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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Frustrated Floridians are pessimistic -- and cranky -- about leaders, new poll shows



A majority of Floridians are increasingly pessimistic about the future of the state, agree with Gov. Rick Scott that state government is wasteful, disagree with him that tax cuts and immigration reform are the solution, and believe that the state's business and elected leaders rarely have the state's best interest at heart, according to a new poll commissioned by Leadership Florida.

According to the survey of 1,220 Floridians between Jan. 3 and 16 by the Nielsen Co., 45 percent of respondents say the state is in worse shape than five years ago or is getting worse. No surprise there since five years ago Florida was at the peak of its real estate bubble and the economy hadn't tanked. What is surprising is the response they have to years of job creation efforts by everyone from local officials to the state Legislature and Cabinet: 55 percent say the state is doing a poor job of creating jobs.

That's either going to be music to the ears of the "Let's Get to Work" governor, or a warning that Floridians are terribly impatient, said John Streitmatter, chairman of Leadership Florida, the nonprofit leadership training organization.


"Because Gov. Rick Scott has identified job creation as his top priority and Floridians say it is their top priority as well, these survey results would seem to indicate an opportunity for him," Streitmatter said in a statement. "At the same time, Floridians have told us they are also very impatient with all levels of government right now, which means that today’s challenge could very quickly turn into tomorrow’s disappointment for the governor and the people."

Some numbers from the survey:

* 52% of Floridians support firing ineffective teachers.

* 21% of Floridians now say they are seriously considering moving out of the state, up from 17% just one year ago.

* 65% of Floridians say their state government spends tax revenue in a relatively wasteful manner, up from 54% in 2010 and 45% in 2008.

* 69% of Floridians believe community business leaders do what is right for the state only "some of the time" or "never." 71%, 77% and 77% say the same thing about their local, state and federal government leaders, respectively.

* 3% of Floridians believe tax relief should be Scott's top priority. Only 1% of Floridians say the same thing about immigration reform.

* 52% identify jobs and the economy as the most important issue facing the state.

* 55% say the state is doing poorly at creating new jobs, the highest number since Leadership Florida began its tracking poll in 2008.

* 45% say the state is worse off than five years ago, and 65% say things will stay the same or get worse. 


[Last modified: Monday, February 14, 2011 10:37pm]


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