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Pondering Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s unpopularity

Time‘s Swampland wonders: #

Why have Floridians turned so sour on their new Governor? Are they simply taking out their anger at the recession – the state’s unemployment rate still sits at almost 11% – on whomever’s sitting in the Governor’s mansion? Is it because, as Scott’s office insisted in a recent statement, he “wasn’t elected to be most popular” but to make “tough decisions” on slashing state spending, including an almost 8% cut in education? Or could it be that Floridians are feeling buyer’s remorse – that they fear Scott is ultimately more interested in serving the Tea Party’s government-eradication agenda than he is in serving them? #

It’s likely a combination of all three. #

Author Tim Padgett notes that that Scott launched an ambitious agenda, and made several major controversial policy decisions, despite narrowly winning the election and not carrying much of a mandate to do anything other than help get the state’s economy moving again. #

Exactly what Scott is thinking remains a mystery, but he seems to be betting big on economic development — that unemployment will continue to fall, allowing him to take credit and tout his efforts to lure companies here. Today he held a conference call with economic development officials from around the state to discuss what he described as a successful trade mission to Canada, in which state officials helped play matchmaker between local representatives and more than 100 foreign companies they hoped to attract. #

St. Petersburg Times business columnist Robert Trigaux discussed the significance of the trip in a recent column, noting that while there are plenty of holes in the success stories Scott has trumpeted so far, he has generated a good deal of buzz among the state’s public-private economic development outfits. ** #

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