• 37-44 vs. Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio (39-43)
• 40-45 vs. 2010 nominee Alex Sink (40-47)
• 42-36 vs. state Sen. Nan Rich (41-37)
There are many reasons for Scott's poor standing: enacting unpopular budget cuts, presiding over a lousy economy, and warring with the legislature certainly haven't helped his image. Lately, he's tried to turn things around by making nice with the same teachers he's previously ripped, and more notably, by doing an about-face on expanding Medicaid as encouraged by the Affordable Care Act. Neither seem to be helping, especially since Republican legislators are much more interested in pursuing their own Medicaid plans.
Indeed, the Florida GOP establishment seems pretty unhappy with Scott in general. The local press keeps asking prominent Republicans if they want to challenge their nominal leader in a primary, and while no one has taken the bait so far, no one has offered anything close to a full-throated defense of Scott either—or even a half-throated one. Tom Jensen keeps pursuing the question, too:
Only 42% of Republican primary voters say they want Scott to be their candidate again next year to 43% who say they would prefer someone else. It's moderate Republicans who really want to dump Scott (34/55) while ones identifying as "somewhat" (43/38) or "very" (46/42) conservative tepidly support him. Scott does at least lead named potential primary challengers at this point—it's 46/27 over [state AG] Pam Bondi, 48/24 over [Agriculture Commissioner] Adam Putnam, and 54/13 over [Rep.] Ted Yoho.Probably the biggest thing holding people back is Scott's immense wealth: Even if someone like Bondi figures she could beat him in a primary, she'd have to endure an assault worth tens of millions of dollars for the privilege. That alone may ensure Scott is once again the GOP nominee. (Incidentally, PPP asked about Bondi last time, too, and while the movement is small, it's in her direction: Scott led her 49-25 in January.)
Whoever the Democratic nominee is will of course also have to endure a serious pummeling by Scott, though the prize still looks like it's Charlie Crist's for the taking. He continues to lead a hypothetical primary field with 50 percent; next closest is Sink with just 21. (These numbers are virtually unchanged since the last poll.) Crist's been mum ever since he switched parties and joined the Democrats, but with Scott continuing to rack up horrific poll numbers like these, the race has to look more tempting than ever.