Rick Scott Is the Eighth Least Popular Governor in America

Rick Scott
Rick Scott
Photo by Gage Skidmore's Flickr | CC.20

Things appear to have slightly improved for Gov. Rick Scott since he was awarded the title of America's worst governor in 2011. According to a new survey from Morning Consult, Scott is now just the eighth least popular governor in the United States. That's actually something of a surprise for a governor whose approval ratings haven't been positive since the first few months of his first term

Between May and November, Morning Consult polled 76,569 voters nationwide to get an approval rating on every governor. In 34 states, governors have an approval rating of more than 50 percent, and in 40 states, the governor has a higher approval rating than disapproval rating. That means most states at least kind of like their leader. 

Not so much in Florida. Only 44 percent of Floridians approve of the way Scott is handling his job, while 57 percent disapprove. A relatively large sample size of 5,886 Floridians was polled during the six-month study, and the numbers are in line with the snapshot approval polls that were conducted by other polls over that time. 

Though, no matter which way you look at it, whether by lowest approval ratings or highest disapproval ratings, Scott is still the eighth least popular governor in his home state. 

The only governors with higher disapproval ratings are Kansas' Sam Brownback (65 percent), Louisiana's Bobby Jindal (60 percent), Maine's Paul LePage (57), New Jersey's Chris Christie (57), Wisconsin's Scott Walker (57), Connecticut's Dan Malloy (56), and Vermont's Peter Shumlin (49). Of those, only Malloy and Shumlin are Democrats. However, 34 of the nation's 50 governors are Republicans, so they have a larger sample size to produce hated governors. 

You'll also notice that three of the governors who are less popular than Scott tried to run for the Republican nomination for president. Only Christie remains in the race. 

Several of these men (and, yes, all of the unpopular governors are men) were once popular in their states. That's never been the case for Scott. In fact, the 44/47 split is considered pretty great for him. 

In May 2011, Quinnipiac found that Scott's approval/disapproval split was 29/47. He's leveled off in recent years, with approval ratings remaining in the low 40s and disapproval ratings usually in the high 40s. Floridians, of course, liked him enough to give him a second term, in 2014. Well, at least the Floridians who actually bothered to show up at the polls during a midterm election liked him enough. Of course, why the Florida Democratic Party decided Democratic voters would be excited enough to show up to vote for former Republican Charlie Crist still leaves many scratching their heads. 

Scott is widely believed to be eyeing a run for Senate in 2018. The seat is held by the steadily popular Democrat Bill Nelson, but at 73 years old, Nelson hasn't indicated whether he'll run again. 

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