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311 posts from October 2012

October 31, 2012

2.7m Floridians have voted (30%?). Dems stretch early ballot lead to nearly 49,000 over Republicans

The early vote and absentee ballot data (EV/AB) is in, and it shows that Democrats on the fourth day of voting in-person voting extended their lead over total Republican ballots cast by about 48,600**.

In all, Democrats edged Republicans by 118,000 early vote ballots, but Republicans extended their absentee-vote lead to more than 69,000.

Nearly 2.7 million ballots have been cast out of a total 12 million registered voters, 75 percent of whom will probably vote. That means about 30 percent of the ballots are already in.

There's a dispute between the Republican and Democratic parties about what the numbers all mean. Republicans claim Democrats in 2008 were up by a total of 134,000 ballots at this time (four days into early voting). That number does seem high, and the Democrats say it's not true and that Republicans are playing fast and loose with the numbers.

It is true that total early voting is down by Dems from 134,000 to about 118,00 four days in. But that's not the net EVAB number. That's just early voting. And one of the reasons for the decline is that Democrats have shifted some of their early voters in 08 to being absentee-ballot voters in 2012. And Democrats have closed the big AB gap with the GOP by about two thirds since 08.

President Obama, however, clearly has a problem in the polls. They show him winning the early vote, however he's losing independents. About 450,000 have already cast ballots and they account for about 20 percent of the electorate.

Either way, Democrats are still up. A lead is a lead. But can they keep it through Election Day?

The totals for EV

Party     EV total           %
Dem     517,909 47%
Rep     399,687 36%
Ind     182,016 17%
Total  1,099,612

For AB

Party    AB total        %
Rep     686,671 44%
Dem     617,053 39%
Ind     264,691 17%
Total  1,568,415


Party         Total            %
Dem  1,134,962 43%
Rep  1,086,358 41%
Ind     446,707 17%
Total  2,668,027

Note: The numbers might be slightly different later in the day when updates are posted. Lafayette County didn't post its data this morning

Ahead of merit retention vote, Times/Herald charts controversial Supreme Court decisions

Three Florida Supreme Court justices up for merit retention votes are being opposed by conservatives, who argue that the justices have displayed liberal philosophies in their decisions. It doesn’t help that the justices -- R. Fred Lewis, 64, Barbara Pariente, 63, and Peggy Quince, 64 -- were all appointed by Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles, although Republican Gov. Jeb Bush also had a hand in selecting Quince.

The question is: Are these justices too activist and how can you tell?

While about 80 percent of all the court’s decisions are unanimous, conservative groups and the Republican Party of Florida -- which are opposing retention of the justices -- point to specific cases where they say members of the state Supreme Court crossed the line.

The Times/Herald Tallahassee bureau looked into nine specific examples cited by opponents of the justices as judicial activism so you can see the case, how the seven-member court ruled and, when there was dissent, why justices disagreed.

Read further to see the chart detailing these cases.

Tia Mitchell, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Continue reading "Ahead of merit retention vote, Times/Herald charts controversial Supreme Court decisions" »

Mellman/Dem poll: Obama 49, Romney 47 in Florida

Polls are all over the map. RealClearPolics average puts it at Romney + 1.3 pecent n F. Pollster.com average has Fla 48-48. The latest from Democrats' Mellman group:

This analysis represents the findings of a statewide survey of the likely November 2012 Florida electorate using a registration-based sample including cellphones and landlines. Eight hundred (800 interviews were conducted in English and Spanish October 24-27. The margin of error for the whole sample is +/-3.4% at a 95% level of confidence and higher for subgroups depending upon size.

Our latest poll shows President Obama gaining momentum in Florida and now leading Mitt Romney 49% to 47%, with the pool of undecided voters shrinking to just 4%. Among the 29% who have already cast their ballot, the President received the support of over half—topping Romney 51% to 47%. Last week the President was tied with his challenger.

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Q Poll: Obama 48, Romney 47 in Florida.

From Quinnipiac University (whose survey came under instant fire from Republicans saying it oversampled Democrats. More here on that refrain):

Increased support from women likely voters helps Gov. Mitt Romney narrow the gap with President Barack Obama in Florida and Virginia, leaving these key swing states too close to call, while the president holds a 5-point lead in Ohio, according to a Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News Swing State poll released today.

By wide margins, voters in each state say President Obama cares about their needs and problems more than Gov. Romney, but the Republican is seen as a leader by more voters. 

On who is better able to fix the economy, 49 percent of Florida voters pick Romney, with 47 percent for Obama; 49 percent of Ohio voters pick Obama, with 48 percent for Romney, and 50 percent of Virginia voters pick Romney, with 46 percent for Obama.

The Obama-Romney overall matchup in each of these states shows:

•    Florida: Obama at 48 percent to Romney’s 47 percent, compared to Obama up        53 – 44 percent September 26;

•    Ohio: Obama up 50 – 45 percent, unchanged from October 22;

•    Virginia: Obama at 49 percent to Romney’s 47 percent, compared to Obama up
      51 – 46 percent October 11.

“After being subjected to what seems like a zillion dollars’ worth of television ads and personal attention from the two candidates reminiscent of a high-school crush, the key swing states of Florida and Virginia are too close to call with the election only days away,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.  “President Barack Obama clings to a 5-point lead in Ohio, but Gov. Mitt Romney has narrowed the president’s lead that existed in Florida and Virginia before the first debate.”

Palm Beach County GOP panic: Dems are "cleaning our clocks" (via WPTV)

There's a sense of worry among Palm Beach County Republicans. They're not just outnumbered 44-29 percent by Democrats. The Democrats are "cleaning our clocks" in both early and absentee ballots, according to a GOP email obtained by WPTV.

The Democrat-over-Republican spread: 54-27 percent as of yesterday morning. That's about 30,000 ballots. And there's a good chance that margin could be even bigger after another day of early voting.

From WPTV:

A memo obtained by NewsChannel5's Evan Axelbank, from an adviser to a local GOP campaign, says that the Democratic turnout effort is, "cleaning our clock."

The memo says, "The early and absentee turnout is starting to look more troubling."

It also says, "Even if Romney wins the state (likely based on polls), the turnout deficit in PBC will affect our local races."

At the Delray Beach early voting site, we saw a Democratic campaign operative, who was handing out sheets printed with the Democratic slate.

"Alright Democrats, you've got your cheat sheet here," said Robert Murstein, a Democratic party volunteer.

Murstein is carrying out his party's game plan.

October 30, 2012

The Cuban Conundrum and FIU's FL poll: Obama 51-Romney 47 among Hispanics.

Call it the Cuban Conundrum — a problem for pollsters who find Florida Hispanics are far more Republican than anywhere else in the nation.

It’s on full display in the latest Florida International University/Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll of likely Hispanic Florida voters showing President Barack Obama clings to a narrow 51-47 percent lead over Republican Mitt Romney.

But nationwide, the poll shows, Obama leads by a far bigger margin among likely Hispanic voters.

The difference in Florida: Cuban voters. Without them, the FIU poll shows, Obama would handily win likely Florida Hispanic voters 65-32 percent.

Not only are Cubans reliable Republican voters — they’re about 70 percent of Miami-Dade’s registered Republicans — but they’re also more likely to answer surveys like the FIU poll.

“Cuban-American voters pick up the phone and answer. They want to be heard,” said Eduardo Gamarra, an FIU professor of Latin American studies who conducted the poll with his political research firm, the Newlink Group.

Continue reading "The Cuban Conundrum and FIU's FL poll: Obama 51-Romney 47 among Hispanics. " »

Video: Is Florida shifting toward Mitt Romney with a week to go?

Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau Chief Steve Bousquet appeared on Fox News this afternoon to discuss the recent Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll of voters along the Interstate 4 corridor and whether Florida is shifting toward Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as the campaign enters its final week.

Is Obama's FL camp too confident about Hispanic numbers?

CNN today reported that President Obama's Florida team believes there's a direct correlation between Hispanic voter turnout and the campaign's chances in Florida:

"If President Barack Obama wins Florida, it will be thanks to an increase in Hispanic voters, according to leaders of the president's campaign in the state," CNN said.

"One week before Election Day and three days into early voting in the ever important battleground, Obama's Sunshine State director Ashley Walker told reporters during a pen and pad briefing that early turnout among Hispanics is up 50% from 2008 due to an increase in registration and enthusiasm in the community."

Here's what wasn't apparently mentioned: Obama's Hispanic numbers don't appear to be that rosy in Florida.

Public Policy Polling, a firm that typically surveys for Democrats, found that Obama was actually losing the Florida Hispanic vote 46-54 to Republican Mitt Romney. But it doesn't poll in Spanish, and the sample size was small. Two Mason-Dixon polls this weekend had mixed news for Obama. It showed him up 56-37 percent in the crucial I-4 corridor, but he was down 19-76 percent among Cuban voters in Miami-Dade. And they're amped to vote, casting about 44 percent of the 134,000 absentee ballots that have been mailed in so far.

Then there's SurveyUSA, which doesn't poll in Spanish like PPP, that showed Obama up over Romney among Hispanics in Florida, 58-32.

If the numbers are all over the place, there's a reason for it: The Florida Hispanic vote is not monolithic. Survey in one area (like Cuban-heavy South Florida or Puerto Rican-heavy Central Florida) and your poll can move right or left.

And the voter-registration data isn't so helpful, either.

Hispanics prefer the “no party affiliation” label to being Democrats or Republicans. Since 2008, the Hispanic voter rolls have grown 22 percent overall to 1.7 million, about 14 percent of the electorate. Hispanic no-party affiliation growth: 38 percent. Democratic growth: 22 percent. Republican growth: 7 percent.

So Hispanics prefer right now to be independents. And the polls almost universally agree: Romney's narrowly winning independents right now.

But polls are polls. And ground game is ground game. The best campaign will get its voters out. And it'll win, despite what the polls say.

With flooding and damage in the NE, will talk of a cat fund re-emerge?

Remember four years ago, when the candidates actually talked about a national catastrophic reinsurance fund to spread the risk of natural disasters across state lines, provide a cushion for reinsurance and make insuring disasters more affordable? 

The concept, which first came to life after Hurricane Andrew devastated Miami in 1992, emerged again after the seven-hurricanes of 2004 and 2005. Then-Sen. Barack Obama and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani embraced the idea.

A group of U.S. House members, including then-Reps. Ron Klein, a Democrat, and Ginny Brown-Waite, a Republican, won support for a plan to create a voluntary catastrophe fund modeled after Florida’s Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.

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How much did the Bill Nelson/Connie Mack debate matter?

When Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson faced off in a debate against Republican U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, it's clear they were both armed with plenty of barbs and quips to help fire up their supporters.

But how many people were actually watching? 

While nobody has compiled total viewership, television stations estimated that 42,000 people watched in Tampa and 32,000 in Miami.

The event was held at Nova Southeastern University on Oct. 17, and is the only time the candidates will face-off before voters go to the polls Nov. 6.

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