On the heels of Univision doing immense investigative work on Rubio’s future brother-in-law being arrested in 1987, when the senator was all of 16 years old, the Washington Post’s Manuel Roig-Franzia has a story charging that Rubio has “embellished” the story of his family’s departure from Cuba upon the dawn of Castro’s regime. The Miami Herald’s Tallahassee bureau chief, Mark Caputo, notes that while the biography on Rubio’s web site gets the chronology wrong, the Post errs by defining “exiles” way too narrowly, and ignores that Rubio has given an accurate account of his family’s history in interviews many times:
Regardless of when his parents left Cuba, they were exiles because they stayed in the US, specifically Miami, in a community where they soon felt they couldn’t go back to their homeland. Though the story said his parents left for economic reasons, it’s silent about the fact that the dictator before Castro, Batista, was so brutal that it made Castro look like a good alternative at first. (Insert debate over the fairness of the post-Castro Cuban Adjustment Act here).
The Post also says “the supposed flight of Rubio’s parents has been at the core of the young senator’s political identity.” That’s a stretch. The actual story of the “flight” is far less emphasized than the fact that Rubio’s an Hispanic Republican, an immigrant and an exile.
So to suggest Rubio serially embellished the “dramatic” story of his parents fleeing Cuba could be a little too dramatic itself. And it might be an embellishment as well — absent more information clearly showing Rubio has repeatedly said his parents fled Castro’s Cuba.
Rubio’s office has told both the Washinton Post, the St. Petersburg Times and The Miami Herald that his parents came to the United States prior to Castro taking power. And he has said it more than once. In the article we wrote last month about his pending autobiography, Rubio clearly told us his parents came here before Castro took power. He struggled to recall the year (this isn’t in the story, it’s in my notes) and said it was in “57 or 58 or 59.”
When asked pointedly: Was it before the revolution? Rubio said it was before the revolution.
Kind of amazing that the newspaper that was so late to the Jeremiah Wright story that its own ombudsman reprimanded it suddenly is making such an all-out press on the junior senator from Florida. Why, it’s almost as if the institution had no interest in contradicting the narrative of Obama as post-partisan uniter in 2008, and now sees Rubio as someone who must be damaged and scuffed-up before he becomes a preeminent face in the Republican party. Between this story and the Univision one, it’s almost as if there’s a coordinated effort to deride and smear Rubio before he can become a national figure and perhaps sway the voting patterns of Latinos.
This morning, Quinnipiac finds slightly brighter — or perhaps less dark — news for Florida governor Rick Scott, while Sen. Marco Rubio continues to enjoy positive approval ratings:
Florida voters, especially women, like Gov. Rick Scott more as a person, but all voters still disapprove 50 – 37 percent of the job he’s doing, in a Quinnipiac University poll released today, compared to a 52 – 35 percent disapproval August 5 and a 57 – 29 percent disapproval May 25. . . . U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio does better than Scott among Florida voters. He has a 49 – 31 percent approval rating, with positive scores of 81 – 10 percent among Republicans and 52 – 30 percent among independent voters. Democrats disapprove 52 – 19 percent.
Fascinating – not surprising, and perhaps a bit of off-the-cuff boilerplate praise for some rising stars in the GOP, but fascinating nonetheless, from the good folks at Bearing Drift:
Former Massachussets governor and presidential aspirant Mitt Romney was in Virginia Beach yesterday attending a fundraiser at the home of State Sen. Jeff McWaters.
The $1200 per plate event brought up some interesting data points regarding Governor Bob McDonnell.
Romney said that McDonnell has been an “incredible governor” and will be on “any candidate’s short-list” for Vice President. Now, considering that the candidate was in Virginia Beach – effectively McDonnell’s hometurf, that statement should be taken with a grain of sand. But he reiterated that the short list is “McDonnell, Governor Christie of New Jersey and Marco Rubio of Florida.”
Romney is not blind. He realizes that Virginia is an important state, witnessed only by the number of trips the president has made here in 2011. The commonwealth voted Democrat for president for the first time since 1964 in 2008, so Romney considers Virginia “key” in 2012.
J.R. Hoeft adds, “It is expected that Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling will reprise his roll as chief Romney supporter in Virginia again, as he did in 2008 in Romney’s first run for the nomination. This could point to McDonnell potentially leading in Romney’s Veep-stakes.”
McDonnell has indicated in past comments that he would consider an offer to be a candidate’s running mate, but has been quick to add he’s “not expecting a call.”
As the 2012 cycle begins to warm up a bit, I hope candidates and their campaigns carefully study what worked and what didn’t last cycle.
This video, from the firm Targeted Victory, offers a quick-moving lesson on how the Marco Rubio campaign used the Internet – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, special online fund-raising days, Facebook town halls – in his once-long-shot campaign for Senate in Florida this year.
The end result was a campaign that punched well above its weight in the online world. In a three-way race, Rubio accounted for 72 percent of all Facebook “likes”, 58 percent of all Twitter followers, 85 percent of all YouTube views, 55 percent of all web visits to candidate web sites, and 48.9 percent of the final vote. One in three of his e-mail subscribers were donors.
In Quinnipiac’s latest survey in Florida, the news is “meh” for Sen. Bill Nelson and President Obama, but pretty good for Marco Rubio… not that he has to face the voters anytime soon:
Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has a 45 – 21 percent job approval rating among registered voters, who say 43 – 33 percent that he deserves re-election, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has a 42 – 20 percent job approval rating after his first month in office, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds.
President Barack Obama gets a split job approval rating as 47 percent approve and 49 percent disapprove. By a narrow 48 – 45 percent margin, voters say the president does not deserve a second term. In fact, 40 percent of Florida voters would back Obama while 42 percent say they would back an unnamed Republican challenger.
“Sen. Bill Nelson’s numbers are mixed. Only one in five voters is unhappy with his job performance, which indicates he hasn’t stirred up strong opposition. But history shows that when only 43 percent of voters say an incumbent deserves another term, that incumbent sometimes doesn’t get another term,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Sen. Nelson is not in terrific shape but he is not in terrible shape either. His fate may rest with how President Barack Obama does in 2012 as Florida voters see the two men similarly on the issues.”
The Florida Senate race is almost certain to be one of the 2012 cycle’s most high-profile and hotly-contested contests…
An interesting poll from Gallup; reading it, I was reminded of Marco Rubio’s successful Senate bid in Florida, and how the theme of American exceptionalism seemed to drive a deep emotional connection between the candidate and audiences…
Americans widely agree that the United States has a unique character because of its history and Constitution that sets it apart from other nations as the greatest in the world. This view, commonly referred to as “U.S. exceptionalism,” is shared by at least 73% of Americans in all party groups, including 91% of Republicans.
Gallup’s chart indicates 73 percent of Democrats feel this way, 77 percent of independents.
At the same time that Americans believe the U.S. is exceptional, they also are inclined to believe that status is far from secure, according to the Dec. 10-12 USA Today/Gallup poll. Three-quarters of those who believe the U.S. is exceptional (62% of all Americans) also believe the U.S. is currently at risk of losing its unique character.
On the whole, Americans, by 58% to 37%, believe Obama thinks the U.S. is exceptional, consistent with what he and his advisers maintain. But Americans are less likely to believe Obama holds this view than they are to think the same about Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
Fascinatingly, 9 percent of Americans think Ronald Reagan did not think the U.S. is exceptional, suggesting that, at minimum, 9 percent of Americans pay no attention to anything and thus should be ignored.
Americans who identify as Republicans, likely reflecting the opinions of some of their party’s leaders, are especially dubious that Obama regards the U.S. as exceptional. Thirty-four percent of Republicans believe the president thinks the United States is the greatest country in the world, while 61% believe he does not. Democrats are much more confident that Obama regards the United States as exceptional, while the majority of independents agree.
The independent split is interesting: 57 percent of independents think that Obama regards the U.S. as exceptional, but 38 percent don’t think that.
After more than an hour of heated discussion, the Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee voted to send a “brisk” letter of disapproval to Democrats (from left) Aaronson, Sachs and Vana for endorsing Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist in the U.S. Senate race.
Carole Pollack was inducted as a Palm Beach County Democratic precinct captain Thursday night. Less than two hours later, after listening to party members shout each other down and seeing several walk out in protest, Pollack herself was storming out of a Democratic Executive Committee meeting in West Delray saying she might never return.
Pollack witnessed an intramural Democratic bloodbath over whether the party should take action against Democratic County Commissioners Burt Aaronson and Shelley Vana and state Sen. Maria Sachs for bucking the party and endorsing Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist in the Nov. 2 U.S. Senate race.
Committee members who stayed to the bitter end rejected a motion to censure the elected officials but voted to authorize a committee to send a “brisk” letter telling them of their disapproval.
Hey, Florida Democrats, we don’t want to see you go away from this election cycle mad. We just want to see you go away.
See, now conservatives have a good reason to like Charlie Crist.
I like this assessment from Campaign Spot reader Mark:
Maybe I’m making lemonade out of lemons, but if I look at the seats the Republicans won, I feel pretty good. Look at who we are trading for.
1. I’m originally from Wisconsin, so I’ll start there. Ron Johnson for Russ Feingold. I’m sure Feingold is a decent husband and father, but he is Madison’s senator. The rest of the state does not care for him. He claims to be independent, but most of his votes against Democrats were because they didn’t go far enough. So, gain a businessman and manufacturer and lose a lawyer and one of the most liberal members of the Senate who was often out of step with most of his state.
2. Pat Toomey for Arlen Specter. Think about it.
3. Marco Rubio for Mel Martinez/George LeMieux (who?).
4. Mark Kirk, someone David Brooks called a dedicated and competent public servant, for Roland Burris (or even Barack Obama). Maybe not as liberal as I would like, but look who he is replacing. Unless he goes the full Arlen Specter, this seat is much more conservative (not to mention competent and honest).
5. Rand Paul for Jim Bunning. I am starting to like Rand Paul a bit more. What once looked a little crazy is starting to look more like thoughtfulness and principle.
6. Kelly Ayotte for Judd Gregg. I hope she works out. I really liked Senator Gregg. The only change that may not be an outright significant upgrade is due mostly to the quality of the retiring incumbent.
7. Rob Portman for George Voinovich. A real professional for a mediocrity. I’ll take this trade up also.
8. Joe Manchin for Robert Byrd. I would have preferred a Republican, but this trade is good for conservatives.
I would have liked more Republicans, but for now, the ones elected seem to represent real quality.
He forgot a few: Mike Lee for Bob Bennett in Utah. John Boozman for Blanche Lincoln, a conservative Republican against a so-called conservative Democrat who usually fell in line when her party needed her. In Indiana, Dan Coats for Evan Bayh, another so-called conservative Democrat who rarely seemed to be there when conservatives needed him. It’s a real trend when you consider John Hoeven for Byron Dorgan in North Dakota.
I would note we have two more potential big upgrades pending in Alaska and Washington.
The poll — which comes on the heels of revelations that former President Bill Clinton last week reportedly urged DemocratKendrick Meek to get out of the race — shows the Republican Rubio leading the field with 45 percent, followed by Gov. Charlie Crist at 28 percent and Meek at 21 percent. Only 6 percent of voters in the Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. poll said they were undecided.
“There is simply no mathematical formula by which Crist or Meek can approach Rubio’s 45 percent support level,” said Mason-Dixon managing director Brad Coker.
Even if Meek were to bow out now, Coker said, the math isn’t there. Early votes have already been cast and Meek’s name would remain on the ballot.
“It was a pipe dream to begin with and if they were doing it, it should have been done a month ago,” Coker said. “In three days how do you convince every Democrat who was going to vote for Meek that Crist is the guy?”
And just think how this race looked back in September 2009 . . .
This is an interesting 11th-hour story going on in Florida, but we’ve reached a point where I simply don’t trust something coming from the Crist camp.
And as for Bill Clinton . . . well, I don’t think this is a source of unimpeachable credibility.
Bill Clinton sought to persuade Rep. Kendrick Meek to drop out of the race for Senate during a trip to Florida last week — and nearly succeeded. Meek agreed — twice — to drop out and endorse Gov. Charlie Crist’s independent bid in a last-ditch effort to stop Marco Rubio, the Republican nominee who stands on the cusp of national stardom. Meek, a staunch Clinton ally from Miami, has failed to broaden his appeal around the state and is mired in third place in most public polls, with a survey today showing him with just 15 percent of the vote. His withdrawal, polls suggest, would throw core Democratic voters to the moderate governor, rocking a complicated three-way contest and likely throwing the election to Crist. The former president’s top aide, Doug Band, initially served as the intermediary between Meek and Crist, and Clinton became involved only when Meek signaled that he would seriously consider the option, Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna confirmed to POLITICO. “The argument was: ‘You can be a hero here. You can stop him, you can change this race in one swoop,’” said another Democrat familiar with the conversations, who said Clinton had bluntly told Meek that he couldn’t win the race.
Crist also confirmed the planned scenario Thursday night, telling MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann: “I had numerous phone calls with people very close to President Clinton.”
Meek conceded in an interview on CNN that he and Clinton had discussed his leaving the race, but denied that the conversation was serious. “We talk politics all the time. He said, ‘I heard this thing about you getting out.’ I said, ‘I’m not getting out.’ I said Charlie Crist needs to get out of the race. And that was that,” Meek said. “This whole thing, I don’t know where it came from. I know the discussions I had with the president wasn’t about some sort of wrapped deal with me getting out of the race. I’m not getting out of the race.”
Team Rubio responds:
Tonight, Rubio Senior Strategist Todd Harris issued the following statement on today’s Politico story:”Charlie Crist truly will say and do anything to get elected and hold on to power. Secret deals to trade away principles for power is already the problem in Washington, it’s not the solution. This is simply politics as usual which is exactly what voters across the country are emphatically rejecting this election.”
Facts Of Note:
As of today, more than 1.7 million Floridians have already voted — approximately 1/3 of all likely voters (4.8 million Floridians voted in 2006, the last midterm election).
There is not a single public poll which shows Crist leading Rubio in a hypothetical two-way race.
As of yesterday, our internal tracking showed Crist and Meek in a statistical dead heat.
Among those who have already voted, our internal polling actually shows Meek beating Crist 28% to 24%.
In the Florida U.S. Senate race, Republican Marco Rubio leads Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running as an independent, 42 – 35 percent among likely voters, while Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek gets 15 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
In the hotly-contested governor’s race, State Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the Democrat, has 45 percent to 41 percent for Republican Rick Scott, the independent Quinnipiac University survey, conducted by live interviewers, finds. Another 11 percent are undecided and 9 percent of those who name a candidate say they might change their mind in this final week before Election Day.
Today’s results compare with Quinnipiac University’s October 13 survey showing Rubio with 44 percent, followed by Crist with 30 percent and Meek with 22 percent.
An October 12 poll of the governor’s race showed Scott with 45 percent and Sink with 44 percent.
I suppose that in the Senate race, this could be the traditional late coalescing of support around the top two candidates in a three-way race. But is the Democratic nominee in a hard-fought Senate race really going to be held to 15 percent? Are we to believe that Kendrick Meek will finish with a lower share of the vote than Alvin Greene (usually around 20 percent)?
As for the governor’s race . . . perhaps Floridians are confident that Alex Sink can handle the tough questions, as long as her makeup woman is never far away.
Quinnipiac tells us the Florida Senate race is unchanged:
In the Florida U.S. Senate race, Republican Marco Rubio is running away with a commanding 44 – 30 percent likely voter lead over Gov. Charlie Crist, running as an independent, with Democrat U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek third with 22 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
Today’s results are essentially unchanged from a September 30 poll by the independent Quinnipiac University, in which Rubio led Crist 46 – 33 percent with Meek getting 18 percent of likely voters.
Florida likely voters disapprove of President Barack Obama’s job performance 54 – 43 percent, a slight improvement from October 1 when they disapproved 56 – 40 percent.
I don’t want to tell Marco Rubio how to spend his money, but I can’t help but notice that a guy who’s up by 9.6 percent in the RCP average “raised more than $5 million during the third full quarter of 2010, eclipsing the fundraising record for a single quarter set by Rubio in the second quarter.”
Rubio now has more than $5.5 million on hand.
I wonder if he’s tempted to put as much money as possible into get-out-the-vote efforts in Republican areas of key Florida House districts.
Senate candidates who have a lead of between 6 and 9 points in the simple polling average, with 30 days to go until the election — about where Mr. Toomey’s lead stands now — are undefeated since 1998.
That is a fantastic way of looking at things for Pat Toomey, as well as for Roy Blunt in Missouri, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, Marco Rubio in Florida, and Dan Coats in Indiana.
Oh, and John Boozman in Arkansas, John Hoeven in North Dakota, and incumbents Richard Burr in North Carolina and David Vitter in Louisiana, but . . . come on. Those races have been effectively over for a while.
It’s ominous news for Carly Fiorina in California and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. As for the rest of the big Senate races — Nevada, Washington, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, and West Virginia . . . well, we’ll have to wait and see.
A couple races are looking a bit shaky for conservatives, but they can rejoice at the news in Florida:
Republican Marco Rubio holds a solid 46 – 33 percent likely voter lead over Gov. Charlie Crist, running as an independent in the race for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat, with Democrat U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek at 18 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
Rubio, a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and a favorite of the Tea Party movement, is benefitting from strong voter anger at the federal government, likely voters tell the independent Quinnipiac University survey, conducted by live interviewers. This first likely voter survey in Florida in this election cycle can not be compared with earlier samples of registered voters.
“It is no coincidence that Rubio is getting 46 percent of the vote and 48 percent of the electorate is angry at Washington,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Rubio’s double-digit lead in the horse race is confirmed by a 53 – 41 percent margin for a senator who will oppose President Barack Obama’s policies and a 47 – 38 percent preference that the Republicans rather than the Democrats control the U.S. Senate.
Is it possible Rubio hits 50 percent in a three-way race?
Republican Marco Rubio continues to hold a double-digit lead over independent candidate Charlie Crist in Florida’s contentious race for the U.S. Senate. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Florida finds Rubio with 41% support. Crist, the state’s current governor, earns 30% of the vote, with Democrat Kendrick Meek still running third with 23%. Two percent (2%) like another candidate, and four percent (4%) are undecided.
Republican Rob Portman now earns his highest level of support to date against Democrat Lee Fisher in the U.S. Senate race in Ohio. The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters, including leaners, finds Portman picking up 49% of the vote, while Fisher gets 41% support. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and eight percent (8%) are undecided.
GOP hopeful Pat Toomey holds an 8-point lead over Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak in the battle for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat, according to polling released Wednesday morning by Rasmussen Reports. Toomey, a Republican activist and former congressman, leads 49 percent to Sestak’s 41 percent among 500 likely voters questioned Sept. 13; the margin of error was 4 points.
Hey, it’s not like a national party has to be competitive in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Republican Marco Rubio, garnering surprising strength among independent voters, holds a double-digit lead over his two chief rivals in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, a new Sunshine State News Poll reports. The survey of likely voters shows Rubio with 43 percent, independent Charlie Crist with 29 percent, Democrat Kendrick Meek with 23 percent and the remaining 5 percent undecided.The Voter Survey Service poll surveyed 1,016 voters Sept. 1-5 and Sept. 7, and had a margin of error of 3 percent.
Knowing that we’re seeing such huge gaps . . . why are major media institutions still releasing polls that don’t filter for likely voters?
CNN has some new poll numbers out in some key Senate races; earlier in the day, they touted them as being “surprising.”
They’re surprising because they’re different from other polls in these races. And they’re different, I suspect, because much of the other polling is among likely voters, while the guys at CNN still haven’t applied a likely-voter screen.
In Florida, they find Rubio 36 percent, Crist 34 percent, Meek 24 percent. I’m sure the Rubio folks will warmly greet any poll that has them in the lead, but again, I can’t help but suspect that a likely-voter screen would weed out a lot of unmotivated Democrats and independents.
Finally, in California, Barbara Boxer leads Carly Fiorina, 48 percent to 44 percent. But there are some quite odd numbers in the internals. Boxer is winning men, 47 percent to 46 percent. Boxer is winning independents, 45 percent to 40 percent. Perhaps most strangely, 18 percent of self-identified conservatives are backing Boxer; 77 percent back Fiorina. Meanwhile, 88 percent of liberals back Boxer, only 5 percent back Fiorina.
UPDATE: For contrast, Survey USA’s most recent California poll had conservatives backing Fiorina 87 percent to 8 percent.
Marco Rubio will not be debating Kendrick Meek on Meet the Press Sunday.
Miami, FL – Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate campaign spokesman Alex Burgos today issued the following statement:
“Unfortunately, the health of Marco’s father, Mario Rubio, has significantly deteriorated in the last 48 hours. As a result, Marco plans to stay with his father and family during this time, and will be unable to participate in this Sunday’s debate on Meet The Press.
“Mario Rubio is 83 years old and suffers from emphysema and lung cancer.
“We have informed both NBC and Kendrick Meek’s campaign about our need to reschedule this debate, and appreciate their understanding and kind words for the Rubio family during this difficult period.”