More than 50 percent of Floridians disapprove of Gov. Rick Scott. (Photo by Shealah Craighead.)

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:

I didn’t come here to be the most popular.

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.



51 Responses

  1. Hella LiB

    Who would have thought a man capable of pulling off the biggest Medicaid froud in US history wouldnt care though, right? I mean, he has such great characteristics (out of touch with reality, theif, tyrannical, ignorant), and seems like a true leader, one who cares about the people. And by people I mean greedy business corporations who have officially declared war on the already dwindling middle class… High five FloriDUH! I told you so doesnt even amount to what we are facing ahead… let the recall begin PLEASE!

  2. Ashton

    I’m not a fan of Rick Scott myself, but we should keep in mind that this poll is according to only 500 Florida voters. I mean, could you get any more vague?

    Also, note to the web designer… please put the captcha code OVER the submit button. I didn’t scroll down all of the way and missed it.

  3. davis

    AGAINST EVERYTHING HE SAID IN Campaigning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Eve

    It really makes me upset that people continue to say that “you Floridians” voted for him, because half of us didn’t!! And we do not deserve what is happening to our state.

  5. drhoward

    recall rick scott.

    i am a slow learner, and it’s already taken me far too long to realize my support for rick scott to be governor of florida was sadly misguided.

    recall rick scott.

    let’s get to work.

  6. drhoward

    calling all optometrists!
    slick scott is steering millions of dollars to his wife’s medical care company — the company he signed over to her just prior to his inauguration — and says he sees no conflict of interest.
    get this man new lenses — and help him pack his bags.
    republicans for the recall of rick scott.

  7. drhoward

    i don’t want to recall rick scott in terms of looking back and remembering his brief time in office.
    i want to recall rick scott — as in getting him out of office and lessening the damage he can do to our state.
    recall rick scott.
    let’s get to work.

  8. Sheila

    I agre with drhoward. Let’s recall the false governor. I mean seriously, he had less than 50% of the vote and Alex Sink conceded way too soon. SO… How do we recall a governor?

  9. lee

    Time to get together like Fair Districts and start that amendment process to put it on the next ballot for RECALLS and IMPEACHMENTS!!! AND TO CHANGE THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION TO READ “Protect the Welfare of the People for the Commongood” and take the words “Protect the Business of the State out” because the Legislature has been giving the people of the Florida the business of flim flam for years!!!

  10. Gregory

    I can assure you most blacks didn’t vote for this crook. We deal with enough criminals in our own community. You white folk were blindsided. Why would you guys vote for someone with a shady past anyway???????????

  11. danzzz

    Saying “I didn’t come here to be the most popular” is not the same thing as saying “Drop Dead Voters.” Writing that into an article makes you look shrill and hyperbolic, and shows that you are a lazy writer.

    In fact, you use hyperbole throughout the article, with statements such as “he wants to gut education” without any useful context at all. Some questions: how do you define “gut,” What is the Florida Education budget for this year, how does it compare to previous years, how much has it increased in the past several years, what exactly is Florida getting for it’s money. These questions are never addressed, so the reader is left with only the author’s statements as any proof of the argument.

  12. RC

    Some of you people don’t read or can’t comprehend. THERE IS NO RECALL IN FLORIDA FOR ANY ELECTED OFFICIAL OUTSIDE OF CITIES, TOWNS, AND COUNTIES! This means that Scott cannot be recalled and impeachment has about as much of a chance as a blizzard in Miami because of a Republican super majority in Tallahassee.

  13. Ralph De La Cruz


    Don’t want to be a lazy writer. So let me connect the dots for you.

    In 1975, then-President Gerald Ford refused a bail-out of the city of New York. The New York Daily News described his decision with one of the most-quoted headlines of all-time: “Ford to City: Drop Dead.”

    Ford did not actually say, “Drop dead.” That was hyperbole in the tradition of New York tabloids. That’s why, every time I used the phrase in my blog item, I referenced New York tabloids.

    So, no, Rick Scott did not say, “Drop dead,” to voters. Just as Ford did not say, “Drop dead,” to New York. But just as Ford showed indifference to New York’s problems, Scott clearly showed indifference to Florida voters’s by answering questions about his unpopularity with voters by saying, “I didn’t come here to be popular.”

    By the way, if you doubt the level of disgust felt by voters toward Scott and his policies, yet another poll was released yesterday showing Scott is seriously in the dumps with voters. And if you need for me to explain what “in the dumps” means, just let me know. I’ll be happpy to cite the new numbers. Or you might just want to read the comments that follow any item I’ve written about Scott.

    As for explaining how he is “gutting” education, I would say that a proposed 10 percent cut in the funding of public education — at a time when schools can’t even meet the voter-mandated class size reduction standards — fits the definition of “gutting.”

    If you need more context, allow me to offer one of several previous posts I’ve written about Scott and public education. Go to the item titled, “Scott Shifts Budget Problems to Workers, Schools.” Or simply copy and paste the following url:

    Thanks for writing.

  14. Jim Stewart

    If you want your state government to continue to spend tons of money on all these state programs, then vote to dramatically increase your state taxes to pay for all of it! I am sick of people whining about what the government is no longer doing for the people, but the people are not paying for the cost in the first place. Gov’t was not formed to take care of everybody! Take care of yourselves and quit asking others to pay their hard earned money to take care of you!

  15. Ralph De La Cruz

    “Gov’t was not formed to take care of everybody! Take care of yourselves and quit asking others to pay their hard earned money to take care of you!”

    Does that also apply to businesses and corporations, Jim?

  16. James Miller

    Recall Rick Scott! House Joint Resolution 785 holds a good chance of passing, even with a Republican controlled Legislature. Florida can’t withstand another 3 years of damages.

  17. JLFL

    You know, it’s amazing… There are 32% who love what he’s doing, but that’s only the group that is unaffected by his measures. They still get out on the Florida highways doing 30-MPH in the far left-hand lanes, blocking traffic, causing accident, holding up emergency vehicles-slowing them down from reaching the accidents that these particular people may have caused. They don’t concern themselves with schooling or higher education, and most of them live in 55+ communities, they accept SSI checks, medicaid, medicare, and cry out for budget cuts on things that will not effect their lives – so instead, they alter the lives of those of us between the age of birth to 54 years old, occasionally even up to 67 for those who decide to work until the ‘official’ retirement age – these are people who fall into a bunch known as the Tea Party.
    They’ve taken great delight in destroying the country’s financial system, but while they were doing it, they were riding the high-side of the waves – then when the artificial markets that they begged for (deregulation – a paper-driven market with a black box known as credit default swaps) came crashing down, they were the first ones to cry “FOUL!”.
    These particular people need to be driven out right along with Scott, HCA, and anybody (referencing people and businesses alike since most corporations like to claim Human Rights in court rooms across America) else that represents this rather small group.

  18. JLFL

    “Jim Stewart says:
    April 9, 2011 at 9:50 am

    If you want your state government to continue to spend tons of money on all these state programs, then vote to dramatically increase your state taxes to pay for all of it! I am sick of people whining about what the government is no longer doing for the people, but the people are not paying for the cost in the first place. Gov’t was not formed to take care of everybody! Take care of yourselves and quit asking others to pay their hard earned money to take care of you!”

    <–Jim, you must be one of the people I mentioned in my previous post. Aside from that, these governments are intended to be "for the people, by the people", not "for corporate america, by corporate america".
    This man has no shame – he proved this while in his CEO/leadership role at HCA. There is not a single company out there since 2003 with a CEO who is not genuinely aware of the financial situations of the company he signs a 10-K for and represents. He was doing what he felt was best for his share holders – unfortunately, it paid massive sums of money to his share holders as well as himself while committing massive fraud against the tax payers of the country as a whole in the process.
    People like you whine and cry that deregulation is the way to go because the markets should be free – meanwhile, people like you and Rick Scott are the ones who FORCE us to put regulations in place because you guys just simply can NOT control yourselves!

  19. Ryan

    Sometimes I’m ashamed to be a Floridian. The stupidity and blind party loyalty in this state is simply unbelievable. Really… We all knew he was a white-collar criminal going in to the election. And now we’ve given him license to commit outrageous injustices legally.

  20. Michael

    Finally, someone making the tough choices. The ammount of ignorance is astounding. Look at the numbers, do just a little research. This country is falling and falling fast. You really think it’s bad now? Just wait.

  21. Robin

    Robin on May 4th, 2011 7:49 pm
    This Govener is just another DISASTER for the state of Florida, just another situation Floridians just could not read the BALLOT. He is a sick, pathetic CROOK that should be in one of his private prisons with NO HEALTHCARE….I HAVE A FAMILY MEMBER THAT WORKS FOR THE PUBLIC SECTOR IN THIS PATHETIC EXCUSE FOR A PLACE TO LIVE, NO RAISE IN YEARS AND THEN ASK THEM TO GIVE BACK 3% OF THEIR LITTLE PAYCHECKS, SO MR SCOTT’S FRIENDS CAN GET RICHER OFF THE MIDDLE CLASS/// MR SCOTT YOU ARE THE WORST OF THE WORST..

  22. Kris

    @ Walt Huston….
    “I voted for Alex Sink… my conscience is clear.”

    ME too!

  23. Adrian

    He’s taking 3 billion away from public school…SAD…who voted for this clown…LOOK AT HIM..He lokks like the DEVIL himself…and he’s a low life CROOK…is this really 2011..people haven’t learned yet from what bush did to this country….CRAZY even…

  24. AMI

    Change was needed. Change can be a tough pill to swallow. Is Scott lining his own (or his wife’s, or his corporate circle’s) pockets? I don’t know. If he is, he will eventually be brought to justice as does usually happen. However, the man warned us all what he would do fiscally in the state, and we told him we wanted it. But it’s human nature to wave a flag for change, but then resist change when it’s happening. I actually agree with a lot of what he’s doing when I really read into it past the hype and look at a larger, more logical picture. Anybody put in that office had some very tough choices to make and I don’t think Sink’s approval rating would be so good either because he too would be making some difficult decisions that many people would not like.

  25. Tired of Losers

    I’m getting tired of ALL Government officials. They all seem to be corrupt. I used to be republican but I’m independent now, I’m just looking to vote for a politician thats not all about themself but unfortunately that candidate doesn’t exist. My g/f along w/ thousands of other state employees are losing their jobs. This guys tearing up everyone who didn’t suppoirt his campaign. How long can we allow this FLorida, America!!!!!!!

  26. Jeff

    The amount of money Rick Scott will receive from lobbyist and big business – Rick Scott’s campaign cost = Large profits for Rick Scott. Slick Rick did it again! Good job bro, you hit the jackpot with this one. You thought you made a lot ripping off the government with your medicare fraud… you have not seen anything yet. MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, MOONEEEYY. Just remember to save enough for your escape to China after your done destroying America. Unfortunately, I will still be here having to pick up the pieces after your done rapping and pillaging. But I don’t hate the player, I hate the game!


    Yes I’m disgusted at all the uninformed, tea party, and blind-single-minded republicans that voted for P–ck Scott. The majority, if not all, knowing quite well the sleaze bag he is. How could a CEO not know what was going on within his company, either he is lying or he is the most incompetent CEO ever. Still people voted for him, shame on all those Floriduhans!

  28. Michael

    It was a HUGE mistake for most anyone that checked the Rick Scott box on the ballot! This guy is an “Elitist Pig“ which absolutely does not care about the working class of Florida! You see; He is not working for us, he is working for the greedy insurance companies and big business! If you have not figured it out already, The Tea Party sold out to big business interests. They believe in smaller government and less regulation for business, but at the same time they want more government, stricter regulation, new laws along with fewer freedoms for the people. It’s an elitist’s attempt to control the peasant population. If there is to be any welfare or give-away programs it will be going to the corporations and the super wealthy, and if you think that they will take some of that money and give it to you-then you’re an Idiot! Wake up guys! Wages and salaries over all have been flat at least 15 years! Those 2% and 3% increases are not keeping up with inflation. Florida’s working population is among the poorest paid in the nation. Tosh.o is right, Florida is hot flat and dumb!

  29. charlie cris

    tricky ricky one big IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!getting out of this state…

  30. Michael R. Thomas

    I think scotts economic development plan could hold the reality of large scale job creation if its implemented properly. Using top invention conception business startups and new product additions to existing businesses florida could become an economic powerhouse.The real danger lies in making the wrong investment decisions the comittee is critical.

  31. Man - O - Man

    Three months, OK now 5,and let the crucifixions begin. If one understands human nature, no one likes when someone pulls out the hatchet and begins chopping. However, when the entitlement society is stunned at the fact that someone whether in business or in Government has to make the tough decisions and make cuts somewhere since money does not, contrary to their belief, grow on trees, I struggle to understand their ability to exercise much common sense.

    However, lets look at other interesting facts about American culture, yes I am a proud American. The richest, the fattest, the highest debt per capita, the most law suits in the world. Um, I see a trend. Many people can not control their thirst for Money or Food or Material possessions regardless of who is paying for it. Spoiled and selfish. Some, not all, unions are like this as well. Eastern Airlines comes to mind. Selfish to their own destruction or demise.

    How dare anyone ever do what is necessary to survive. Kill them, burn them at the stake, hang’em high. How do a lot of big and small corporations turn themselves around? They bring in someone who says “THE NEEDS OF THE MANY OUTWEIGH THE NEEDS OF THE FEW”. Sounds familiar (StarTrek IV, Spock). That is the way things work in nature and in life.

    Oh, and after two years when most people who have been laid off have new jobs in the “EVIL” private industry and people actually have to think about their retirement plans instead of buying a new car every three years and relying on the “unfunded” various government pension and retirement plans that all the people working for those “EVIL” corporations must pay for; lets see how people are feeling about the future and their children’s future. Oh, but the entitlement society doesn’t care much about their children, they just have them and someone else needs to feed, cloth, educate, reprimand, and most likely incarcerate them.

    Remember, only the Federal government can print its own money when it runs out. States don’t have that luxury. When a states corporate tax rates go up, those “EVIL” corporations move to another state taking jobs with them.

    Go visit a third world country and see how they live. No medical plan, no retirement plan, no job in many cases.

    Be thankful for what you have, take care of your own needs, take the responsibility and to be unselfish and help others in need rather than waiting for government to do it for you.

  32. Roger

    Man-O-Man, guess what? I work in the public sector and I support private sector just as much as the private sector supports the public sector. I pay taxes just like the private sector and when these public sector companies need more money they raise their prices and everyone in the state supports them. So get over your whiney baby opinion that public sector employees had it made. I make nothing, take home not even $25,000 a year and I have been cut $7,000 more over the last 3 years. I support you in your public job and much as you support me in my private job so take your opinions and shove them till they come out your nose. Bet in your private sector job you aren’t forced to do a certain amount into retirement and I bet if you do have a retirement you get statements showing you how your account is doing. I get neither. I’m now forced to give up 3% to the government and the government isn’t going to show me how my investment is doing.

  33. eddie

    rick scott showed he is just another politican who tells you what you want to hear. he could care less about anything good for the people and the state of florida. i regret voting for him. another millionaire who only want a title in the history books. in the end his legacy will show what a disappointment and disgrace in being one of the worst governors in the history of the state. he promised us american voters he would incorporate arizona immigration law. millions of us voted for him based on that promise alone. not one word regarding that promise. hear this ricky. if you fail to give us the immigration law and up it to what oklahoma did by making everything you read in english from driving exams to stop signs, to no more pressing 2 for spanish. YOU! WILL NEVER WIN REELECTION!! every american citizen voted for you to bring that immigration law to florida.those votes will be against you winning the next one.

  34. donq812

    A snake is always a snake no matter what color you would like to paint it. Ricky is showing his color and the slippery scales will follow

  35. Indian Joe

    Anyone ever notice the resemblance between Rick Scott and Jared Lee Loughner? A little food for thought, Florida hasn’t been by definition Florida in almost 50 years.

  36. Indian Joe

    This is a comment for (JLFL). We need rid Florida of about 16 to 17 million people starting Rick Scott. It was so much better when all I had to look out for on the streets were the old folks. Most of the younger generation have a vague concept of how to drive and how to obey traffic laws. And just a little note: If you don’t kill yourselves first with your so called driving, you may become an old people too.


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