November 01, 2014

Nearly 2.8m have voted in FL; GOP ahead 134k, Dems still slightly catching up


Almost 2.8 million Floridians have cast early and absentee ballots so far, and Republican returns are still ahead of Democrats, who have been in slow-motion catchup.

GOP lead over Democrats: 133,521, or 4.8 percentage points as of this morning. Yesterday's lead: 134,910 or 5.3 percent.

While Democrats can rightly boast they're closing the gap, the question lingers: Is it enough? Probably not. Republicans' lead could be cut to less than 4 percentage points by Election Day, according to an extrapolation of the past five days' voting rates. That could be a vote margin of more than 128,000 in Republican's favor. Again this is an extrapolation based on current rates. This analysis is conservative both in its mathematical assumptions and, incidentally, in its political outcome because it shows Republicans doing rather well.

This weekend could easily throw the averages more in Democrats' favor. This is the last weekend of in-person early voting, when Democrats have a chance to flex their more than 455,000-voter advantage. This is the time to see if Souls to the Polls, when African-Americans have flocked to vote after church, will really make a difference. 

Last weekend did relatively little for Democrats. And this weekend, Republicans want to make sure it's a repeat.

One factor in Democrat Charlie Crist's favor, most polls show him winning independents. And no-party-affiliation and third-party voters could make up as much as 18 percent of the pre-Election Day voters. Obviously, we only have polls to guide us because votes won't be tallied until Election Day.

Polls show the race essentially tied. Ask many of Florida's top political minds who's going to win and they say they have no clue. There are so many unknowns and oddities with this race, with two deeply flawed candidates who are basically both incumbents. 

Many are predicting low overall turnout. If we have 2010's 49 percent turnout, about 5.8 million people will vote. So about 47 percent of the vote is already in. Based on current rates, 3.2 million could vote by absentee or early vote ballot, which could be 60 percent of the electorate.

Prior posts on related topics can be found through the Florida Voters tab and here are today's in-person early votes and absentee votes, followed by the totals:

PARTY         EV          %
REP     442,306 40.9%
DEM     449,268 41.6%
IND     189,064 17.5%
TOTAL  1,080,638  
PARTY         AB's           %
REP 762531 45.6%
DEM 622048 36.9%
IND 295138 17.5%
TOTAL 1679717  
PARTY      EVAB           %
REP  1,204,837 43.6%
DEM  1,071,316 38.8%
IND     484,202 17.5%
TOTAL  2,760,355  

October 31, 2014

1,800-sample poll: Rick Scott 47 percent; Charlie Crist 44 percent. RX pot in trouble


Gov. Rick Scott is leading Democrat Charlie Crist 47-44 percent in a new poll from Democratic leaning SEA Strategic Polling & Design exclusively obtained by The Miami Herald.

Scott’s 3 percentage-point lead is still no statistically significant because it’s within the 1,800-respondent poll’s error margin. The poll has been conducted in three waves, each of which is larger than many standalone polls (background here and here).

Still, the race is likely still a tie, though this poll indicates it's leaning Scott. Quinnipiac University's poll yesterday found it more Crist-leaning.

Meantime, the Florida medical marijuana initiative appears in trouble. Support is at 55 percent, with 39 percent opposed. It takes 60 percent approval to pass a proposed constitutional amendment such as this.

Scott’s job approval is at 52-44 percent. The poll shows that 50 percent have a favorable impression of him compared to 46 percent who have an unfavorable impression. In comparison, Crist’s fav-unfav: 44-53 percent. President Obama’s: 48-51 percent.

The poll of likely Florida voters screened from a voter list has more Republican respondents than Democrats, 43-41 percent. No-party-affiliation and third-party voters are 16 percent of the poll.

The survey’s screen reflects a relatively typical mid-term election in Florida, where Democrats typically stay home in greater numbers than Republicans. So far, in pre-Election Day voting, Republicans have stayed ahead of Democrats in casting ballots, about 135,000 more as of this morning.

Once change in this final pool compared to the prior two waves: Crist’s lead among independents has almost evaporated. It’s now just 1 percentage point (39-38 percent) over Scott.

Crist also faring more poorly among Democrats (82 percent of whom support him) than Scott is among Republicans (87 percent of whom support the Republican). Scott gets 9 percent Democratic support and Crist 8 percent Republican support.

Obviously, this isn’t good news for Democrats who must now content themselves with the hope that 1) they have a big turnout for early voting on the weekend to cut more deeply into the GOP-ballot margin 2) have a bigger Election Day turnout 3) the poll’s screen of likely voters who have voted in two of the three previous major elections hasn’t picked up a significant number of so-called “sporadic voters” who don’t get through tight likely voter screens.

Joe Biden is Miami bound for Charlie Crist, Joe Garcia

From two press releases:

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – Vice President Joe Biden will join Charlie Crist at a "Souls to the Polls" event in Miami on Sunday, November 2 at 2:00 PM. Doors will open to the public at 12:00PM.

This event is OPEN PRESS.

Who: Vice President Biden, Governor Charlie Crist

What: “Souls to the Polls” Rally Event

When: Sunday, November 2, 2:00PM

Where: Mt. Hermon AME Church, 401 NW 7th Terrace, Ft. Lauderdale

RSVP: Press wishing to attend the event must RSVP to by Saturday, November 1 at 12:00 PM ET. Additional press details forthcoming, including pre-set and sweep times.

Tallahassee, FL — On Sunday, November 2 at 10:00 AM, Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Charlie Crist, nominee for Lt. Governor Annette Taddeo, and Congressman Joe Garcia, and the Latino Victory Project will rally with supporters in Miami.

The candidates will be joined by actor William Levy, Univision host Enrique Santos and Henry Muñoz.

This event will be open to pre-credentialed media only. Reporters who wish to be credentialed must email with the subject line “Vice President BidenEvent Credentials.” Members of the media who have not been pre-credentialed by 3:00 PM on Saturday will not be admitted into the event. 

The rally will take place at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center on Florida International University’s campus. Doors open at 10:00 AM.

DATE: Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014

LOCATION: Wertheim Performing Arts Center at FIU, 10910 SW 17th Street, Miami

Nearly 2.6m Floridians have voted; GOP ahead of Dems by 135k ballots, but lead still slipping


With four days until Election Day, nearly 2.6 million people have cast in-person early votes and absentee ballots. As in past days, the GOP is holding on to its lead in ballots cast over Democrats, who are nibbling away at the margins.

GOP lead this morning over Democrats: 134,910 or 5.3 percentage points.

Yesterday's GOP lead: 140,123, or 5.9 percentage points.

Prior posts can be found through the Florida Voters link here.

PARTY          EV           %
REP         384,159 41.1%
DEM         390,025 41.7%
IND         161,591 17.3%
TOTAL         935,775  
PARTY          AB's            %
REP         740,128 45.6%
DEM         599,352 36.9%
IND         283,804 17.5%
TOTAL       1,623,284  
PARTY       EVAB            %
REP       1,124,287 43.9%
DEM         989,377 38.7%
IND         445,395 17.4%
TOTAL       2,559,059  


PolitiFact Florida's greatest hits of the governor's race

Through all the debates, TV ads, emails to supporters and appearances on the campaign trail, PolitiFact Florida has been fact-checking the race for Florida governor. We’ve published more than 80 fact-checks over the past year on everything from abortion to immigration to university tuition.

Overall, the race between incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist has been chock full of attacks, with each side sending out a barrage of negative commentary on the other guy.

Here, then, is PolitiFact Florida's rundown of our most significant fact-checks in the campaign for Florida’s governor. Since 2010, we have fact-checked Scott 125 times and Crist 77 times (the difference is due to the fact that Scott has been in office nearly all of that time unlike Crist who left the governor's job in January 2011).

October 30, 2014

Polling shows Fla governor's race could be closer than 2000


Gov. Rick Scott is winning reelection by about 2 percentage points in a major new poll exclusively shared with The Miami Herald.

Democrat Charlie Crist is winning by 3 percentage points in Quinnipiac University’s new poll.

Which survey is right?

Both are.

The results rest within each poll’s margin of error, meaning the race is essentially a tie – regardless of the poll. Every other major survey shows that. And it looks like it will stay a squeaker through Election Day, Nov. 4.

“This race is closer than we thought George Bush vs. Al Gore was before the 2000 elections,” SEA pollster Tom Eldon said, referring to the 537-vote margin that made Bush president after 37 days of disputed results, court challenges and ballot reviews.

So Tuesday is going to be a long night?

“You’re potentially talking about a long month,” Eldon said.

More here

SEA (Dem) poll: Rick Scott 46 percent, Charlie Crist 44 percent


Gov. Rick Scott is holding on to a 46-44 percent lead over Charlie Crist, according to a new likely voter poll exlusively shared with The Miami Herald.

Scott’s 2 percentage-point lead is well within survey’s 2.7 percentage-point margin of error – like every other recent major poll in this race – making the contest a tie. The 1,300-respondent poll was conducted by Democratic-leaning polling firm SEA Polling & Strategic Design.

A Quinnipiac University poll this morning found Crist led Scott 43-40 percent, a lead that was also within the margin of error.

The SEA poll, chartered by a coalition of businesses and exclusively shared with The Miami Herald, has been conducted in two waves over the past three days. The first results, of 800 likely voters, were reported yesterday.

While Scott’s margin has held at 2 percentage points, Florida's medical-marijuana constitutional amendment has slightly slipped by 2 points, with 57 percent supporting it and 37 percent opposing.

The amendment needs 60 percent support to pass. It still could pass if the undecideds stay home.

What makes the survey from pollster Tom Eldon stand out is that he’s one of the best in Florida, he’s a Democrat and he doesn’t sugarcoat his numbers. It’s also proof that good pollsters produce good numbers, regardless of party affiliation.

Eldon produced the poll showing Crist running strong in a bellwether seat in Pasco County.

This poll shows Scott is viewed more favorably by the electorate, relatively speaking, than President Obama or Crist.

Scott’s fav-unfav rating: 49-47 percent
Crist’s fav-unfav: 45-51
Obama’s fav-unfav: 48-50 percent.

Basically, no one is liked very much. And, as noted earlier today, all the polling and ballot numbers make this look like a squeaker of a race.

Crist used to be viewed much more favorably. But then Scott in March embarked on a mammoth $70 million TV ad campaign. Much of Scott’s ads have been devoted to trashing Crist, though the Republican has called the Democrat a “mudslinger.”

And, indeed, Crist has thrown mud. But he and his allies have less money for slinging; they’ve spent about $35 million on ads, much of savaging Scott.

Also aiding Scott somewhat is the condition of the state’s economy: 40 percent say it’s heading in the right direction; 31 percent in the wrong direction and 20 percent say it’s mixed. As for Scott’s job performance, 51 percent approve and 44 percent disapprove.

Libertarian Adrian Wyllie is not a factor, getting 4 percent of the vote.

Scott and Crist get about equal amounts of their base voters; with the Republican drawing 86 percent support from Republicans and the Democrat 83 percent from Democrats. Scott and Crist each get 9 percent support from voters of the other party.

Crist is leading Scott 38-33 percent among no-party-affiliation and third-party voters.

Crist’s lead among independents could prove crucial. Quinnipiac, which identifies party ID differently, found Crist leading by an astonishing 18 percentage points – an outlier compared to other polls. Both surveys have different methodologies.

More on polling can be found in the polling tab here.

Fact-checking claims about environment in Florida's race for governor

When billionaire activist Tom Steyer declared that he would use his fortune to attack candidates who didn’t believe in man-made climate change, that set the stage for the environment to play a prominent role in this year’s race for governor in Florida.

Steyer formed a political action committee, NextGen Climate Action Committee, and set his sights on Republican Gov. Rick Scott, in addition to candidates in other states.

Environmental issues have arisen in past campaigns, but what was unique about Florida this year was that a pro-environmental entity had millions to spend on TV ads.

Scott’s rival Democrat Charlie Crist weighed in with his own statements about the environment, including our state’s record on solar energy.

Scott and the Republicans countered with attacks on Crist about Duke Energy and about riding in a private jet. Turn to PolitiFact Florida for a summary of our environmental fact-checks.

Almost 2.4m in FL have voted, GOP lead and margin-rate slightly sliding to Democrats


About 2.4 million Floridians have cast in-person early and absentee ballots as of Thursday morning and, as in the past week, Republicans still hold an advantage over Democrats in ballots cast but the GOP's margins are still slipping a bit, in terms of percentage.

GOP lead over Democrats: 140,123, or 5.9 percent. Yesterday, the spread was 141,363, or 6.4 percent. 

Since in-person early voting began, Republicans have alternately (but barely) increased their overall vote lead but seen their advantage in terms of rate slip. That's in part because Democrats and independents (a shorthand for no-party-affiliation and third-party voters) have begun casting ballots at higher rates.

As noted in prior posts (you can find them here), independents are looming larger and larger in the race. Just this morning, Quinnipiac University released a poll showing Charlie Crist led Gov. Rick Scott by an 18 percentage point margin among independents. That's probably an outlier result. And it needs to be pointed out that Quinnipiac uses self-identification polls in which respondents tell the pollster what their party is; so some of these independents are Democrats and Republicans.

However, another poll released yesterday by SEA Polling and Strategic Design showed Crist winning independents 37-33 percent. And that poll was conducted off a voter list, so those margins can theoretically be compared to the independents who have voted so far. 

Here's what happens if you apply those independent results to the pre-Election Day ballots: Scott's potential 140,000 lead gets cut by by about 12,000 to almost 128,000, an 8.7 percent reduction.

Apply the entire SEA poll's partisan crosstabs to the early ballots, and Scott theoretically leads Crist 47-42 percent (a 133,000 margin).

A word of caution: the above calculations are just a math exercise to give one glimpse into how the race is playing out. We still don't know how people actually voted. This is also based on one poll. All polls have error margins. And all major polls recently find the race basically tied. Unlike Quinnipiac, SEA finds Scott doing slightly better with his own base (Republicans) than Crist is with his (Democrats) and it finds Scott doing slightly better than Crist among crossover voters from his opponent's party. Also, the poll has 6 percent undecided.

Here are the early and absentee ballot numbers as of this morning:

PARTY         EV          %
REP             330,497 41.3%
DEM             333,711 41.7%
IND             136,340 17.0%
TOTAL             800,548  
PARTY         AB's           %
REP             714,315 46.0%
DEM             569,327 36.6%
IND             269,937 17.4%
TOTAL          1,553,579  
PARTY      EVAB           %
REP          1,044,812 44.4%
DEM             903,038 38.4%
IND             406,277 17.3%
TOTAL          2,354,127  

NOTE POST HAS BEEN UPDATED (Some prior numbers were wrong at the margins).

Q Poll: Charlie Crist, fueled by independents, leads Rick Scott 43-40 percent overall


Charlie Crist has slightly nudged ahead of Gov. Rick Scott in Quinnipiac University's latest poll that shows the Democrat picks up 43 percent support from likely voters to the incumbent's 40 percent.

That apparent 3 percentage point lead for Crist is essentially a tie because it's within the poll's margin of error, however the poll of 800 likely voters indicates Crist has some momentum on his side.

Last week, Quinnipiac surveyed the governor's race and found it dead even between Crist and Scott, with each getting 42 percent. So the contested has shifted a net 3 percentage points in Crist's favor or a net 5 points compared to Quinnipiac's September survey that showed Scott with a negligible lead.

Boosting Crist: the strong support of self-identified independents, who favor the Democrat over Scott by a spread of 47-29 percent.

“Independent voters are often the difference in swing states like Florida, but the size of former Gov. Charlie Crist’s lead among them is truly remarkable,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a written statement.

Continue reading "Q Poll: Charlie Crist, fueled by independents, leads Rick Scott 43-40 percent overall" »