TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida Gov. Rick Scott's chances for re-election are in jeopardy, a new poll shows.
Scott, who narrowly beat Democrat Alex Sink in 2010, has been battling low approval ratings since he took office.
But a poll of registered voters in Florida released Wednesday found that 52 percent say he does not deserve a second term. Scott has already said he plans to run in 2014.
The Quinnipiac University poll also found that Scott is also vulnerable from a primary challenge within the Republican party. The survey said 53 percent of Republicans think another Republican should run against Scott.
"Gov. Rick Scott's ratings with voters are just awful," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "The numbers cannot be sugar coated. When voters in a politician's own party want him to be challenged in a primary by another candidate, it's difficult to see it as anything but outright rejection."
The chances that another Republican might challenge Scott had been considered slim up until this point.
Scott, a former hospital chain executive, spent more than $70 million of his own money to win his first term. Republicans such as Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — a former member of Congress — have said they have no plans to run for governor in 2014.
The new poll — which was a survey of 1,261 registered voters — shows that Scott's overall approval numbers have dropped to 36 percent. A poll back in August gave Scott a job approval rating of 41 percent but that was a poll of "likely" voters not registered voters.
By contrast the new poll shows that former Gov. Charlie Crist has a 47 percent favorable rating.
Crist was elected in 2006 as a Republican but then became an independent for an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate. But Crist this year endorsed President Barack Obama's re-election and switched to a Democrat earlier this month. Crist's decision to switch parties has heightened speculation he will challenge Scott.
Pollsters also asked voters about Sink, as well as other potential Democratic challengers to Scott including Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler and former state Sen. Nan Rich. Rich has already declared she's running for governor.
Most voters had not heard of the other Democrats. Sink only had a 27 percent favorable rating, while 57 percent said they had not heard enough about her.
The Quinnipiac University poll, which has an error margin of plus or minus 2.8 percent, shows that 52 percent of registered voters in Florida approve of the job being done by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and 51 percent approve of the job being done by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. President Barack Obama has a 54 percent job approval rating the poll found.
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