A survey conducted by Gov. Rick Scott’s political pollster shows that exactly half of the electorate wants to recall Miami-Dade's Mayor Carlos Alvarez. Only 32 percent would vote to keep him in office. The rest are undecided.
Also, far more voters have an unfavorable opinion (46 percent) than a favorable opinion (24 percent) of Alvarez – a situation known as being “upside-down.”
Sounds like bad news? Actually not, said Republican consultant Roger Stone, a Miami-Dade resident who’s not affiliated with Alvarez or his opponents.
“It’s good news. He’s right at 50 percent. His recall is not a foregone conclusion,” Stone said. “Sure, his unfavorables are at 46, and it’s not great. But it’s under 50. He’s not nearly as polarizing as people would have you believe.”
Still, Alvarez is deeply unpopular. No economic or demographic group favors him more than disfavors him. And he’s unpopular in every Dade congressional district, the poll shows. If he’s unseated in the March 15 vote, the favorite to replace him would be Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, who would garner 13 percent of the vote in a crowded field, the poll shows.
But Alvarez has to lose first. And his opponents might be all punched out. Unless something new breaks, Alvarez could have weathered the worst already. The poll shows that a plurality of voters (40 percent) is more aware about the recall effort than about his stance on taxes (18 percent). Relatively few seem to feel passionately about the big raises he gave out at county hall or the opulent baseball stadium he pushed – cornerstones of the campaign against him.
Alvarez's campaign is just getting cranked up. There’s a good chance of robo-calls, push polls and mailers savaging Norm Braman, who led the recall effort. After all, a good way to win a campaign is to go on offense against your opponent – in Braman’s case, a millionaire car dealer.
The poll was conducted by Tony Fabrizio for an unnamed group that wants to remain anonymous but is interested in the recall election (i.e., potential donors who want their contributions to be on the right side of the vote). Fabrizio, who did not return calls for comment, did not conduct the poll for Scott, for whom he still consults. Fabrizio earned a sterling reputation in Florida’s political circles for his polling-and-message management of Scott’s unexpectedly successful gubernatorial campaign.
Bottom line: These are probably the best polling numbers for the race right now.
On the polling numbers for his potential successors: Robaina (13), Carlos Gimenez (9),** Marcelo Llorente (2), Juan Carlos Bermudez (2), Lazaro Gonzalez (1), Darrin Ellis (1), Joshua Larose (1) and Santiago Portal (1).
On the issues: Being as specific as possible what are the one or two things you recall hearing about the mayor of Miami-Dade County?
Being recalled: 40
Raising taxes: 18
Inappropriately paying staff: 11
Disagree with his views: 7
Issues with the police department: 6
Doing a bad job: 4
Approving a new baseball stadium: 4
Favorable/like his views: 3
Budget issues: 2
Not for the people: 1
** Note: The previous blog inaccurately said Alex Diaz de la Portilla worked for Carlos Alvarez. Instead, he is campaign consultant for Gimenez.