I am becoming more and more convinced that Florida Governor Rick Scott wins re-election.
Hear me out!
What got me thinking about this is a couple of things:
1) The research I wrote about regarding how Issues/Policy don’t really matter in a campaign.
2) The latest polls about Governor Scott’s reelection, and how Crist has a 10 point lead over Scott.
3) My personal interaction with him last week at lunch at the Alachua County Republican Executive Committee luncheon, after not seeing him up close for a year.
I came home from the lunch that night and declared to my wife “The probability of Rick Scott’s re-election are increasing dramatically.”
Stunned was her response, especially with reports of Crist “leading by 10 points”, so let’s talk about it.
Here are my critical assumptions in this analysis:
1) Rick Scott will raise the money to compete.
1.1) No Republican will challenge Governor Scott, and he will be the Republican Nominee.
2) Charlie Crist has a high probability of being the Democrat’s nominee.
2.1) Crist will take some lumps and spend some resources in battling back Nan Rich.
3) Florida’s economy has improved since Governor Rick Scott took office.
4) Florida’s economy will continue to incrementally improve during the next 6-8 months.
5) Ideologues on both sides have made up their minds. Each base will vote their respective parties (and this is reflected in the Rich/Scott polling).
6) It will be the mean, average, low information (NO – rationally ignorant) voter that will decide this election (like most).
7) Issues won’t really matter to this voter, besides the economy.
8) Florida will not have a black swan type of event that would dramatically change Florida’s political landscape.
9) The libertarian candidate is problematic for Governor Scott, but in the end a small factor.
During our latest lunch, I attempted to detach myself and observe critically. Here are my observations:
1) Governor Scott is NOT a good speaker. He has improved, but let’s be honest, he is not going to move the masses with sweeping oratory. He’s uncomfortable, he jumps around, he needs to practice more, and he still doesn’t have a crystal clear narrative. Again better, but still not very good. He will not magically become a great speaker in the next 4 months.
2) He is opening up slightly in an effort to humanize himself, telling stories of his grandkids and of Floridians he has met. He really did shine when talking about his grandkids.
3) He did project to sincerely care about Florida, Floridians, the efficient allocation of tax payer dollars and insisting on accountability in government.
4) He did present himself as methodical, low key, and business-like in his approach to Florida’s government. He told stories of how he used a fresh set of eyes systematically moving from one agency to the next while challenging government spending and insisting on measurements of outcomes.
5) He came across exactly like he is – a competent CEO and an uncomfortable politician.
Let’s set aside the demographics, the big data, the GOTV efforts and focus on the main question at a macro level:
Has Governor Scott administered the State of Florida in a competent manner, especially when compared to Charlie Crist?
In my opinion THAT will be the question that will be answered in this upcoming election. That is the gist, the center, the core. The rest will be window dressing and distractions.
Yes, I know Common Core is important to you, but not to the voter that isn’t tuned in.
Yes, I know that X issue is important to you, but not to the voter that hasn’t tuned in.
We could go on all day with this, but instead let’s just agree that you are politically enlightened and awesomely aware of all, and you know exactly who you will vote for.
At the macro competence level, Governor Scott is quietly, methodically building a record as Florida’s CEO.
In my opinion, his people shouldn’t try to make him into a politician. He’s not going to be one. He should soften the edges, but not spend too much time on them. Play to his strengths, he is the CEO of one of the largest states in the nation.
And as CEO, he is pretty damn good with a pretty good record. I know some of you will disagree, but I’m still at the macro level. Stay with me.
Forget the hyperbole, forget the distractions that are playing out at the micro intra-party level, barring some black swan, this re-election race will be about Governor Scott’s competence of running the State of Florida. PERIOD.
On the flip side, Charlie Crist also has a record, unfortunately for him it is a record of Florida sliding into economic disarray and single handily almost bringing an entire political party to ruin with his political games.
This is where the financial resources come into play, and I think Governor Scott will have the resources to tell that story.
From what I have now seen, he is treating this election as he is treating his administration of the office: methodically, calmly going about it.
If come September/October Governor Scott is winning the argument that he is more competent than Charlie Crist, he will have a high probability of winning re-election.
PS. Reminder: predictions this far out are highly unreliable, and I reserve the right to change my opinion with new or additional information.
PSS. Completely prepared for Republicans to agree with me, Democrats to tell me I’m nuts, and Libertarians to just be nuts.