Voters generally positive about state, Scott; undecided on governor’s race says new poll

Lee Herald Favicon 16A new poll from the Florida Chamber of Commerce showed that while Floridians are in general positive about the direction of the state and on the job performance of Governor Rick Scott, voters are still largely undecided on who will replace Scott in 2018.

In the poll, released by the Florida Chamber Political Institute, 56 percent of likely Florida voters believe the state is trending in right direction, though the divide is stark along political lines. While 76 percent of Republicans agree with the sentiment, only 34 percent of those who identify as Democrats agree. Non-party affiliated voters match the overall average at 56 percent.

The partisan split continues when it comes to evaluating the governor’s performance. Scott’s approval rating among registered voters was 57 percent in the new poll, the first statewide poll released by FCPI in 2018. Among Republicans, that number soars to 82 percent, but craters to 30 percent among Democrats. Unaffiliated voters again came in at 56 percent.

While there will be a new governor in 2018 replacing the term-limited Scott, it’s still too early to tell among voters who that will be.


“Voters will elect a new Governor, all new members of the Florida Cabinet and 140 members to the Florida House and Senate. It’s still very early in what will be a busy 2018 election cycle. In the coming months, voters will begin to take a much closer look at the candidates for office,” said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President, Political Operations for the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Among Republicans, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam leads with 23 percent among likely Republican voters, while Congressman Ron DeSantis, who formally entered the race last week, polls at 18 percent. 50 percent remain undecided.

DeSantis got a boost before officially entering the race after getting an endorsement from President Donald Trump on the executive’s favorite platform – Twitter – in December.


“Congressman Ron DeSantis is a brilliant young leader, Yale and then Harvard Law, who would make a GREAT Governor of Florida. He loves our Country and is a true FIGHTER!” Trump tweeted on Dec. 22.

Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of Democrats(64 percent) are undecided on their preferred choice to replace Scott, though former Congresswoman Gwen Graham leads with 14 percent, ahead of Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine(7 percent), Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum(6 percent), and businessman Chris King(1 percent).

Education was the top issue among voters at 17 percent, followed by jobs and the economy(13 percent), and healthcare(12 percent).

Gwen GrahamOn Tuesday, Graham begin a blitz to coincide with the first day of the 2018 legislative session, where she blasted “20 years of one-party rule” in Tallahassee, and cited education as the first of what she called 20 reasons to end Republican control in the state’s capital. Republicans have controlled the governor’s mansion, and both houses of the legislature since 1999.

“Spend a day in a public school, and you will see how much 20 years of one-party rule has undermined our precious kids, our talented teachers and our dedicated parents,” Graham said, criticizing standardized testing and statewide school funding. “As governor, I will put an end to a curriculum built almost entirely around high-stakes standardized testing, pay educators what they deserve, and finally return control of our classrooms to teachers and parents.”

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