A new poll by Saint Leo University’s Polling Institute shows former Gov. Charlie Crist with a narrow lead over Gov. Rick Scott, 43-39 percent.
That result is a significant improvement for Scott since the same poll in December, which showed Crist leading by 12 points, 46-34 percent.
It also shows Scott with almost even job approval and personal favorability ratings. Respondents gave Scott a 45 percent approval on his job as governor to 47 percent disapproval, and 48 percent personal favorability to 47 percent unfavorability.
Other findings from the poll by the newly formed polling institute at the Pasco County liberal arts university:
-- President Barack Obama got a strong job disapproval rating 39 percent favorable to 50 percent unfavorable, which Saint Leo political scientist Frank Orlando said may have influenced the results in the governor’s race. Congress got an even worse rating, 14 percent approval to 84 percent disapproval.
-- Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson got a positive 50-33 percent job approval rating, and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s a positive 50-40 percent rating.
-- Respondents strongly favored liberalization of marijuana laws -- 30 percent said it should be legal for any purpose; 45 percent said it should be legal only for approved medical purposes; and 19 percent said it should be illegal for any purpose.