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6 posts from October 28, 2012

October 28, 2012

Voter fraud? Voter suppression? Nah. Numbers show winning FL's all about ground game

If anyone wondered why the GOP-led Legislature reduced the number of in-person early-voting days in Florida, Saturday told you everything you needed to know.

Democrats turned out in force, casting about 49 percent of the roughly 300,000 votes in just 12 hours across the state. Republicans cast 35 percent of the in-person ballots.

Republicans prefer to vote by absentee ballots, which are typically mailed in. The GOP led Democrats by a whopping 66,000 ballots cast on Saturday. Democratic early voting cut that lead by 60 percent in a single day.

All told, 1.6 million Floridians had voted by Sunday morning.

And by Monday morning, when the previous day’s vote tallies are released, that number will grow by the hundreds of thousands. And there’s a chance Democrats could surpass Republicans in pre-Election Day ballots cast.

Sunday was a big day to get out the Democratic base — the black vote — as part of a “Souls to the Polls” rally. This was the only day available for after-church weekend voting because the Legislature eliminated early voting on the Sunday before Election Day.

“They’ve cut back the time, but they can’t cut back the line,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, an MSNBC host and founder of the National Action Network, who stumped in South Florida this weekend.

“The lines are longer,” Sharpton said. “And they may be stronger.”

But the evidence of the longer, stronger lines also conflicts with a talking point from liberals: That the Legislature engaged in “voter suppression” by reducing the number of early-voting days from 14 to eight.

Before 2002, there was no early in-person voting at all. Since then, the Legislature has also expanded chances to cast absentee ballots in Florida. Absentee-ballot voting has gone on for almost a month. It’s easy to request and get one. Almost too easy.

So there’s plenty of time for anyone to cast a ballot (unless you’re a felon, which is a separate issue).

Meantime, conservatives are doing their own share of spinning.

The reduction of early voting hours was made in a package of legislative reforms designed to crack down on voter fraud. But the law didn’t touch absentee-ballot voting, which is the easiest way to commit voter fraud (and it’s not that easy to cast fake ballots, either, especially on a significant scale).

The GOP dominates absentee-ballot voting in Florida. So the GOP Legislature saw little reason to harm their vote-by-mail program. And when The Miami Herald began reporting about fraud issues related to absentee ballots in August, Republicans started complaining that the news media were trying to suppress the GOP vote.

Now that in-person and mail-in ballot voting is underway, there’s a wealth of new data for each side to complain and boast about.

More here

PPP FL poll: Obama 49%, Romney 48% (Connie Mack looking like a goner)

From Public Policy Polling, a firm that typically surveys for Democrats

PPP's newest Florida poll finds Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 49/48, flipping the numbers from each of our last two polls of the state which found Romney leading by a point. Every poll PPP has conducted in the state since the first Presidential debate has found a one point race.

Obama's leading in Florida based on his strength with women (54/45), African Americans (89/10), and voters under 30 (55/39). Romney is strong with men (53/43), whites (57/39), and seniors (53/46). Romney also has narrow advantages with Hispanics (54/46) and independents (50/43).

Continue reading "PPP FL poll: Obama 49%, Romney 48% (Connie Mack looking like a goner)" »

With favorable FL polls, Romney heads to Miami on Wednesday (Obama, Clinton in Orlando Monday)

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is heading to the University of Miami on Wednesday, according to the campaign.

The Romney visit will come just three days after a Miami Herald poll showed President Obama's numbers aren't where they need to be in Miami-Dade, Florida's most-populous county, County if he wants to carry the Sunshine State.

To win Florida, Obama needs a big lead in Miami-Dade, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 15 percentage points, 44-29 percent. Obama won Miami-Dade by a 16-point margin in 2008.

A Sunday Miami Herald poll, however, shows Obama is only winning Miami-Dade by 9 percentage points. As of Sunday morning, after the first day of in-person early voting, Democrats narrowly led Republicans in all 153,000 ballots (absentee and in-person) cast, 42-40 percent in Miami-Dade.

Romney's strategy: keep Obama from running up big numbers in Southeast Florida, the most-liberal region of the state. Romney is winning in conservative North Florida and a Tampa Bay Times poll Sunday showed the Republican is carrying the center of the state, nicknamed the I-4 Corridor, 51-45 percent over Obama.

Obama visits the heart of the I-4 Corridor, Orlando, on Monday with former President Bill Clinton. Vice-President Joe Biden will visit some area of the state on Wednesday.

Assuming the schedule holds, Wednesday marks the second time Romney has visited the University of Miami. Florida is must-win for Romney. Obama, who doesn't need Florida as badly as Romney, has visited UM three times this year.


Senate campaign: contest between the self-proclaimed 'mainstream conservative' & 'Florida moderate'

Rick Johnson, a financial advisor from Shalimar is worried.

“I know it’s a tough time in Washington, but another four years of deadlock is not going to move this country forward,’’ he told U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV at a brief campaign stop last month in the military stronghold of Walton County in the Panhandle. “It’s a recipe for disaster.”

Mack didn’t hesitate with the answer. “We’re going to get this country back and that means more jobs, more security and more freedom,’ he said. “I appreciate you coming out.”

It doesn’t get more complicated than that for Mack, 45, a nine-year Republican congressman from Fort Myers who is challenging incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson for the U.S. Senate. Mack profile here.


 On a clear October morning, Florida’s senior senator stood on the red clay soil near his grandfather’s grave and pointed to the cow pasture behind him.

“I remember my bare feet on that cold earth that had been turned up by the big plow,’’ he told friends and relatives at the church cemetery halfway between Pensacola and Tallahassee. “These are the pioneers that saw technology change our way of life.”

Four hours later, Nelson was in Tallahassee, pointing again — this time at the world’s largest magnet housed at the National Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University.

“We are going to Mars,’’ he told the scientists. “We need to create a magnetic field around our astronauts so if there is a solar explosion, they won’t get fried. Can you do that?”

“Yes,’’ answered Greg Boebinger, the lab director. “It’s conceivable.”

It wasn’t much of a campaign day for Nelson in this low-key re-election campaign, but it was a lot like his political career: book-ended by a pilgrimage to his roots and an homage to Florida’s technological future.

After nearly 40 years in public office, Nelson has bridged the generations and the technological divide. He has watched its cow pastures transformed in the wake of the state’s population boom. He was a civilian crew member of the 1986 space shuttle Columbia and is now the lone Democrat to hold statewide office in the nation’s largest swing state. His centrist positions on fiscal and social issues, and his low-key demeanor have helped him remain in office even as political power in Florida has shifted from Democrat to Republican. He is arguably the last of Florida’s old-style Southern Democrats.

But if Republicans have their way, the state’s longest-serving Democrat will be ousted this year. Nelson profile here.




With 1.6m Floridians having voted, Dems cut GOP absentee vote-lead in half in 1st early vote day

In just 12 hours of in-person early voting Saturday, Florida Democrats swamped the polls so heavily that they ran up a more than 39,000-vote margin over Republicans out of the nearly 300,000 votes that were cast at polling stations.

The Democratic vote was so big that it cut a Republican lead, built up during a month's worth of absentee-ballot voting, by about 60 percent. As of Saturday morning, Republicans were ahead of Democrats by nearly 66,000 absentee ballots cast, or 5 percentage points.

Factor in the day's worth of Democratic early voting, and that GOP lead is now just above 26,300, or 1.6 points. Add in Duval, whenever those numbers come in, and the GOP lead should be even smaller.

Here are the absentee and early vote ballots combined:

Party   Total votes      Total %         REP edge
REP     684,744 43%           26,310
DEM     658,434 41%
IND     262,516 16%
Total  1,605,694

 The early vote numbers:

Party    EV votes       EV%   DEM EV edge
DEM     145,470 49% 39,522
REP     105,948 35%  
IND       47,219 16%  
TOTAL     298,637    

 The absentee vote numbers:

Party AB votes      AB%     REP AB edge
REP     578,796 44%           65,832
DEM     512,964 39%  
IND     215,297 16%  
Total  1,307,057    

In the Democrats' favor: the eight days of early voting continues today. And It's the only Sunday of early voting, when African-Americans prefer to head to the polls after church for their "Souls to the Polls" rallies. The Legislature, in shortening the Democrat-heavy early voting days, eliminated the Sunday-before-Election Day early voting.

Continue reading "With 1.6m Floridians having voted, Dems cut GOP absentee vote-lead in half in 1st early vote day" »

Miami Herald poll: Obama, who defeated McCain by 16 points in Miami-Dade, ahead of Romney by 9

Miami-Dade voters appear ready to impose term limits on county commissioners, finance improvements to public school facilities and pay extra taxes to protect stray pets — but they don’t want to pay for a new roof on the Miami Dolphins’ stadium, according to a Miami Herald poll.

President Barack Obama, while besting Republican challenger Mitt Romney, also seems to have significantly less support among county voters today than he had in 2008, when a double-digit win in Miami-Dade helped him carry Florida.

The Herald’s poll of 625 likely voters, conducted by Jacksonville-based Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, addressed a series of local issues, including several proposed amendments to the Miami-Dade charter included on the Nov. 6 ballot. The voters were also asked about their opinions on the Obama administration’s Cuba policies. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

The poll, conducted Oct. 22-24, found that 61 percent of respondents approved of eight-year term limits for Miami-Dade commissioners, and only 13 percent were against the proposed restrictions, which must be enacted with a charter amendment approved by voters. More than one in four voters surveyed said they were undecided on term limits.

“The longer they stay, the more corrupt they become,” said Kenneth Hankin of Coral Gables, a term-limits supporter.

About 57 percent of those polled said they would approve $1.2 billion in general obligation bonds to pay for upgrades to Miami-Dade’s aging public school buildings. Only 19 percent of the voters were against the bonds, and 24 percent of the respondents were undecided.