Maybe it's the out-of-sight, out-of-mind placement of the state Capitol. Maybe it's the sluggish economy and the stubborn unemployment numbers. Whatever the reason, the latest Quinnipiac University poll sends the signal that Florida voters are not happy with Tallahassee these days -- not that they really ever are.
When asked how voters feel about the job the state Legislature is doing, voters disapprove 49 to 32 percent. The numbers are predictably partisan for the Republican-led chamber: Democrats disapprove of the job lawmakers are doing 64 to 18 percent while Republicans approve 47 to 34 percent. But the telltale signal comes from crucial independent voters, who determine the fate of all statewide races in Florida. They disapprove of the job legislators are doing 48 to 33 percent.
On controversial issues, Florida voters are pretty clear where they stand:
*They support expanding Medicaid to cover Floridians without health insurance by 49-40 percent, virtually unchanged from a similar March poll, a clear contradiction from the firm rejection of the issue by Republican legislative leaders.
* Voters continue to support the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, allowing people to fight back with deadly force when threatened, 57 to 36 percent. The issue remained untouched in the last legislative session.
* Voters want to allow path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants 58 to 24 percent, a federal issue that Florida lawmakers can only tinker with.
* And they oppose the governor’s veto of a non-controversial bill to make it easier for children of undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses, supporting the issue 59-32 percent. The governor surprised legislators by vetoing the bill which won near unanimous support.
As for Gov. Rick Scott, voters are warming to the Republican governor but are still not thrilled: 43 percent approve of the job the governor is doing and 44 percent disapprove. That's up from a March Quinnipiac poll when 36 percent of voters approved of Scott's performance and 49 percent disapproved.