Sabato’s take on Florida ’14

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Political scientist Larry Sabato has a few things to say about the 2014 gubernatorial election cycle… in every state.   But his analysis begins with the reminder that since 1960, about four out of five incumbent governors who run for reelection win the bid.

“If anything like this average prevails in 2014, this will severely limit statehouse turnover,” Sabato writes. “At least for the states, 2014 could be a case of ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss.'”

That said, Sabato points out three incumbent governors who are looking uncommonly like underdogs: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Corbett, he writes, has dreadful numbers — stuck at 35 percent, and trailing largely unknown potential opponents — and seems to be “a particularly maladroit politician, prone to painful gaffes” who is also a bit more conservative than his state.

Malloy, to Sabato, is struggling to stay afloat, and represents the Republican’s best shot at defeating an incumbent governor. The latest polls found that a majority of voters disapprove of Malloy’s handling of the economy, taxes and the state’s budget.

And now, for Florida.

“If Malloy is treading water, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida is trying to remember how to swim,” Sabato led with, before discussing the likely candidacy of former Gov. Charlie Crist, and what he sees as Scott’s attempt to up his popularity by supporting federal funding of Medicaid expansion.

Sabato continues: “While Floridians wait for confirmation of Crist’s plans, one other major Democrat’s name is still being bandied about: ex-state CFO Alex Sink, Scott’s 2010 opponent. Although Sink has reiterated her reluctance to run again following the recent death of her husband, 2002 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill McBride, that hasn’t stopped her from bashing Crist.”

The predicted outcome of all of this? To Sabato, Florida’s gubernatorial election will be, as it almost always is, a toss-up.