Florida Governor Rick Scott Interview with 10 News as latest poll numbers show slight improvement

11:49 AM, Aug 5, 2011   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- He's been in office for more than six full months now, and Gov. Rick Scott's tenure has already seen its share of controversy.

The governor sat down live on The Morning Show with anchors Ginger Gadsden and Keith Jones on Friday.

Watch the video to see how he answers some of your tough questions submitted through our 10 News Facebook page, including:

- "Why did you shoot down high speed rail and all the jobs and growth it would have provided?"

- "I would like to know how cutting teachers' salaries (effectively by 3%) helps the overall Florida educational system as well as what he plans to do to promote jobs within the state of Florida"

- "What is your stance on a flat tax for corporate and personal income for the country?"

Meanwhile, Gov. Scott's approval rating is up slightly, but far more Floridians disapprove of the job he's doing than support him.

Part of it's a misunderstanding about the budget and part of it's personal.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Friday shows 35 percent approval for Scott, and 52 percent disapproval statewide. That's better than the 29 percent favorable rating Scott posted in the last Quinnipiac Poll in May, but he's still got a long way to go.

By the poll of 1,417 registered voters said roughly three out of four voters know Scott kept his "no new taxes" pledge in his first state budget -- and by a margin of 45 to 34 percent, survey respondents said they don't like Scott personally. That's the highest "dislike" factor Quinnipiac has found in any state this year.

The trend may explain the governor's new public relations effort. Scott this week began a monthly series of "work days," getting out among regular Floridians and working ordinary jobs, and next week he's going to start meeting with newspaper editorial boards -- which he's never done as a candidate or governor.

Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, said about three-fourths of those surveyed did not know that Scott's first state budget did not contain any tax increases, but was balanced with spending cuts. That's a position favored by most voters.

"Given that voters say, 58-29 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," said Brown. "Gov. Scott still has a long hike to parity in voter approval, but he has begun the trek."

Broken down demographically, Scott's improvement in the poll showed the gains among Republicans and men, two voting blocs in which conservative Republican men usually do a little better than in other segments of the population.

But even within his own party and gender, Brown said, Scott didn't do as well as he should. "Making those voters aware he had kept his no-new-taxes pledge would seem to be the best way to win them back," Brown said. "He also must improve voter opinion of him personally."

The nearly $70 billion budget Scott signed in May does not raise taxes. But only 24 percent in the poll said they knew that, while 29 percent believed it did hike taxes and 57 percent weren't sure.

The poll has an error margin of 2.6 percent. It was conducted from last Wednesday through Tuesday.

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