Whether real or imagined, inevitability is among the more valuable commodities in politics, so it’s hard to fault Florida Democrats for attempting to feed a useful narrative — Rick Scott is toast — even though the truth of it collapsed a couple of months ago.
Claiming the governor is “trailing in the polls and deeply unpopular,” Democrats have snared Scott in an apparent course correction they consider too little and too late. Scott’s signature on a bill providing in-state university tuition to certain illegal immigrants is a “deathbed conversion” fails to “erase four years of anti-Hispanic policies.”
Florida Democratic Party political director Christian Ulvert slammed Scott for treating Hispanics “like second-class citizens.” Monday might have been a “good day for Dreamers,” Ulvert said, “but no one is fooled here — and in November, Florida’s Hispanics will remember where Rick Scott really stands.”
There are, plainly, several problems here, not least among them that Scott is “trailing in the polls.” He’s not, actually. In match-ups with presumptive Democratic nominee Charlie Crist, Scott has led, narrowly, two of the last three surveys of likely voters taken since the middle of April. Real Clear Politics rates the race a toss-up.
Moreover, according to a SurveyUSA poll taken just before Memorial Day weekend, non-Cuban Hispanics (AKA: “second-class citizens”) — a key element of the Democrat coalition — prefer Scott, 45-36. Cuban Floridians favor the governor 63-30.
Yes, brought out for dead late last year, it looked as though Scott was a conk on the noggin from being Florida’s first one-and-done governor since Bob Martinez (1987-91). Since then, given the state’s improving economic fortunes, a Legislative session that avoided controversy and a boatload of campaign spending by Scott and third-party advertisers, and it’s become plain it’s way too early to put a toe tag on this race.