Columns

It Really IS All About Jobs

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: May 21, 2014 3:55 AM
I Beg to Differ

Florida Gov. Rick Scott takes plenty of ridicule -- you might even say a fair amount of disdain -- for his "laser-focus" on jobs and the economy. But like it or not, he's on the same page as millions of Americans who cite joblessness as the A-No. 1, top problem in the nation.

Gallup's just-released monthly poll for May not only shows Americans regard unemployment as the biggest national problem, but the percentage of people who gave unemployment as their answer grew from 14 percent in April to 20 percent in May.

Concern is increasing, not abating, and it's doubtful Floridians put any less priority on jobs than the nation as a whole. 

In case you're wondering, running a close second to unemployment as the largest problem in America was dissatisfaction with government — including "poor leadership, corruption or abuse of power" — at 20 percent in April and 19 percent in May.

But the third most cited problem in Gallup's May poll was another of Rick Scott's drumbeats -- the state of the economy in general, at 17 percent, as opposed to 16 percent in April.

A couple of interesting facts:

The environment gets scant mention as the most important problem to Americans. In fact, in the poll's list of 13 possible issues of importance to Americans, the environment comes in 12th. Oh, it rose from an average of 1 percent over the past six months to 3 percent in May -- which Gallup attributes to "recent news coverage highlighting the negative effects of global warming and climate change on the environment." 

I believe if the poll had separated out respondents by state, the environment would have received a more respectable rating among Floridians, whose quality of life is largely dependent on the state's natural resources, and who live in the shadow of the Everglades, designated by the United Nations as one of only three wetland areas of global importance.

I mention the low national rating because I think it indicates where the Everglades is likely to be in Washington's appropriations pecking order. This is an election year, we hear a lot of promises, but after November, watch the hand go up the sleeve for the ailing River of Grass. You think policymakers don't pay attention to polls like Gallup's?

Another interesting item in the survey is its reflection of party differences when it comes to the top answers.

Gallup's survey shows Democrats most likely to name jobs or unemployment as the country's most important problem, whereas Republicans' top response is the economy. Democrats, Republicans, and independents are about equally likely to cite dissatisfaction with government. Results show the federal budget deficit is a much larger concern among Republicans (16 percent) than among independents (7 percent) and Democrats (3 percent).

(To view survey methodology, complete question responses, and trends, click on the attachment at the end of this commentary.)

It seems to me the governor's tunnel vision, his goal of creating an "opportunity economy" for Florida, has been right all along.

Yes, Scott promised 700,000 jobs in seven years, but no matter how you credit the state's 440,000-plus net, new private-sector jobs since he began implementing pro-growth policies, they happened on his watch, while he was out hustling for new companies and while he was budgeting significant money as bait to bring them here.

Most recent competitive economic multiple-year projects won by the Scott administration include the Hertz Corp., 700 jobs, $68.75 million in capital investment; Northrop Grumman, 1,000 jobs; Navy Federal Credit Union, 1,500 jobs, $200 million in capital investment; Verizon, 750 jobs, $50 million in capital investment; and Boeing, 550 jobs, $163 million in capital investment.

Says Scott, "It's important to know that these expected jobs are not created overnight. In fact, they are all multiple-year projects that will invest millions into Florida communities and create direct and indirect jobs for years to come."

If you don't want to buy it all, then don't. But what is unmistakable is that Rick Scott's priorities are the priorities of ordinary Americans. This, in the end, will be the problem the Democratic candidate for governor must overcome.

Democrats shouldn't kid themselves. Even with the support of the Tampa Bay Times' PolitiFact, no matter how well their candidate works a crowd, they're unlikely to get away with putting lipstick on Charlie Crist's four-year unemployment pig.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, head of the Republican Governors Association, said it best: "Charlie Crist was a failure as governor and is a pure political opportunist who is out for himself. Under Crist, Florida lost over 800,000 jobs, saw their unemployment rate surge from 3.5 percent to 11.1 percent, and experienced a budgetary crisis that left the state sinking faster and faster. ... If you like losing jobs ... Charlie Crist is your guy."

Scott has taken -- and continues to field -- criticism for investment in job creation. Too much criticism. You can argue each project that received money needed a more careful review, but you can't argue with the positive new culture for business Scott's policies -- all of them, including that one -- have created.

Before Scott took office, Florida was considered for only about one of 20 competitive projects. Today, the Sunshine State competes for about one of four economic projects. That didn't happen by accident.

The Gallup poll is simply a reminder that Florida is moving in a direction millions of Americans envy. The numbers are on Scott's side.

They should give  the Florida Democratic Party something to think about.

Gallup's survey results, incidentally, are based on telephone interviews conducted May 8-11, 2014, with a random sample of 1,028 adults, aged 18+, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.


Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. 

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Comments (7)

davefe
8:21AM MAY 23RD 2014
It is all about jobs and we are not even close to reaching 1.7 million jobs in 7 years. Remember 2010 and the 7-7-7 plan? Four years later we are at 500,000. Rick is on track to be a million jobs short. Can anyone say liar?
Freeman
10:29PM MAY 21ST 2014
Poor leadership,corruption,and abuse of power,,,,,sums up Rick and the fgop
Karen Schoen
1:04PM MAY 21ST 2014
I get it. First Crist allows ramped foreclosures due to fraud, Floridians lose their homes. Then Feds and Crist's state legislature regulate FL businesses out of business. Floridians lose their businesses.
Crist signed Race to the Top without reading the bill. The legislature signed it without reading it so now we have Common Core. Crist sold our kids to the Feds for $65 a head.

Scott to the rescue. In the name of getting jobs, Scott used our tax dollars to subsidize large foreign and domestic corporations giving an unfair advantage to them at the expense of whatever small business is left. He helped these businesses buy the foreclosed homes at a fraction of the cost so the same home can be rented back to the people that owned them.

Scott stopped Common Core by changing the name – a old progressive trick.
Then Scott and legislature subsidizes illegals to go to college at the expense of the Florida youth and the taxpayer. As an Act of Love promoted by Jeb, illegals can also become attorneys.
Now we are told, in support of income equality, you can rent your old home and work for someone else doing the same job that was your business at a fraction of your former income. This way we can all be poor together. Don’t worry be happy.

Florida are you that stupid? It must be man made global warming.
Robert Dominguez
11:16AM MAY 21ST 2014
They should rename this page the Rick Scott propaganda machine!
RepublicanConscience
7:20AM MAY 21ST 2014
Can anyone name a prosperous state that is governed by Democrats?

Rick Scott is doing a great job, and the only one's that don't like him are the one's the Media Propaganda Machine have echoed. To sum it up, the ones that hate Rick Scott are largely those sucking on the public tit, mainly government workers paid for by taxpayers. As businesses are growing and private sector jobs have been increasing, the public sector employment has been going down. Private jobs are paid for by business, but government jobs are paid from your taxes. It is not Rocket Science.

Florida would be crazy to remove Rick Scott. I would want him to have a life-time tenure.
Freeman
10:33PM MAY 21ST 2014
Take him with ya
Mark
6:17AM MAY 21ST 2014
Sorry Nancy, I have to disagree with giving Rick Scott ANY credit for what local counties and business groups have done regarding the creation of jobs and new business. Local economic development groups had to fend for themselves when the Scott administration bailed out on them shortly after his election and serious cutbacks in state funding and employment. His administration hurt the public education programs with his cutbacks in school funding and only recently returned most of the pre Scott funding to education yet hopes the education community would be thankful in his "increased" funding to the education arena! Folks in that category are just not that stupid.
To have numbers on his side, truthful accountability is needed. Just because Scott is claiming certain numbers to be to his credit doesn't necessarily make it so.

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