Gov. Rick Scott has had four years to enact the agenda he promised as a candidate back in 2010: a relentless focus on jobs, a downsizing of government and a hard line on illegal immigration.
PolitiFact Florida has tracked 57 of his campaign promises over four years and found a mixed report. Scott is certainly trying on job creation. He’s succeeded in shrinking government. But he has largely reversed himself on immigration.
PolitiFact rates promises based on outcomes, not intentions, so a promise not achieved is rated Promise Broken. The aim of PolitiFact’s promise meter is to compare campaign rhetoric with what actually happens after a candidate takes office.
Scott’s most notable promises were about jobs, and he pledged to create 700,000 above and beyond Florida’s natural growth. Florida’s jobs numbers are up, but economists say people should credit a natural recovery more than Scott’s specific actions. Meanwhile, Scott has kept his pledges to reducethe government workforce and oppose new taxes.
On the other hand, Scott abandoned promises to get tough on illegal immigration. And in a few cases, Scott made promises that simply weren’t realistic — such as massive cuts in the state prison budget. These examples seem to be pledges from a political novice who came up against the reality of governing.
"It’s not unusual for politicians to over-promise," said Kevin Wagner, associate professor of political science at Florida Atlantic University. "Candidates are better evaluated by what they have actually prioritized and done while in office." See PolitiFact Florida's full report.