Florida Gov Rick Scott talks polls, teacher raises

Quinnipiac University poll shows Charlie Crist leading Scott in 2014 race

MIAMI - Florida Gov. Rick Scott stopped at The Miami Herald Thursday for an interview with the newspaper's editorial board, and talks about a recent poll showing him trailing former Gov. Charlie Crist in a hypothetical gubernatorial matchup in 2014.

"You know, there's a poll every day," Scott told Local 10's Michael Putney. "There's one put out yesterday that has my approval at 47, but here's a poll that matters -- November 2014, and what people are going to say is did this governor do what he said he was going to do."

Crist was favored by 50 percent while Scott was preferred by 34 percent in a survey of 1,000 registered voters conducted March 13-18 by the Quinnipiac (Conn.) University Polling Institute.

Scott also talked about his $2,500 across-the-board raise for teachers, as legislators decide how the money will be distributed.

"I'm confident that they believe the same way I do that our teachers have done a great job," said Scott. "We're number sixth in education quality in the country."

Most state lawmakers want teacher pay raised by merit instead of a lump sum.

Scott also addressed stricter gun control laws in the state. The same Quinnipiac poll found 91 percent of registered voters want background checks on gun sales and 51 percent want stricter gun control laws.

"As you know, I believe in the Second Amendment," said Scott. "Also, I'm proud that our state has a 41 year low in our crime rate."

Scott wanted to talk jobs, too, after Florida's unemployment rate dipped to its lowest level in more than four years.

"We're at a 3.3 percent drop in unemployment in two years, second biggest drop in the country," he said.

During his meeting with the editorial board, Scott discussed transforming the state's Medicaid program

He said: "What I did is, I sat down with Secretary Sebelius the first part of January and Marilyn Tavenner who runs Medicare and Medicaid and I let them know how important the waivers were to us and we talked about how much flexibility in whatever they are going to do. The waivers that we received are significant to us. Historically, Medicaid has been growing at three and a half times our general revenue. So, we have got to come up with a system that, one, the taxpayers can afford and, two, we can provide access to good quality healthcare. Both of these things, you have to try and do, which is not easy. We got the waivers and that is going to help us a lot."

Scott mentioned how tourism and home prices have increased in the state, a testament to his state of the state slogan "It's working."

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