Scott won by 60,000 votes in November, in one of the closest governors races in Florida history.
He got less than 50 percent of the vote in an election in which turnout was below 50 percent, yet he acted as if he had a powerful mandate.
He didnt, and people soon decided they did not like him all that much.
In May 2011, the first of seven Scott-era Quinnipiac University polls showed that just 29 percent of Florida voters approved of Scotts handling of his job while 57 percent disapproved. Those numbers have improved, but a poll conducted last month showed a majority still disliked him.
He never had a honeymoon, said Stipanovich, a top advisor to former Republican Gov. Bob Martinez. Nobody took him to the dance.
As for his low poll numbers, Scott said hes doing what he promised to do, including making some tough decisions. Were doing the things that are right, Scott said. You work your tail off, and eventually you turn things around, and all of a sudden youre an overnight success.
Having won as an outsider, Scott forged a team of outsiders who shared his conservative outlook and veered further to the right.
He signed his first budget at a Baptist church in Eustis with tea party activists and cut $1.3 billion from public schools, a one-year record.
The next year, in the first of a series of course corrections, Scott demanded $1 billion more for schools. This year, hell seek more: After a statewide tour of schools, he wants to issue $250 debit cards to teachers, so they dont have to buy supplies for students.
My agenda is, I like teachers, Scott said, seated behind a big, unadorned desk in his Capitol office. I want them to be paid fairly. I want them to feel respected.
A pox on policies
In the latest Quinnipiac poll, the most troublesome news for Scott is that voters are not just lukewarm toward him personally. They oppose his policies, too.
By a margin of 66 percent to 26 percent, voters opposed Scotts plan to offer $10,000 degrees to students in fields targeted to higher-paying jobs. By a margin of 71 percent to 7 percent, they opposed a Board of Education plan to set race-based education goals for students.
As governor, Scott has spent time recalibrating his positions.
He vowed as a candidate to bring an Arizona-style anti-immigration law to Florida and an E-Verify program designed to catch businesses that hire illegal immigrants. But he quickly backed away.
After Scott signed a law reducing early voting from 14 days to eight, the League of Women voters sued over changes that made it harder to register new voters, and won.
This past election, Scott was pilloried by Democrats, who accused him of trying to suppress the vote when he refused to extend early voting. Scott watched as people in Miami-Dade County waited up to seven hours to vote.
Scotts most likely challengers for reelection in 2014 are Sink, the former chief financial officer and his 2010 rival, and former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-Independent-turned Democrat.
Despite Scotts weaknesses, his deep pockets present a daunting challenge for Democrats.
Listen, you cant underestimate any guy whos going to spend $100 million to get reelected, said Steve Schale, a Democratic strategist who has had preliminary talks with Crist. A landslide win in 2014 is going to be by one or two points.