Holy backfire, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s attempt to purge the voting roles in Florida is not only wildly unpopular. It is also helping to solidify Obama’s lead in the state.
According to Public Policy Polling, 50% of Floridians disapprove of Rick Scott’s attempt to purge votes, with only 34% approving. Believe it or not, Rick has actually gotten less popular due to his plan to suppress the vote. Scott’s approval rating has sunk to 31%. His disapproval rating is at 56%.
More importantly, Scott’s scheme seems to have destroyed any momentum that Mitt Romney was gaining in the Sunshine State. Romney has been able to make up one point on Obama since April. The president has gone from a 50%-45% lead to a 50%-46% lead. While Florida registered voters are split on Obama 49%-46%, the still don’t like Romney. The Republican nominee has an upside down 39%/53% approval rating in the state.
Going back to June of 2011, polling has consistently shown that Rick Scott is doing serious damage to the Republican brand in the state, while he has been helping President Obama. The June 2011 PPP poll found that Rick Scott made 40% of Florida voters less likely to vote Republican. Interestingly, the Obama/Romney spread has changed very little in a year. In 2011, Obama led Romney 47%-43%, fast forward almost a year and Obama’s lead remains at the exact same four points.
Scott has been so unpopular that he has caused an entire police union to flip their support to the Democratic Party and hold public events urging others to join them. He is easily the nation’s least popular governor, and approval ratings in twenties and thirties have been the governor’s norm since he took office.Gov. Scott shouldn’t bother waiting around for a revival like Scott Walker has had. Scott’s highest approval rating has never surpassed Walker’s lowest (43%).
Rick Scott isn’t just wrecking the Republican Party in Florida, he is damaging the GOP’s chances in a state that they desperately need in order to have any hope at all of defeating President Obama in 2012.
Democrats rightly get nervous when whispers of Republican voter suppression efforts fill the air, but Florida is a great example of why 2012 isn’t 2000. Back in 2000, no one was talking about what Republicans were doing in Florida. Their suppression efforts were not getting media attention. Everyone assumed that the election was going to be open and fair. After getting burned in 2000, the left learned, and are being joined by Republican county election supervisors who are showing a great deal of integrity by refusing to cooperate with Scott’s purge.
This isn’t to say that voter suppression efforts aren’t happening. They are, but the difference is that Republicans and people like Rick Scott are now paying a political price for their attempts to rig an election. They can’t operate in complete secrecy anymore.
In 2000, Republicans were able to disenfranchise voters in Florida and elect George W. Bush.
In 2012, the backlash caused by those same types of suppression attempts may be helping to reelect the man that they have sworn to defeat, Barack Obama.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association