more about giving judges a luxurious place to work than they do about the lives of their constituents!!!
6:21PM JAN 24TH 2012
It is interesting 85% of Floridians want the illegal alien crisis ended but give Rubio high marks...they must have forgotten in 2008 he blocked all immigration legislation.....

Scott campaigned on supporting mandatory e-verify and now is quiet as a church mouse.......

Neither will get my vote in the future.......and I am a Republican
Andrew Nappi
6:33PM JAN 20TH 2012
Rubio continues to enjoy the good fortune of being overhyped and undervetted. The rabid anti Obama mood of 2010 allowed him to ascend in the polls merely by saying he would stand up to Obama from the Senate. The reality is he has supported Obama's renewal of the Patriot Act AND he has handed Obama complete domination over the 4,5.and 6th amendments by voting YES on the arrest and detention provisions of NDAA. Florida Republicans who are for the most part of of the Neocon strain, even those in denial, are too lazy to reconcile Rubio's record on Liberty to the constitution. If they did, they would find him severely lacking. Rubio makes a few grunts about fiscal responsibility and the tea drinkers are humored. In the meantime he is pushing for more war across the mid east and legislating away our liberty. The problem for many is they are too emotionally invested in this little pile they can't bring themselves to see he isnt the messiah they thought he was. Rubio is bad for individual liberty and bad for America.

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