Important headlines for July 2nd – The Puerto Rican politics of Rick Scott and Florida
Bottom Line: These are stories you shouldn't miss and my takes on them...
Excerpt (From Politico): Gov. Rick Scott is better-known and better-liked than Sen. Bill Nelson among Puerto Ricans in Florida, according to a new poll that spells trouble for the incumbent as this Democratic-leaning group leans toward the Republican challenger ahead of the November election.
About 75 percent have a good opinion of Scott, while just 18 percent do not, according to the new poll of 1,000 Puerto Ricans in the state commissioned by Florida International University.
Calculated another way, Scott’s net approval rating is 57 percent and Nelson’s is 36 percent among Puerto Ricans. So the Republican is running ahead of the Democrat by about 21 percentage points.
The numbers are even more striking because 57 percent of the poll’s respondents say they’re registered as Democrats; only 12 percent are Republicans. And almost 57 percent said they would vote for a generic Democrat while only 7 percent would vote for an unnamed Republican.
“This is not necessarily the best news for Democrats,” FIU professor Eduardo Gamarra — who analyzed the survey data along with his colleague, Jorge Duany — told POLITICO. “It’s not necessarily ideological. I think they thought this man [Scott] was genuinely interested in their well-being.”
Hot Take: While getting worked up one way or another about any one particular poll isn't advisable – the broader point of these findings is worth digging into a bit. Once upon a time (not that long ago) in a land not far away (actually right here) this state and this country looked a lot different politically. Due to our tendencies towards recentcy bias – we tend to forget that politics and political trends are anything but static. Until the era of Regan in the 1980's it's super easy to forget that northern and western states were generally Republican strongholds and the south and mid-west were generally strong holds for Democrats. For that matter how, plausible does it seem that a Republican could carry 49 states and yet that's what Regan did in 1984.
Recently I shared information about Florida's specific evolution politically. As a quick refresher... In 1980 over 60% of Florida's registered voters were Democrats and today...
No Party: 27%
Third Party: 0.6%
So, applying this to the Puerto Rican story... The biggest over simplification I see time and again in politics is the desire to place people in boxes and assume they'll stay there. Need I remind people that once upon a time well over 90% of black adults were Republicans, rather than Democrats? The other over-simplification is the assumption that every declared partisan is down for the party cause whatever that happens to be. To illustrate how untrue that can be consider that 8% of registered Democrats voted for Donald Trump and 8% of registered Republicans voted for Hillary Clinton.
Too many politicos are too close to the situation and too-motivated by reasons that the average person isn't. Here's the truth to politics. Most Americans want a better life. If a politician represents that opportunity in the mind of a voter that'll likely hold the most sway. Rick Scott has been no worse than 3rd in any category of performance since he became governor and likely has been the best overall governor in the country for the past 7.5 years. Bill Nelson's record over the same period of time? Frankly there's no comparison and whether we're talking about Puerto Ricans, Haitians or Gringos – none of that changes.