Scott Arceneaux, Executive Director of the Florida Democratic Party
I’d like to share some thoughts with you about what I see as the biggest takeaways from the recent flurry of public polling – and what the results mean as Rick Scott staffs up his reelection apparatus and prepares for his fourth legislative session.
Florida’s electorate is famously polarized. A 2% win in Florida is considered a landslide, and most experts agree that the race for governor of Florida will be decided by less than that. As voters start to pay more attention to the governor’s race, I expect the race to tighten. But the same dynamics that have driven Rick Scott’s unpopularity over the past three years show no signs of changing. In 2012, Rick Scott spend over a million dollars on television in an effort to change his image and it didn’t work. And Rick Scott spent all of 2013 traveling Florida, trying to drum up support, with staged ribbon cuttings and press events. It didn’t work. The new year finds Governor Scott taking on the role of “Daddy Warbucks,” spending January throwing around millions in tax payer dollars in an effort to show he actually does care about what the voters care about. It’s still not working.
Rick Scott has earned his lowest job approval in nearly a year – just 41% in the latest Quinnipiac poll. Over the past three years, Rick Scott’s job approval in any Quinnipiac poll has never risen above 43%. That’s not an accident – the public understands that he consistently puts big special interests ahead of the middle class. He’s not looking out for them, and Floridians have noticed. Rick Scott is not on the side of middle class Floridians, never has been, never will be.
On the issues that this election will be about, Floridians simply don’t trust Rick Scott. Protecting the middle class – he’s not trusted. Education – he’s not trusted. Healthcare – he’s not trusted. Raising the minimum wage? Rick Scott says the idea makes him “cringe,” siding against the 73% of voters who support giving America a raise.
These misguided priorities are causing Scott to lose key demographics we all follow. Independent voters, he loses by fully 16 points. Women, he loses by 16 points. Hispanics, he loses by 26 points.
And Scott has work to do on his home front, too. After three years of nearly constant campaigning, the governor has still not consolidated his base, with 21% of Republicans not supporting him and 34% not approving of his job performance.
The bottom line: 54% of voters say that Rick Scott does not deserve to be reelected.
The fact is that after three years of photo-ops and ribbon cuttings Rick Scott is still seen as unworthy of the public’s trust. That’s something no amount of money can help him regain.