Well, well, well. Look who's no longer universally hated. Yes, in Quinnipiac University's latest tracking of the Florida governor, Rick Scott has a positive approval rating for the first time since his first month in office. Forty-five percent of Floridians said they approve of the job Scott is doing, while only 44 percent said they disapprove.
That's a 1 percent approval split, though that's still within the poll's 3 percent margin of error. So statistically it's an even split. Still, it's a notable achievement for the little-liked two-term governor.
Scott has finally solidified his approval within his own party, with 75 percent of Republicans approving of his job performance and only 18 percent disapproving. Unsurprisingly, Scott is still widely loathed by Democrats. Sixty-nine percent disapprove of the handling of his job, with only 20 percent approving. He's not doing too well among independents either. Fifty-one percent disapprove, compared to 38 percent who approve.
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Quinnipiac's sample of registered Republicans was weighed to include a base of 32 percent Republican, 30 percent Democrat, 29 percent independent, and 9 percent other or didn't know. Florida's actual registration breakdown is 38 percent Democrat, 35 percent Republican, 24 percent independent, and 3 percent other. So it's likely that Scott's approval rating is still underwater and would be shown to be so by a different polling firm.
Elsewhere, both of the state's U.S. senators have a positive approval rating. Democrat Bill Nelson is sitting with a 45-30 approval split, while Marco Rubio has a 57-31 split. Despite Nelson serving in the Senate for 15 years and having been elected to statewide office before that, Rubio is still better known. Only 12 percent said they didn't know enough about Rubio to have an opinion, compared to 25 percent who said they didn't know enough about Nelson. In fact, more Democrats (23 percent) than Republicans (21) said they didn't know enough about Nelson despite the fact that he's the only Democrat serving in statewide office.
Quinnipiac also polled the favorability ratings of announced and possible candidates for Rubio's Senate seat but found "none of the possible candidates in the 2016 race for Rubio's Senate seat has achieved enough voter recognition for a valid measure of their favorability." That's kind of sad, because possible Republican Bill McCollum was included, and he was the state's attorney general less than six years ago. He also ran for numerous statewide offices before. You'd figure more than 28 percent of Floridians have heard enough about him to have something of an opinion.
Rep. Alan Grayson actually had the most name recognition of any of the Senate candidates, with 32 percent of Floridians having an opinion of him. But his favorability split is 10-22. That number is thanks in large part to the fact that 32 percent of Republicans in Florida have heard of him and do not like the job he's doing, which is not surprising considering Grayson is a frequent target of right-wing media.