Florida Governor Rick Scott is becoming a bit more popular

Poll numbers slowly improving

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott remains burdened with a low standing among the state's voters, a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows.

More voters said they like the governor personally than they did a month ago, but still don't like how Scott is doing his job.

Voters were split evenly, 37 percent to 37 percent, when asked if they liked the new governor as a person, but 50 percent said they disapproved of the job he's doing compared to 37 percent who gave him a favorable job rating.

The numbers were slightly better for Scott than in early August when 52 percent disapproved compared to 35 percent who believed Scott was doing a good job after slightly more than eight months in office.

More than half, 53 percent, said they do not approve of Scott's policies or the way he handled the state budget. Forty one percent said they believed that state budget cuts made earlier this year went too far and was unfair to people like them.

"Voters don't like politicians they see as being unfair, especially when it comes to cutting programs for people," pollster Peter Brown said. "Politicians who can convince voters they are being fair on budget issues gain a leg up."

But Scott showed increased strength within his own party where 70 percent of Republicans ranked his job performance favorably compared to 18 percent who disapproved. Democrats disapproved by a margin of 82 percent to 8 percent. A multimillionaire businessman, Scott emerged from virtual anonymity in political circles last year to upset the GOP's establishment gubernatorial candidate and sitting attorney general, Bill McCollum, and then edged Democrat Alex Sink in the general election.

First-term Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio fared better with registered Republicans and voters overall. Nearly half, 49 percent, of the respondents rated Rubio favorably for his early performance in Washington. Rubio was backed by 81 percent of the Republican voters questioned and 52 percent of independents while only 19 percent of Democrats gave him a favorable rating.

Florida voters backed a law requiring welfare recipients to pass drug tests by a margin of 71 percent to 27 percent. Men, women, Republicans and independents all heavily supported the measure while Democrats were split.

"Voters overwhelmingly like the requirement that welfare recipients must pass drug tests to receive benefits," Brown said. "But the issue is now before the courts where the only opinion that matters is that of the judge."

Quinnipiac is releasing a poll Thursday on President Barack Obama's standing with Florida voters.

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