Poll of GOP Voters: Legislature Did Not Help Rick Scott Get Florida Back to Work
Around the State
According to a poll unveiled Wednesday, Republican voters don't think their representatives in Tallahassee are doing enough to help Gov. Rick Scott get the Sunshine State back to work.
The poll, from Sunshine State Communications, a firm with connections to prominent Republicans, found that a strong plurality of Republican primary voters think the Legislature let Gov. Rick Scott down in his effort to bring jobs to the Sunshine State -- even though Republican supermajorities dominate both the House and the Senate.
When the session started in March, Republicans controlled 81 of the 120 seats in the Florida House and 28 of the 40 seats in the Senate. Most of the current leadership in the Legislature -- including Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, who is running in a crowded Republican primary to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012, and House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park -- backed then-Attorney General Bill McCollum over Scott in a heated Republican gubernatorial primary last year.
The poll found that 49 percent of those surveyed believe the Legislature didn't do enough to help the governor. While 36 percent of those surveyed were undecided, a mere 15 percent thought the Legislature did do enough to help Scott with his jobs plan.
Said Buzz Jacobs of Sunshine State Communications, “Now that the session is over, Florida’s legislators need to sell their accomplishments to the Republican base.”
As of now, most of the Republican legislators appear to face smooth sailing to winning renomination -- but there is one major caveat. With redistricting coming up in early 2012, this can change as district lines are redrawn.
Two Republican senators have already drawn primary challengers in 2012. Former Rep. Pat Patterson has filed to run against Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla. While he has more than $40,000 on hand, Patterson has shut down his fund-raising, not raising a dime since the first half of 2010. Sen. Lizbeth Benaquisto, R-Wellington, faces two challengers in the Republican primary -- Rep. Trudi Williams of Fort Myers and conservative activist and former Marine and bowling coach Mike Lameyer.
Three Republicans in the House have drawn primary challengers. Conservative activist Kim Kendall has filed to run against Rep. Mike Weinstein, R-Orange Park, but it is possible that she could be redistricted to the seat currently held by retiring Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine. Conservative activist John Lindsey, who ran in the Republican primary for a vacant congressional seat in 2010, has filed to challenge Rep. John Wood, R-Haines City. Rep. Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs, will face a familiar face in 2012 -- conservative activist Marg Baker who primaried him in 2010.
The poll of 457 likely Republican primary voters was taken on May 12-13 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.58 percent.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.