The New York Times once again checks in with a hostile peek at Florida’s conservative Gov. Rick Scott. Don Van Natta Jr. and Gary Fineout reported from Miami on Scott’s poll travails, even suggesting his current low standing could cost the Republicans the state in the 2012 presidential election, a mere 16 months away: “Sinking Poll Numbers May Put Florida in Play – Strategists Sy the Governor’s Unpopularity Could Cost Republicans in 2012.”
In the past few weeks, Gov. Rick Scott has traveled around the state extolling the accomplishments of the recent legislative session and promoting his success in pushing Florida down a more conservative, financially sound path.
Gov. Rick Scott at the budget signing in May, which was marred by reports that some Democrats were removed from the event
So why is his approval rating the lowest of any governor in America?
The promise of wholesale changes appealed to Florida voters, who overlooked Mr. Scott’s lack of experience and propelled him into the Governor’s Mansion last year as a Tea Party darling. But within six months of Mr. Scott’s swearing-in, many Floridians seem to have soured on the governor, an unflinching former health insurance executive whose leadership style strikes some as remote and uncaring.
Mr. Scott’s sinking popularity has Republican politicians and some strategists worried that his troubles could hamper their chances of tilting the state’s 29 electoral votes back into their column in 2012. President Obama won Florida by 2.8 percentage points in 2008.
This paragraph was curious:
Mr. Scott’s unpopularity is mostly rooted in his aggressive push for large cuts in the budget and the public-sector work force, his decision to reject $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail project, and the dismissive and even abrasive way he deals with those who disagree with him or ask a lot of questions.
Florida Republicans just can’t win. The same day the Times was criticizing Scott for rejecting the high-speed rail project, another Times reporter, Eric Lipton, was on the front page criticizing another Florida Republican for supporting another train project: “...the so-called SunRail project has survived, at least so far, a testament to the ability of one congressman to help push through hundreds of millions of dollars in federal spending, even at a time of deep concern over ballooning federal deficits. Representative John L. Mica, a Florida Republican and chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has spent years badgering federal agencies, bullying state officials, blocking Amtrak naysayers and trying to bypass federal restrictions to build support and squash opposition to the commuter line.”
Back to the Times's piece on Gov. Scott:
And many voters have blanched at a number of his legislative accomplishments, particularly a new state budget that puts thousands of state employees and teachers out of work and requires public workers to start paying part of their salary to cover pension costs.
By “many voters,” substitute “liberal Democrats” who probably would not vote for Scott anyway.