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Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) official portrait
Don't get too comfortable, Rick
Whoa. Check out the stink lines coming off of Republican Gov. Rick Scott, according to PPP's first poll of the cycle. His approval rating has sunk to a horrific 33-57 (down from 37-48 in November) and is getting pounded in the head-to-heads versus an array of Democrats:

• 39-53 vs. ex-Gov. Charlie Crist

• 40-47 vs. 2010 nominee Alex Sink

• 39-43 vs. Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio

• 42-44 vs. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

• 41-37 vs. state Sen. Nan Rich

• 41-37 vs. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer

Ouch! The important thing is not so much how Scott performs against each potential opponent but rather the fact that he can't clear 42 percent against anyone. Even against unknowns like Dyer and Rich (the only declared candidate so far), Scott's distance to 50%+1 is as long as the Florida coastline. The numbers do still matter, though, and Crist has to find them heartening: His transition to the Democratic Party now seems complete, with an impressive 73-17 favorability rating among Democratic primary voters. That's helping to power him to 49-38 favorables overall, and makes him the only would-be candidate whose name recognition matches Scott's.

It's also why, predictably, Crist leads a hypothetical kitchen-sink primary (not including DWS, who's pretty much said she won't run) by a wide margin:

Crist: 52
Sink: 18
Iorio: 13
Dyer: 4
Rich: 1
Undecided: 12

It looks like the nomination is Crist's for the taking, if he wants it. While he certainly has many flaws as a candidate, Scott's flaws are simply so much greater that Crist winds up stacking up very well. But what if Scott isn't the GOP nominee? Well, we can count our lucky stars that 50 percent of Republican primary voters still want him as their standard bearer, while 40 percent prefer "someone else." Scott won't want to get too comfortable, though: He actually trails ex-Rep. Allen West 38-37 in a fantasy head-to-head (but he leads AG Pam Bondi, whose name rec I'm sure is low, 49-25).

No, I'm not expecting West to issue a primary challenge to Scott, and I don't think Tom Jensen does, either. But the point is that if establishment Republicans decide they need to pitch Scott overboard, they could make it happen, even against his will. Of course, Scott is exceedingly wealthy and could make life hell for his party if, under this scenario, he refuses to go quietly. That's wishing for too much, though. Sure, things can change in two years, but right now, I'd be more than happy for us to take on Rick Scott directly.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 10:26 AM PST.

Also republished by DKos Florida and Daily Kos.

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