October 28, 2014

New ads feature old attacks in Crist vs. Scott race

With a week to go until Election Day, you probably feel like you’ve heard every attack in the Florida gubernatorial campaign before.

That’s because you have.

With millions being poured into TV commercials, Gov. Rick Scott and challenger Charlie Crist (and the Republican and Democratic parties backing them) keep recycling the same talking points over and over. Many of them have been used so many times, PolitiFact Florida has already checked them more than once.

Two recent campaign ads illustrate this concept well. The ads are new, but the attack lines are recycled. We’ll sort out the spin to let you know what’s accurate and what’s not.

Turn to Joshua Gillin's article from PolitiFact Florida.

Internet poll from NY Times/CBS: Rick Scott 46%, Charlie Crist 45%

@MarcACaputo

Gov. Rick Scott leads Democrat Charlie Crist 46-45 percent in the latest internet poll from YouGov, conducted for the New York Times/CBS.

So this poll, like others, essentially shows a tie because Scott's 1-point lead is within the error margin.

YouGov's polling technique is controversial and experimental (some thoughts at the bottom of this post). In looking at the survey's crosstabs, it has some strange results: Scott winning independents by 12 percentage points. No recent survey (or perhaps any other survey in this race) has had such a margin. The only recent one that had Scott up was a poll from the Republican Party of Florida. Most polls have Crist winning independents by 3 to 5 points.

On the other hand, the poll appears to have over-surveyed Democrats, thereby giving Crist back some of his margins lost among independents in the survey.

The internals of the poll aside, what's interesting here is that Crist has somewhat narrowed the gap in the survey, which has consistently shown Scott doing better than most other polls.

Paradoxically, though it's an outlier, the survey toplines seem right. 

Charlie Crist closing TV ad campaign with Bill Clinton, not Barack Obama

@MarcACaputo

Democrat Charlie Crist is closing out his TV ad campaign with the party's most-popular surrogate, former President Bill Clinton. The ad is slated to run statewide.

And what of President Obama? Highly unpopular and nowhere to be seen in Florida, unlike 2012 when he continually had a reason for "official" presidential business that just so happened to dovetail with his re-election campaign in the nation's largest swing state.

Here's the Big Dog: 

,

Meantime, Gov. Rick Scott's campaign is pushing out a web ad of former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani trashing Crist.

About 2m in FL have voted; GOP raw-vote lead grows over Dems, but relative margin shrinks

@MarcACaputo

More than 1.9 million Floridians had cast pre-Election Day ballots as of Tuesday morning as Republicans slightly increased their raw-vote margin over Democrats while the GOP's proportional lead ticked down a notch.

Total GOP lead over Democrats in ballots cast: 142,787, or 7.2 percentage points. Yesterday morning, Republicans were up 138,572, or 7.6 percentage points.

NOTE: Polk County's new numbers aren't in yet -- something of a pattern for this county. For some reason, the 66 other counties are able to upload the data far sooner and more consistently. Blog updated with Polk County's now-uploaded figures.

The Republicans' surge came in the face of a big increase Monday in Democrat-dominated in-person early voting in liberal South Florida. As has been true this entire electin cycle, Democrats are doing worse than in 2012; Republicans are doing worse than in 2010.

Prior posts can be found here in the Florida Voters tab. And here are the numbers for in-person early voting, mail-in absentee voting and the combined totals:

PARTY       EV      %  
REP 236888.0 41.4% -3710.0
DEM 240598.0 42.0%  
IND 94856.0 16.6%  
TOTAL 572342.0    
       
       
PARTY       AB's      %  
REP         653,989 46.7%   146,497
DEM         507,492 36.2%  
IND         240,410 17.1%  
TOTAL       1,401,891    
       
       
PARTY    EVAB      %  
REP         890,877 45.1%   142,787
DEM         748,090 37.9%  
IND         335,266 17.0%  
TOTAL       1,974,233    

October 27, 2014

South Florida's early voting Monday is a warning sign for Rick Scott

@MarcACaputo

Yesterday, something weird happened: early voting was lower Sunday than on Saturday in South Florida's three biggest counties. Miami-Dade saw 6,109 (lower than Tuesday and Wednesday) early voters; Broward was 5,912 (the lowest of the week); Palm Beach 3,377 (the lowest of the week).

So panic settled in among some Democrats because low turnout in Democrat-rich South Florida means Gov. Rick Scott will more than likely be reelected. It was a warning sign for Democrat Charlie Crist.

Today, some opposite weirdness: Gangbusters early vote numbers on Monday (a work day).

Miami-Dade saw 8,153 new early voters (a 33 percent increase); Broward was 8,518 (44 percent); and Palm Beach 7,019 (108 percent). Maybe this a lag in data entry from understaffed county elections supervisors?

Either way, in the interest of balance and accuracy, let's call this a warning sign for Scott. 

We won't know the party breakdown until tomorrow (and, no, the votes for the candidates aren't opened and tabulated until Election Day). But at current rates, there's a good chance Democrats increased their net lead in these three counties by 6,741.

That's just for these three counties. There are 67 counties total.

And it should be noted (as has been done everyday here): Republicans still hold a sizable lead in pre-Election Day ballots. This morning it was 138,572. That's thanks to the GOP's strong voters and the party's absentee-ballot program.

But the GOP lead has been shrinking and, considering today's numbers in the Big Three urban counties, there's a good chance that trend will continue. But there's also a good likelihood that raw early voting numbers will be not continue to climb before the weekend, after which early voting ends before Election Day. Let's call Monday's numbers, and perhaps Sunday's, a blip. 

0ptimus FL poll: Rick Scott 42%, Charlie Crist 39%

@MarcACaputo

The new Republican data analytics firm, 0ptimus, has released another mega-robopoll with some good news for Gov. Rick Scott: He's narrowly leading Democrat Charlie Crist.

The race is still technically a tie but Scott's lead of 2.4 percentage points (41.9-39.4 percent) is almost outside the poll's error margin.

Looking at the party breaks, Crist nudged down ever so slightly with Democrats in the poll and lost a few independents, who moved a little bit toward Scott. Here's more on 0ptimus prior poll, here's our blog's category link for polling and here are this poll's partisan crosstabs:

  Overall     Rep   Dem       IND
Scott 41.9% 68.6% 16.0% 34.2%
Crist 39.4% 14.2% 66.2% 40.6%
Wyllie 11.9% 5.7% 7.1% 9.4%
Unsure 6.8% 11.6% 10.7% 15.7%

 

Rick Scott ahead, but Charlie Crist gaining, in FL's early vote war

@MarcACaputo @adamsmithtimes

The race for Florida governor is tied in the polls, but the past week has brought more good numbers for Democrat Charlie Crist than Gov. Rick Scott.

After the first full week of in-person early voting, Democrats have started to eat into Republicans’ lead in casting pre-Election Day ballots — a margin in the GOP’s favor of 138,000 of more than 1.8 million cast statewide.

In 2010, Republicans led Democrats by 12 percentage points in ballots cast before Election Day, when Scott went on to beat Democrat Alex Sink by just over 1 percent of the vote. As of Monday, the Republican lead for this election was about 7.6 percentage points.

In a sign of how tenuous Scott’s lead appears, the governor reversed course and broke his word not to spend his personal millions on the race. An estimated 10,000 ads attacking Crist and promoting Scott are expected in the final week.

“I think they’re pretty desperate,” Crist said Monday at an early voting rally at Florida International University. “He wouldn’t be spending that kind of money if he wasn’t afraid.”

The actual early and absentee votes won’t be tabulated until Election Day, of course, so it’s impossible to say how many votes each candidate has received so far.

More here

 

Report: Florida leads nation in disenfranchising offenders released from prison

The Sentencing Project has released a report showing that Florida has the highest felony disenfranchisement rate in the country, another issue dividing Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist.

In 2011, Scott and the Cabinet imposed strict new barriers on felons who want to regain the right to vote, tossing out a streamlined policy adopted in 2007 by Crist and a different Cabinet. The discarded policy allowed tens of thousands of nonviolent offenders to regain their civil rights without a time-consuming application and hearing process. Murders and sex offenders were not eligible for faster review under the system approved by Crist and the Cabinet in 2007.

The current policy requires felons to wait at least five years after completing their sentences before applying for civil rights and during that wait they can't have been arrested. Certain classes of violent felons will have to wait seven years to apply.

In the four years under Crist's reforms, 154,000 people had their rights restored, The Tampa Bay Times reported. In the three years under the Scott-era changes, that number has slid to under 1,000 as of mid January.

Here's the Sentencing Project's report:

Washington, DC - As the 2014 midterm elections approach, an estimated 5.85 million Americans will be unable to exercise their voting rights due to a felony conviction. Overall, 75% of disenfranchised individuals are no longer incarcerated. Of this population, 2.6 million have completed their sentences, yet remain disenfranchised in the 12 states with the most restrictive policies.

This year, disenfranchisement policies may affect the outcomes of U.S. elections, with a disproportionate impact on communities of color. One in every 13 black adults will be left without a voice in this year's electoral process. Black Americans of voting age are four times more likely to lose their voting rights than the rest of the adult population. More than one in five black adults is disenfranchised in Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia.

The following 10 states hold the highest disenfranchisement rates in the United States:


Florida - 10.4%

Mississippi - 8.3%

Kentucky - 7.4%

Virginia - 7.3%

Alabama - 7.2%

Tennessee - 7.1%

Wyoming - 6.0%

Nevada - 4.2%

Arizona - 4.2%

Georgia 3.8%

 

Rick Scott's distortion about Charlie Crist's record on restoring voting rights to felons

As part of his appeal to black voters, Charlie Crist has defended his record on making it easier for nonviolent felons to regain the right to vote.

Crist and Gov. Rick Scott argued about restoration of civil rights during the Oct. 21 debate on CNN. "When I was governor, I brought restoration of rights back for nonviolent felons so they can have a chance to get a job," Crist said. "Sadly, under Rick Scott it's gone, and it's gone for at least five years, you can't even apply."

That set off a testy back-and-forth exchange:

Scott: "Here's Charlie's plan. You commit a heinous crime, as soon as you get out of jail, you get to vote. Stalk, you get to vote as soon as you walk out. You have intentional permanent disfigurement of a child, you walk out of jail, you immediately get to vote. That's wrong, Charlie."

Crist: "That is fundamentally unfair. I said nonviolent criminals. You are lying again."

Scott: "No, that's not true. Go to FactsforFlorida.com, Charlie. You want to look yourself, you can look it up. That's exactly what you did. And I completely disagree with that."

Crist: "It's very unfair. Go to his site if you want to, but I would recommend that you go to FairShotFlorida.com instead, and you'll find out the truth. What he just said is absolutely false."

Well, we recommend that if you want facts, go to politifact.com/florida. (We're glad you're here!)

Does Crist want violent offenders to immediately regain their right to vote?  In a word, no.

Turn to PolitiFact Florida for the rest of our fact-check.