By Ralph De La Cruz
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting
If we lived in New York, the tabloid headline today might read:
“Rick Scott to Voters: Drop Dead.”
That’s because an interesting poll was released yesterday.
A group called Public Policy Polling recently asked 500 Florida voters whether they approved or disapproved of the governor’s performance.
And so, three months into Gov. Rick Scott’s term, we now have numbers to confirm what people on Internet forums and in baseball stadiums already know: Floridian’s don’t much care for Scott’s gut-education/attack-workers/slash-and-burn strategy.
More than half of those polled — 52 percent — disapprove of Scott’s performance. While less than a third — 32 percent — approve.
Even among Republicans, only 57 percent approve of how Scott is doing his job. Less than half — 48 percent — of those who characterize themselves as “somewhat conservative” approve. And among “moderates,” a whopping 72 percent disapproved.
Three months ago, only 60 percent of Democratic voters disapproved of the new governor. Now that number is 81 percent.
Quite a fall since February, when Quinnipiac University found that 35 percent of Florida voters approved of Scott, only 22 percent disapproved, and the largest number, 43 percent, were undecided.
Well, it seems most of those folks have made up their minds. And it’s not good for Scott.
Perhaps the most telling poll figure was in the buyer’s remorse question: “If you could do last fall’s election for Governor over again, would you vote for Democrat Alex Sink or Republican Rick Scott?”
Sink trounced Scott, 56 to 37.
When asked what he thought about the numbers, Scott answered like a governor who operates in a state with no recall provision and who enjoys virtually impeachment-proof super majorities in both legislative chambers:
Or in New York Daily News-speak: Drop dead, Florida voters.
As I wrote three weeks ago: Scott doesn’t care. Doesn’t care that we’re outraged he’s gutting education. Doesn’t care we’re concerned that, rather than creating jobs, he’s cutting them. Doesn’t care that voters might believe his policies are lining his owm pockets (or his wife’s).
He doesn’t have to care.
That one-point election win in an overwhelmingly Republican state didn’t make him Gov. Rick Scott. It made him the CEO of Florida Inc. We’re merely his charges. Doesn’t matter whether we agree with him or not. He’s pushing ahead — even if he has to eventually “take the Fifth” 75 times.
But unfortunately for him, a state has more stakeholders than a corporation. There are police chiefs who are angry that the pill-mill database was ended for no obvious reason. Mayors and legislators upset about turning down a paltry $2.4 billion for a high-speed train, Party donors with expectation, not to speak of tea partiers who think you can never go far enough.
What’s a CEO to do? Oh, for those heady days of campaigning when a mere $73 million could fix anything that troubled a king.