Look at Scott. A political newcomer and unknown in 2010, he spent big and soon became well-known enough to beat longtime Republican figure and state Attorney General Bill McCollum in the GOP primary. Scott went on to beat state CFO Alex Sink by just 1.2 percentage points despite the big Republican year.
Sink might run again.
If she does, she can’t repeat her strategy of 2010, where she dwelled excessively on Scott’s business background. His former hospital company was socked with a record Medicare fraud fine in 1997.
But Scott stayed focused on talking about jobs. He articulated a more positive message, just like Obama did. It helped carry the day for each in two very different Florida elections.
Since Scott won election, Florida’s unemployment rate is falling and the economy is improving.
But his poll numbers really haven’t kept track.
Scott’s lowest ratings followed his first politically disastrous legislative session when 29 percent of Floridians approved of the way he handled his job; 57 percent disapproved, according to a May 2011 Quinnipiac University survey.
Scott made up ground a year later. His approval: 41 percent. But 46 percent disapproved.
That means, in polling parlance, that Scott was still “under water” with an approval index of -5.
That -5 was Scott’s all-time high in Quinnipiac’s surveys.
Last month, Quinnipiac showed Scott’s approval index was -11. Obama’s approval index was +12 in Florida.
That’s a big improvement since late October when Obama was at +1 heading into the election. At that time, Scott was at -6.
The numbers indicate Scott won’t get much traction by repeating his 2010 Obama-bashing.
Scott’s political team thought he’d be in much better shape by now. They had hoped he’d be more popular than Obama. They ran early TV ads and the governor has reversed course on education cuts (he wants more teacher pay now) and early voting (he wants more hours).
There’s time for Scott to turn things around by 2014. He has two more legislative sessions.
But the most recent public survey, taken two weeks ago by Democrat-aligned Public Policy Polling, showed Scott’s approval index at -24.
Scott’s biggest threat right now, former governor and Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, beat him 53-39 percent in a theoretical matchup. Sink was up 47-40 percent.
And Rich, an unknown who has never run statewide, had an inside-the-error margin was up 41-37 percent in the poll.
The poll didn’t survey former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, who looks as if he’s seriously planning to run.
Of all the major potential Democratic candidates, Rich was the only one to attend Saturday’s Florida Democratic Party meeting where Tant was chosen to lead.
“This is the grassroots,” Rich said.
But the grassroots need to be fed. The fertilizer is money. And Scott is all green right now.