Tags: Florida

Florida Democrat on Early Voting So Far: ‘This Is Horrible.’


This is not what Florida Democrats wanted to read after the first weekend of early voting:

South Florida in-person early voting turnout might have been relatively lighter than expected this weekend, but Democrats for the first time this election still topped Republicans in pre-Election Day ballot casting at the polls in the entire state.

But, thanks to strong vote-by-mail absentee ballot returns, Republicans still lead Democrats in overall early voting: 138,572 of the more than 1.8 million ballots cast as of this morning. In relative terms, the GOP is up 7.6 percentage points.

This is a slight improvement for Democrats over an earlier report that suggested it was time to panic:

Some Democrats are starting to panic. It’s an understandable feeling. Mid-term election turnout in the big three urban counties is historically abysmal, which is a major reason why Republicans hold every statewide elected office but one.

This is a warning sign for Democrat Charlie Crist.

“This is horrible,” one South Florida consultant told me.

We’ve heard a lot about Democrats’ various get-out-the-vote efforts. In 2012, they indisputably kicked Republicans’ tails up and down the block in terms of bringing their base voters out. But so far in quite a few states, the early-vote turnout for them ranges from barely okay to disastrous. We’re seeing it in places like Nevada, with no big statewide race, and in places like Florida, where you would figure a hard-fought, closely matched governor’s race would stir some interest, if not excitement. Then again, maybe this reflects a factor unique to the Sunshine State; perhaps Florida Democrats can’t get all that excited about voting for Charlie Crist, since they spent much of the past decade voting against him when he was a Republican.

Tags: Florida , Charlie Crist , Rick Scott

Florida GOP Spotlights Crist’s Answer on Strip-Club Owner Donations


The Republican party of Florida is spotlighting this exchange between Charlie Crist and an interviewer, regarding $90,000 in contributions from strip-club owners — including contributions from owners of one that was the target of “a lengthy police investigation into allegations of prostitution and drug dealing.”

“Now that you’re aware of the source of the money, do you feel it’s appropriate to return it?”

“No, I don’t.”

Floridians may or may not disapprove of strip clubs. But it’s unlikely they feel particularly fond of strip-club owners.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Florida

Republicans Doing Just Fine in Early Vote in N.C., Iowa, Florida


Rmmember when the rest of the country laughed at Floridians for not being able to correctly fill out a ballot? A lot of Floridians — particularly Republicans — have gotten the early-voting part down:

More than 683,000 absentee ballots were cast as of Thursday morning, and Republicans continue to hold a solid lead over Democrats in returns, 48-35 percent.

That’s not huge news, in that Republicans typically overperform in absentee-ballot casting while Democrats do the same when it comes to early in-person voting. But Democrats have been expected to close the gap with Republicans in ballots cast. Instead, the margin has increased, to 13.7 percent.

Throw in the news from Iowa . . . 

. . . and North Carolina . . . 

. . . and it looks like reports of the Republican demise in early voting have been greatly exaggerated. Love it or hate it, early voting is a big part of the process now:

Tags: Early Voting , Iowa , North Carolina , Florida

Not Much Is Coming Easy to the GOP This Cycle


The Thursday morning poll roundup…

Arizona Governor: ”Forty-one percent of likely voters said they were likely to vote for Doug Ducey, the Republican nominee, while 39 percent said they would vote for Fred DuVal, the Democratic nominee — within the poll’s margin of error. Seven percent said they would vote for Libertarian Barry Hess.”

Georgia Senator: ”In the fierce fight to fill the seat vacated by Saxby Chambliss, Republican David Perdue leads Democrat Michelle Nunn by just one point: 46 percent to 45 percent.”

Georgia Governor“Incumbent Republican Nathan Deal is behind Jason Carter by one point: Carter 45 percent, Deal 44 percent.”

Virginia Senator:Virginia voters favor U.S. Sen. Mark Warner over Republican challenger Ed Gillespie with more than half saying they don’t consider President Barack Obama a factor when deciding who should be their senator, according to a poll released today. However, the telephone survey of likely voters also indicated that, while Warner, a Democrat, enjoys a nine-point lead over Gillespie, the race is not settled. About one of every five voters contacted said they still might change their minds before Nov. 4.”

Florida Governor: “The result – according to a new independent poll – is essentially a tied race between Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist, with Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie picking up 8 percent of the vote. And voters don’t seem to like or trust either of the major candidates. The Quinnipiac University poll showed Scott leading Crist 44-42 percent among likely voters, well within the poll’s margin of error.”


Tags: Arizona , Georgia , Virginia , Florida

GOP AG Chair ‘Guardedly Optimistic’ about Nov.


Alan Wilson, chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association told me in a phone interview he is feeling “very good” about GOP incumbent attorneys general holding onto their jobs this November.

Of the 25 seats Republicans currently hold nationwide, 17 are up for election this year. On Monday in Tennessee, the state supreme court appointed Republican Herbert Slatery.

Wisconsin, Colorado, and Arizona are the only red states in which the incumbent is not running for reelection. Races in those three are very competitive, said Wilson, South Carolina’s AG.

“We have a great slate of candidates in these states and believe that we will be able to hold just about every red state,” Wilson said. “We are guardedly optimistic about our chances in those three states. We have strong candidates in each that are doing very well in their campaigns.”

With Democrat AGs in Nevada, New Mexico and Arkansas not running again, Wilson is hopeful Republicans can make some inroads.

Wilson told me he is very proud Republicans have women running for AG in New Mexico and Arkansas.

“Right now, Florida is the only state with a female Republican AG,” Wilson said. “We have the opportunity to increase that number to four if Riedel, Rutledge, and Coffman are successful this November.”

Susan Riedel is running in New Mexico, Leslie Rutledge in Arkansas, and Cynthia Coffman in Colorado.

“Over the last six years, the states have lost ground to the federal government and it is the state attorneys general who stand in the delta between the people and the federal government,” Wilson said. Wilson emphasized the critical nature of these elections. “This is why we need strong rule-of-law AGs who will fight in the courts and represent [the people of their states].”

Tags: South Carolina , Wisconsin , New Mexico , Arkansas , Nevada , Colorado , Tennessee , Arizona , Florida

Bondi Outpolling Opponent


Florida attorney general Pam Bondi is leading her Democrat opponent, George Sheldon, by 8 points in a poll released by Public Policy Polling. Bondi, current AG, is showing a lead with 43 percent of voters, while Sheldon only pulls 35.

Tags: Florida

Tuesday AG News Round-up


Former United States attorney general Ed Meese spoke with Genevieve Wood of the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal about “the most lawless administration in the history of the country.” Meese goes on to say that he believes the greatest protection of Constitutional limits on the president are members of Congress who will only take action “when they understand the people are behind them.”

The Republican Attorneys General Association is planning a $1.2 million Arizona television ad buy, the Arizona Republic is reporting. No word from RAGA about the content of the ad. The news comes on the same day Democrat candidate Felecia Rotellini began running her first ad in the race against Republican Mark Brnovich.

Pam Bondi, Republican attorney general of Florida, is out with a new television ad focusing on her fight against drug abuse in the state. Her opponent, Democrat George Sheldon, called it “a solid ad,” and comments, “I think that’s a remarkable accomplishment. I’m very pleased that Pam is articulating that issue,” the Tampa Tribune reports.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette earned the endorsement of the Michigan Retailers Association in his reelection race against Democrat Mark Trotten. This endorsement is added to an expanding list which includes the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police and the Partnership for Michigan’s Health, to name a few. Trotten’s endorsements come primarily from unions including the SEIU Michigan State Council, as well as the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.

Tags: Arizona , Florida , Michigan

New Poll Shows Rick Scott Ahead in Florida’s Gubernatorial Race


Hmm. The conventional wisdom on Florida’s governor’s race is that incumbent Republican Rick Scott is in deep trouble.

Then again, maybe not:

Scott leads [Republican-turned Democrat Charlie] Crist 45 percent to 44 percent, in a new Voter Survey Service poll, commissioned by Sunshine State News. While Scott’s lead is within the margin of error, the poll reveals the Republican holds an important 5 point lead over Crist among Floridians more likely to cast votes in the November election.

This is the first poll showing Scott ahead . . . so far this cycle.

Tags: Rick Scott , Charlie Crist , Florida

Getting Out the Vote . . . Everywhere


The Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt features a brief look at the Inauguration hoopla, some ominous developments in Mali and Algeria in the war on terror, and then this continuing discussion of how Republicans ought to tinker with new get-out-the-vote ideas and efforts in the races of 2013:

The Importance of Getting Out the Vote in Safe Precincts

The opening section of yesterday’s Jolt was urging Republicans to experiment with getting out the vote in the special elections coming up this year; with most of the races in districts that lean heavily to one party or the other, it’s unlikely any botched experiment would blow a 50-50 race. (If you didn’t receive it, you can read it on Campaign Spot here.)

In response, Morning Jolt reader John E. wrote in:

Appreciated your article today. It brought to mind something I observed in the Presidential election in my neck of the woods. My “neck of the woods” is a county in the Alabama-like Florida Panhandle. John McCain took 72% here and Mitt Romney got 75%. And yet, in 2012, the Obama people had an office in our small town (I think it was donated space), and there was an identifiable presence with signs, bumper stickers and such. In other words, the Obama supporters did not throw up their hands and ignore this area, even though they knew it was hopeless here. Still, their efforts may have squeezed out a few more votes for their candidate. And if you multiply that over several counties in Dixie-ish north Florida, well, you know the state was close and every vote counted.

Indeed; 74,309 votes, or one percentage point, in Florida.

One of the hot political books of last year was Sasha Issenberg’s The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns. The book alternated between fascinating anecdotes and a tough slog for me, as if Issenberg really wanted to tell a dramatic story about a punch of political scientists reviewing tables of data and trying to find differences of one or two percent in turnout. But just as if you’re rolling your eyes at another description of a data-crunching poli-sci geek as some convention-defying upstart, rebelling against the system as defiantly as Marlon Brando in The Wild One, you come across some bit of campaign experimentation that you think future campaigns ought to study.

In a chapter about Rick Perry’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign, Issenberg writes that the campaign agreed to randomize the schedule of visits, to see if there was some measurable impact from each campaign stop. They began the campaign at Texas Tech’s pavilion in Lubbock and then moved on to Addison outside Dallas, where he visited a Texas Instruments plant under construction, then on to Tyler and Beaumont, and so on.

When [data-researching academic and Perry campaign consultant Daron] Shaw reviewed the local media, he saw that Perry’s physical presence had a remarkable ability to drive coverage. In the twelve media markets Perry visited, he earned a report on the evening TV news in nine of them and a story in the next morning’s newspaper in all twelve. And unlike the stories produced by the Austin bureaus of the big Texas papers, which Perry’s aides often felt were unfair to their boss, the local coverage of his trips was almost exclusively positive. When Shaw coded the stories in all twelve markets on a five point scale on how good they made Perry look, they found that the campaign stop warmed the tone of the coverage in all but one. In the eight control markets Perry didn’t visit, the governor was barely covered in the media during the same period.

Shaw could tell that Perry was boosted by the warm reception he got on the road. Contributions went up in the cities that he visited, along with the number of new volunteers. Across the twelve markets, Perry’s approval rating went up from 41 to 46 percent, with his unfavorable number dropping slightly. While Perry gained four points in the four-way horse race, his lead over Chris Bell, the likely Democratic nominee, remained steady, though, each of them appearing to benefit from voters abandoning the two independent candidates. Shaw assumed, sensibly, that this meant that Perry’s presence energized not only Republicans but Democrats, too. When Shaw went back the following week, however, Perry’s lead hadn’t evaporated the way the TV-aided boost had. He held on to four points he had gained.

Obviously, an incumbent governor making a campaign stop is going to attract more attention than a little-known House candidate. But the observation that television advertising’s impact tends to dissipate quickly makes sense, and raises the question if all of that television advertising in spring and summer did much good for the campaigns last year.

If I were a Republican running in Illinois’s second congressional district, South Carolina’s first district, or Missouri’s eighth district in the coming months, I would have campaign “offices” — no matter the size, no matter the demographics of the surrounding neighborhood — in as many communities as possible, and I’d be attending every event down to the opening of an envelope, all over the district. (First step: get the candidate to attend every branch-office opening and invite the local media, all the way down to the local Patch reporters. And order a pizza or two.)

Tags: Campaign Advertising , Campaigns , Florida , Rick Perry , Texas

Three Florida State Supreme Court Justices Could Leave the Bench


On November 6, Florida Supreme Court justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente, and Peggy Quince were up for retention election and were easily retained. As I discussed earlier on Bench Memos (as did Carrie Severino here and here) all three of these incumbents failed to qualify for the retention election, but made it onto the ballot anyway.

The original suit over this was dismissed on grounds that the two Floridians represented by the Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) did not have standing for the case (in fact, the court asserted that no one could have standing). That ruling is now under appeal.

On Monday, November 5, SLF, on behalf of another Florida citizen and taxpayer, filed an original action in the Florida Supreme Court asking the Court to issue a writ of quo warranto regarding the actions of Secretary of State Ken Detzner in determining the Justices “qualified” to be placed on the ballot. The argument is not one of conduct, but instead contends that none of the three justices lawfully qualified for the retention election and that the secretary of state failed to properly carry out his constitutional and administrative duties in the matter.

Incumbent Florida Supreme Court justices wishing to appear on the ballot for retention must submit certain documents in a particular manner during a particular timeframe; all three justices failed to do this. The secretary of state therefore should not have allowed them on the ballot, which has prompted the quo warranto action (i.e., a demand to show what authority he had for his actions as the secretary of state). Under the law, Secretary Detzner shall make every reasonable effort to inform those who have filed for retention election that they have failed to properly do so. But further, he also shall not contact any individual who has not filed for retention election that they need to take action, as he did for these three justices who had taken no action to file until he contacted them.

In fact, the suit asserts that the three justices had neither the intention nor ability to file the proper paperwork for the retention election. The issues of misconduct are not being raised here; the petitioner is simply asking the court to order the secretary of state to answer under what authority he determined the justices “qualified” to be placed on the ballot, since they had failed to meet the statutory qualification requirements. The petitioner is also asking under what authority he assisted the justices in “meeting” the deadline for qualifying. The evidence is undisputed that none of the three justices could have done so without the assistance of the secretary of state. Yesterday, the Florida Supreme Court transferred the case to a lower court where it will be heard. If this case is successful, Florida governor Rick Scott will appoint their replacements to the seven-member court.

Tags: Florida

From Gloom to Hope in Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida


The mood from GOP insiders, both inside and outside the Romney campaign, was looking pretty gloomy about 45 minutes ago, with great anxieties about Virginia, Florida, and even North Carolina. As more returns have come in, the mood is brightened considerably — the northern suburbs of Virginia are looking better for Romney, the Florida panhandle continues to give Romney gobs of votes when he desperately needs them, and good numbers in Wake County in North Carolina.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, subsequent counties could change things, and all proper caveats apply.

Tags: Florida , North Carolina , Virginia

RNC: Florida Panhandle, Colorado, Pittsburgh Looking Good


The RNC sends along:

Exit polls show 60 percent of voters say economy is the number one issue and 60 percent say economy is getting worse or has stagnated. Voters say Romney is the best to handle the economy and they trust him to handle the deficit.

Update from Ohio – high turnout in GOP counties, low turnout in Dem counties and Biden went to Cleveland. Clearly Chicago is nervous.

Good news from the Florida panhandle, Republicans continue to outnumber Dems in Colorado, Romney had a great showing in Pittsburgh and Paul Begala is concerned with the drop in enthusiasm with young voters.

For what it’s worth, I’m hearing the GOP turnout in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, may be a record; this county was key to Pat Toomey’s win in the 2010 Senate race. The Romney campaign also sounds quite pleased about the turnout in “coal country” of Pittsburgh. But then again, these are sometimes in the eye of the beholder.

Tags: Colorado , Florida , Pennsylvania , RNC

Early Vote in Volusia Shifted 15 Points to the GOP From 2008


One of my key counties to watch tonight is Volusia County, Florida, northeast of Orlando.

In 2008, Obama carried the county, 52.19 percent to 46.53 percent for John McCain.

The early vote in Volusia is concluded. Registered Democrats made up 44.8 percent of the early votes (27,123 votes) and registered Republicans made up 33.3 percent (20,156 votes). Independent/other made up 21.7 percent (13,152 votes.)

Before you panic, back in 2008, the split was much wider in favor of Obama (and the early-vote totals were much higher as well).

Four years ago, registered Democrats made up 52.3 percent of the early voters (35,902 votes) and Republicans made up just 26.8 percent (18,424 votes), with independents making up 20.8 percent (14,304 votes).

In short, the registered-Democrat early vote dropped by 8,779 votes and the registered-Republican early vote increased by 1,732 votes.

Four years ago, the Election Day vote went well enough for John McCain to shift from getting squashed in the early vote by 25 points to losing by 6 points. A similar 19-point shift in this cycle would put Romney ahead by 6 percentage points.

Tags: Early Voting , Florida , Volusa County

Republicans 5 Points Ahead of 2008 in Pasco County, Florida


A reader in Pasco County, Florida, calls attention to the fantastically updated county elections site.

I didn’t have Pasco on my list of 50 key counties in the Jolt, but I perhaps should have included it; it is north of Tampa, has 464,697 people in the last census.

In 2008, McCain carried Pasco County, Florida, 51 percent to 48 percent, 109,902 votes to 102,217 votes.

As of noon, 166,371 Pasco residents have voted: 43 percent registered Republican, 35 percent registered Democrat, the remaining independent or other. Registered Republicans outpaced registered Democrats in absentee ballots, early votes, and poll votes so far today.

A nice early sign, but no reason for anyone to slack off!

Tags: Early Voting , Florida

Middle Cheese: Obama Scaling Back in North Carolina, but Not Florida Yet


Middle Cheese checks in with a short update, pouring some cold water on the talk that the Obama campaign is triaging states already: “Team Romney says they have seen evidence that the Obama campaign is scaling back in North Carolina. None yet in Florida.”

Considering that the final debate is in Florida and that Romney’s lead in the state is consistent but small, and the impact news of a scaledown/concession would have on Democrats’ morale nationwide, it would make sense for the Obama campaign to stay active in Florida for as long as possible.

Tags: Florida , CrossroadsGPS , North Carolina

Obama’s New Firewall: Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada


Major Garrett, writing in National Journal:

What also became clear after the dust began to settle from the rumble on Long Island was the electoral map has narrowed and Obama’s team, while conceding nothing publicly, is circling the wagons around Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Plouffe said that Obama remains strong in all four states, but he would not discuss the specifics of internal polling or voter-contact analytics, saying only that Obama has “significant leads” in all four places.

It is uncharacteristic of Team Obama to concede any terrain, but Plouffe offered no such assurances about Obama’s position in North Carolina, Virginia, or Florida. Romney advisers have seen big gains in all three states and now consider wins likely, although not guaranteed, in all three. They are similarly upbeat about prospects in Colorado but not confident enough to predict victory. That Plouffe left Colorado off his list of states where Obama’s leading and can withstand a Romney surge might be telling.

Chalk one up for Suffolk University Political Research Center’s David Paleologos, which said they would stop polling North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida last week.

Fascinatingly, the description of Plouffe’s comments puts New Hampshire in the “firewall” pile, when the last three polls have Romney up by 4 (ARG) a tie (Suffolk) and Obama ahead by 1 (Rasmussen).

UPDATE: The Obama campaign is “absolutely not” giving up on those states, traveling press secretary Jen Psaki said today.

Tags: Barack Obama , Florida , Mitt Romney , North Carolina , Virginia

New Ohio Ad: Aid to Egypt Over Funding for Schools?


Secure America Now is hitting the airwaves in Florida and Ohio with a pair of pretty brutal ads. Neither one endorses a candidate, but it’s pretty clearly a message slamming the administration for policies the group deems a giveaway to the Muslim Brotherhood, and an insufficiently supportive policy towards Israel.

The first contends that the administration wants to give $450 million in foreign aid to “an Egypt led by the Muslim Brotherhood” instead of your local schools.

Count the themes: wasteful foreign aid, soft on Islamist groups, neglecting our schools . . .

The second features Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking in Jerusalem on September 11, warning the world to start drawing red lines against Iran’s nuclear weapons development.

Three guesses on which swing state where this ad will run.

Secure America Now says they’ll spend $1 million on airing these ads in the two states.

Tags: Barack Obama , Milwaukee , Heidi Heitkamp , Florida , John Sununu , Ohio

Middle Cheese: Keep an Eye on Swing-State Latinos


Middle Cheese writes in on a topic he’s been examining a while, how Obama and Romney stack up on the Latino vote.

Conventional wisdom holds that Mitt Romney is faring so badly with Hispanic voters that he cannot possibly win.

A recent CNN/ORC poll of Hispanics nationally finds President Obama has the support of 70 percent Hispanic voters compared to 26 percent for Mitt Romney. By comparison, John McCain got 31 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008 and George W. Bush got 44 percent in 2004, according to exit polls.

Nationally, I think the more relevant comparison is George W. Bush, who was a two-term Governor of a border state, and got 35 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2000.

Further, national polls can be deceiving because they survey Hispanics from populous states like California and New York, who are overwhelmingly Democratic voters.

Let’s look at the polls of Hispanics in the key battleground states of Florida, Nevada, and Colorado. Now the polls are all over the place, depending on whether they surveyed registered voters or likely voters. However, comparing some recent polls to the 2008 results produces some very interesting trends:

PPP Florida Poll this week shows Romney with 47% of Hispanics and Obama with 49%.

In 2008, Obama took 57% of the vote compared to McCain’s 42%.

As we all know, a large portion — though not all — of Florida’s Hispanic population is Cuban-American, and that community tends to lean Republican more than Latinos who trace their heritage to other Latin countries. Having said that, there had been buzz in recent years that Florida’s Cuban-Americans were growing less solidly Republican, and the 2008 result might be seen as evidence of that. Either 2008 is an outlier, or Romney is winning them back, so far.

Middle Cheese continues:

WSJ/NBC/Marist Nevada Poll this week shows Romney with 36% of Hispanics and Obama with 62%.

In 2008, Obama took 76% of the vote compared to McCain’s 22%.

ARG Colorado Poll this week shows Romney with 38% of Hispanics and Obama with 53%.

In 2008, Obama took 61% of the vote compared to McCain’s 38%.

Team Romney has made some very smart adjustments in both the tone and substance of Romney’s stance on immigration, which is a gateway issue for Hispanics. For example, Romney announced that he would allow undocumented “Dreamers” who were offered a two-year deferral on deportation by Obama to stay in the country if he becomes President, and that he would seek a permanent legislative solution for these undocumented young achievers who pursue higher education or serve in the military.

By doing so, Hispanics — who have experienced sharply higher rates of joblessness under Obama than the general population — are increasingly receptive to Romney’s core message of promoting upward mobility and creating 12 million jobs through pro-growth policies.To wit, a new Latino Decisions national poll has Romney at 33 percent among Hispanics, a seven point increase from a month ago.

The bottom line: Obama is not where he was with Hispanic voters in 2008 and Romney is steadily improving on McCain’s showing, which will be critical in carrying these battleground states.

Mitt’s strong debate performance the other night will no doubt boost his numbers among independent Hispanics voters. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that Mitt Romney will do at least as well as George W. Bush did among Hispanics in 2000, and he will win a majority of Hispanics in Florida.

Tags: Colorado , Florida , CrossroadsGPS , Nevada , Polling

This Morning’s Polls Project More Heavily Democratic Electorates Than in 2008


This morning, surveys from the New York Times/CBS/Quinnipiac puts Obama ahead by 10 in Ohio, up by 12 in Pennsylvania, and up by 9 in Florida.

Since the question of whether the party ID within polling samples is realistic seems to be the issue of the week, let’s take a look at how these samples stack up to the 2008 exit polls.

Ohio 2008 exits: 39 percent Democrat, 31 percent Republican, 30 percent Independent.

Ohio New York Times/Quinnipiac 2012 sample: 35 percent Democrat, 26 percent Republican, 35 percent Independent.

In this sample, the partisan split is D+9 compared to D+8 four years ago, and the GOP is five percentage points smaller than in 2008.

Over in the Weekly Standard, Jay Cost looks at recent Ohio polls and “finds Gravis, Washington Post, and Fox basically see a replay of 2008 while Rasmussen and the Purple Poll see roughly something in between 2004 and 2008.” They envision Democrat turnout being on par with last cycle or even better . . . and this surge of Democratic enthusiasm comes at the same time the president has lost considerable ground among independents. Possible? I suppose, but again, why?

Pennsylvania 2008 exits: 44 percent Democrat, 37 percent Republican, 18 percent Independent.

Pennsylvania New York Times/Quinnipiac 2012 sample: 39 percent Democrat, 28 percent Republican, 27 percent Independent.

Somehow a D+7 split has turned into D+11 split, and Republicans’ share of the electorate is nine percentage points less than they were four years ago.

Florida 2008 exits: 37 percent Democrat, 34 percent Republican, 29 percent Independent.

Florida New York Times/Quinnipiac 2012 sample: 36 percent Democrat, 27 percent Republican, 33 percent Independent.

Each party’s share only shifts a few percentage points, but the overall split goes from D+3 to D+9.

Three factors that are quasi-defenses of the current pollsters:

1) Perhaps conservative or Republican-leaning voters are more likely to flip between identifying themselves as independents or GOP. Perhaps these are Tea Party conservatives fed up with a GOP they find too “establishment,” etc. If the Democratic share of the vote were stable, it would just mean voters are shifting between these two other self-classifications.

2) Party ID solidifies as Election Day gets closer. Someone noted yesterday that a voter is more likely to self-identify with a major party just before or just after they’ve cast a vote for a major party’s candidate. The polls in late October may have higher percentages of voters identifying with the GOP, the Democrats, or both.

3) Conversely, in an extremely negative campaign environment, voters may be reluctant to identify with either party; a view of “a pox on both your houses” may make some voters prefer to identify as independents. So perhaps self-identified independents’ share of the vote is going to be higher this cycle than in 2008.

Notice that in Florida, Romney’s winning independents, 49 percent to 46 percent; in Ohio, Romney is leading independents 47 percent to 46 percent (although that’s down from a 48–41 lead in late August) and in Pennsylvania . . . well, Quinnipiac didn’t provide the breakdown of independents in the Keystone State.

Tags: Barack Obama , Florida , Mitt Romney , Ohio , Pennsylvania , Polling

Florida Could Have Three New State Supreme Court Justices


Florida Supreme Court Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente, and Peggy Quince are up for retention election this November.  As Carrie Severino pointed out last April, each of these three incumbents somehow missed Don Rumsfeld’s advice that in order to win on Election Day your name needs to be on the ballot.  During oral arguments in an extended two-hour session on one of the most important cases to come before the Florida high court in over a decade, the court broke away from the argument so the three justices could have a fighting chance to file the correct paperwork before the noon deadline.  If these justices are not on the November ballot, the governor will appoint their replacements to the seven-member court.

On Monday, two Floridians represented by the Southeastern Legal Foundation filed suit to keep these three justices off the November ballot, arguing that holding an emergency campaign meeting on government property and using government employees to help with campaign paperwork are violations of state law.  Among other things, the suit also alleges that all three justices failed to properly certify for the ballot and that Justices Lewis and Quince failed to properly disclose gifts and assets on the required disclosure forms.  

Having filled out many such forms during my various government positions, I can tell you these documents make federal tax returns look simple, but the deadline is always very clear. Further, these are not some low-level officials but rather justices of the highest court in the state.  As Florida Governor Rick Scott has said, “It’s the Supreme Court.  They should comply with the law.” One wonders what these three justices would have done if a criminal conviction of having an emergency campaign meeting on government property and using state employees for campaign paperwork was appealed to them.  My guess is that they would not have been terribly understanding.  

Tags: Florida


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