PPP's newest Florida poll brings good news and bad news for Rick Scott.
The good news is that his numbers are on the rise. 36% of voters now approve of him to 52% disapproving. That represents a 10 point improvement in his net approval from when we last polled the state in June, when he stood at 33/59. Scott's seen a particularly significant improvement in his standing with independents- they've gone from 27/64 to 35/52. Scott no longer holds the dubious distinction as the most unpopular Governor PPP has polled on in 2011- Ohio's John Kasich edges him out for that with a 53% disapproval rating.
The bad news for Scott is that he would still get crushed for reelection if he had to run today either against his 2010 opponent Alex Sink or his predecessor Charlie Crist.
Most Floridians with an opinion on the matter think that it's time for Crist to switch to the Democratic Party- 45% believe he should make that move to only 25% in opposition. Democrats (55/20) are particularly bullish on a Crist switch and Republicans (37/34) would like him to complete his move away from their party as well, albeit by a narrow margin.
Crist remains a popular figure in the state with a 51/34 favorability rating and if he were to run as a Democrat to reclaim his old office against Scott he would lead by 13 points at 51-38. That includes an 18 point advantage with independents (51-33) and even 16% of the Republican vote, a good indicator of how disenchanted moderate GOP voters are with their party's Governor.
It wouldn't necessitate a Crist bid for Democrats to knock out Scott at this point though. In a hypothetical rematch of their contest from last year Alex Sink would lead Scott 52-41. Our final poll before the election last year found Sink leading Scott by 5 points with independents- now she has a 21 point advantage on him with that group of voters at 56-35.
Just as Scott's approval numbers have improved, so has his standing against Sink and Crist. He trailed each of them by more than 20 points when we polled Florida in June. But even with that improvement the big picture truth remains this- if Rick Scott had to stand before the voters today he'd lose and he'd lose by a lot.
Full results here