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Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the Mainstream Media Are Not the Best of Friends

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, July 5 2011

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is taking to campaign-style tactics to improve his public image, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports — a 2010-style campaign, one that avoids editorial boards and mainstream media — and it doesn't seem to be working.

Scott has hosted Twitter and Facebook town halls, features a letter on his website that he encourages supporters to send to editorial boards, and appears on conservative talk radio shows, the Sun-Sentinel's Kathleen Haughney writes. Despite this, his poll numbers don't seem to be moving very far:

So far, though, the governor's nontraditional outreach seems to have had little impact. His approval ratings have ranged from a low of 29 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll in May to a high of 45 percent in a survey done last month by two Republican consulting firms. Last week, the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling put his approval rating at 33 percent and said Republican presidential candidates would be wise to keep their distance from him.

Caveat emptor for a story from a newspaper reporter who includes that Scott's press secretary "sends chiding, often-derisive Twitter messages about Tallahassee reporters whose stories he dislikes." But Haughney's kicker is not about Scott's apparent choice to seek an end-run around the media, but about the difference between image management and policy positions.

Here's Palm Beach County Republican Party Chairman Sid Dinerstein, to Haughney:

"In the business of politics, when you inherit a mess, you've got to fix it your first year," Haughney quotes him as saying. "And with that comes bad poll numbers, lousy media and a whole lot of complaints."

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