Public Policy Polling. 3/24-27. Likely voters. MoE 4.4% (No trend lines)
If you could do last fall’s election for Governor over again, would you vote for Democrat Alex Sink or Republican Rick Scott?
Alex Sink (D) 56
Rick Scott (R) 37
On the other hand, the rash of teabagger governors around the country are likely the best thing to ever happen to Barack Obama's reelection chances. What better reminder of GOP governance do voters need than their own disaster governors?
Wisconsin and Florida have one other thing in common—they featured the two worst intensity gaps in 2010. Democrats stayed home in massive numbers, and that had a real effect in close races.
Some of the crosstabs in the 'redo' poll point to the Democratic turnout issues that made Scott's victory possible in the first place though. For instance voters under 30 say they would support Sink by a 67-26 margin if the election was today- but those folks made up only 8% of the electorate in the state last year. If they had turned out in greater numbers Scott would have been in the dustbin of Florida political history four months ago. Turnout from African Americans (who say they would vote for Sink now 85-8) and Hispanics (who say they would vote for Sink 69-28) was also down as a share of the electorate last year from 2008. Democratic voters may be disgusted with Scott as Governor but to some extent they did it to themselves by not showing up to vote in November.The White House and big Democratic margins in Congress delivered too little real change, and voters stayed home last fall. The 2012 dynamic is different—those AWOL voters have been reminded of the alternative.
But it's not just Democrats who are suddenly having a change of heart:
Outside of his own party Scott's support is close to nonexistent. Only 31% of independents like what he's done so far to 54% who disapprove [...]Democrats are no longer threatening to stay home. In fact, they're more motivated than Republicans to turn out in 2012. And independents in these key battleground states are turning hard against the GOP after flirting with them in 2010. (Apparently, they just hate whoever is in charge.)
If voters got to do it over again today it would be no contest- Alex Sink leads Scott 56-37 in a hypothetical rematch. Independents say they would vote for her by a whooping 32 point margin at 61-29 and even 21% of Republicans now say they'd vote for her, more than twice the 10% level of GOP support exit polls showed her winning in November.
We're certainly going to have a much different electorate in 2012, and that gets us to one last point: with Democrats energized and independents turning against the GOP, House Democrats have a chance to claw back many of their 2010 losses. Indeed, the House is genuinely in play. To what extent remains to be seen, given redistricting, but Boehner doesn't have a lock on his gavel, not by a long shot.
So curse Rick Scott and Scott Walker and John Kasich and the rest of the teahadist governors. They're horrible people. But their fealty to their rigid ideology has trumped practical politics, and it will cost their party big in the 2012 elections—from Obama, to the difficult battle for the Senate (a chamber they would've picked up had the teabaggers not f'd things up for them), to the competitive U.S. House.