October 02, 2012

Suffolk poll: Obama slightly ahead, Nelson leads, with many undecided in Fla

From Suffolk University:

BOSTON – President Barack Obama leads Republican Mitt Romney by 3 points (46 percent to 43 percent, with 7 percent undecided), according to a Suffolk University/7NEWS (WSVN-Miami) poll of likely voters in Florida.  The poll is well within the survey’s 4 percent margin of error.
“On the eve of the first debate, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney know the importance of each percentage point in a state like Florida,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.  “Not only are the remaining undecided voters critical, but so are the voters of all the third-party candidates here – and there are many.”
The Suffolk University/7NEWS (WSVN-Miami) poll is the first Florida survey taken this year to include all 12 of the Presidential party candidates who qualified for the Florida ballot.
Libertarian Gary Johnson, Green Party nominee Jill Stein, and Peace and Freedom Party nominee Roseanne Barr were each favored by 1 percent of voters polled. One or more voters, but less than 1 percent, chose Peta Lindsay (Party for Socialism and Liberation), Tom Hoefling (American Independent Party), or Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson (Justice Party of Florida).
U.S. Senate race
In the Florida race for U.S. Senate, the incumbent, Democrat Bill Nelson (40 percent) led Republican Connie Mack (34 percent), with Chris Borgia at 4 percent and Bill Gaylor at 1 percent. Twenty percent of Florida voters remained undecided in that race.
Ballot questions
In a recurring Florida church-state issue, 52 percent of voters opposed a proposed amendment that would give users of public services the option to spend those public dollars at a religious institution, while 28 percent supported the amendment.
Meanwhile 75 percent of voters supported an amendment that would allow for property tax discounts for disabled veterans, even if they weren’t Florida residents when they entered the military, while 13 percent were against it.
The abortion issue split voters, with 44 percent supporting an amendment that would prohibit the use of public funds for abortions or health benefits coverage that includes coverage for abortion, with exceptions for cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life were in danger. Forty percent opposed the amendment, and 15 percent were undecided.
Favorability in presidential race
Romney continues to struggle with his likability.  His 45 percent favorable rating is 3 points higher than in a survey the Suffolk University Political Research Center conducted in May; yet his unfavorable rating is also up 2 points, to 47 percent today.
Obama has been consistently more popular, with a 51 percent favorable and 46 percent unfavorable rating.
High expectations for Obama in Debates
Floridians appear to expect that the upcoming debates will be no contest, with 52 percent of likely voters saying Obama is the better debater, 19 percent saying Romney will prevail, and 26 percent undecided.
“This ‘debate expectations’ finding mirrors last Thursday’s Suffolk University poll of likely Virginia voters who also said Obama was a better debater by more than a two-to-one margin.  Voters in these key battleground states are teeing up an opportunity for Mitt Romney to exceed low expectations and close the gap. But if Barack Obama lives up to his billing, he could put the race away,” said Paleologos.
The statewide survey of 600 registered Florida voters was conducted Sept. 27-30, 2012, using live telephone interviews of landline and cell phone users. The margin of error is +/-4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data will be posted at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012, on the Suffolk University Political Research Center  Web site. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleologos@suffolk.edu, or follow on Twitter @davidpaleologos

October 01, 2012

Video: Marco Rubio mum on David Rivera questions, Jeb Bush Jr. floated as future replacement

Sen. Marco Rubio preferred to get rained on Monday than answer questions about a criminal investigation into his long-time friend and ally, Congressman David Rivera.

Rivera is the subject of a federal grand-jury investigation into whether he steered tens of thousands of unreported cash to a Democratic congressional candidate who ran against a rival of the Republican.

The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald first reported the allegations when two longtime Rivera campaign vendors said he was behind the effort that’s now under federal scrutiny.

Rivera has attacked the vendors’ credibility, but Rubio had nothing but good things to say about the two.

“I’ve always had positive dealings with them,” said Rubio, who tried to say as little as possible about Rivera before an aide whisked him away in the rain at an event.

Meantime, top Republicans from Washington D.C. to Tallahassee to Miami are laying the groundwork to field new challengers for the District 26 Congressional seat in the event that Rivera loses the race to Democratic challenger Joe Garcia.

A powerful new name, meanwhile, is being floated in Miami-Dade: Jeb Bush Jr., son and namesake of the popular Florida governor who lives in Coral Gables.

State Sen. Anitere Flores is at the top of the list as future congressional candidates as well as Marili Cancio, an attorney who ran against Rivera in the Republican primary in 2010.

Continue reading "Video: Marco Rubio mum on David Rivera questions, Jeb Bush Jr. floated as future replacement" »

GOP hopes of Senate takeover fade as Mack and other challengers trail

Senate mapThe presidential race isn’t the only unpredictable war for control of Washington this year. Keep an eye on the U.S. Senate.

Expectations of a Republican takeover, which were widespread over the summer, are fading. Now the Democrats could retain their majority. Either way, it’s close, and no one can safely say which party will have a Senate majority after the Nov. 6 elections.

Among the changes in the landscape: President Barack Obama has an edge over Republican Mitt Romney in national polls as well as in key swing states such as Virginia and Nevada, suggesting that Democrats might turn out in bigger numbers and also vote for Democratic Senate candidates.

Another: The once-vulnerable seat held by Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri now appears safely Democratic since the Republican nominee, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, said this summer that women rarely got pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape.” In Florida, incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson is seen as likely holding onto the seat against a challenge by Republican Congressman Connie Mack IV.

Republicans need a net gain of four seats to take control of the Senate if Obama wins, three if Romney is elected — since his vice president would break a tie. Democrats now control 53 seats, but 23 of them are at stake. Republicans need to defend only 10.

More from David Lightman here.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/30/3027057/gop-hopes-of-a-senate-takeover.html#storylink=cpy

September 29, 2012

Connie Mack battles polls and public disinterest in quest to unseat Nelson

ConnieMackDESTIN -- If Republican Connie Mack IV is shouldering the burden of his party’s control of the U.S. Senate, you wouldn’t know it last week as he finished a six-day bus tour of 17 cities in north and central Florida.

In 26 stops, Mack drew modest crowds and meager media attention as he crisscrossed the state. The steady drip of negative poll numbers had him battling expectations as much as barbs from his challenger, incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson. And with about four weeks before early voting begins, the general public still seems ambivalent.

In the Republican stronghold of Destin on Thursday, Mack greeted about 25 supporters outside the Donut Hole café on Highway 98, and then went inside to introduce himself to customers.

“Could you get us menus?’’ one elderly couple asked Mack, 45, the four-term congressman from Fort Myers, after he shook their hands. The congressman obliged.

None of it has cracked Mack’s cool.

He has tethered his fortunes, his message and his strategy to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and confidently tells audiences “if Mitt Romney wins, I win. If I win, Mitt Romney wins.”

That’s a hard hill to climb, according to the polls. In this must-win swing state for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor remains locked in a statistical tie with President Barack Obama. The latest Senate polls show Mack trailing Nelson by between nine and 14 percentage points. Even Mack’s own poll, a survey of 600 voters taken last Sunday, showed him five percentage points down, with a margin of error of plus or minus four percent. More here.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/29/v-fullstory/3026755/connie-mack-battles-polls-voter.html#storylink=cpy

September 27, 2012

Connie asks, where's Bill? Bill, sort of, answers

069On the last of a six-day bus tour through north and central Florida, Republican Connie Mack's refrain has been: "Where's Bill?"

"I'm not sure he's campaigning -- other than running negative ads trying to smear my character,'' Mack told about 20 supporters at the Donut Hole cafe in Destin on Thursday. "He doesn't have anything to offer the people of Florida." 

For an incumbent U.S. senator seeking re-election for the third time in a crucial swing state, the Democrat has kept a pretty low profile. His poll numbers are up. His campaign had eight times as much money in the bank as his competitor after the last reporting period. It's a strategy that's working.

Nelson's campaign has primarily featured television ads attacking Mack for his personal financial woes, his divorce, his hard-partying youth and attendance record in Congress. After the last reporting period on July 25, he had $8.8 million left in the bank compared to Mack's $1.3 million.

Mack, by contrast, has had to rely on third party organizations to pay for his ads and he has spent the last week in 17 cities talking to modest-sized crowds.

Continue reading "Connie asks, where's Bill? Bill, sort of, answers" »

September 26, 2012

Connie Mack camp: Yeah, we're losing (but not by 9-14 points)

Memo from Connie Mack campaign manager Jeff Cohen, who raises some good and some dubious points about ALL of the major public polling that shows the Republican Congressman trailing Bill Nelson:

A variety of polls commissioned by the media have attempted to paint the Florida Senate race in a light that is simply not accurate.

As numerous respected outside pollsters and objective members of the media have noted, many public polls have been constructed using voter turnout projections that simply do not match, or even attempt to match, the realities and trends of this election cycle. Virtually no objective pollster or pundit expects 2012 turnout to even closely reflect 2008’s aberration.

For instance, highly-regarded pollster John McLaughlin was recently quoted in National Review saying media pollsters are being lobbied by Democrats to, ‘weight their surveys to emulate the 2008 Democrat-heavy models.’ McLaughlin added that, ‘the intended effect is to suppress Republican turnout through media polling bias.’

Nevertheless some media outlets and Democrat-affiliated pollsters have released polls based on highly questionable Party Identification models that can serve no other purpose than to attempt to sway public opinion and voter enthusiasm. For instance over the last two days alone:

This morning’s Quinnipiac Poll (Commissioned by CBS News / New York Times) survey showing Nelson beating Mack 53-39 was comprised of:

                  27% Republicans

                  36% Democrats

                  33% Independents

The Washington Post Poll (released 9/25/12) showing Nelson beating Mack 54-40 was comprised of:

                  32% Republicans

                  33% Democrats

                  31% Independents

The demographic makeup of these and other polls contrast sharply with the Mack campaign’s model of voter performance. Our latest internal poll, conducted 9/23 was comprised of:

                  39.5% Republican

                  43% Democrat

                  16.7% Independent

Our poll, which sampled 600 likely voters and had a margin of error of +/- 4%, had several key findings that stand in contrast to public polls:

Continue reading "Connie Mack camp: Yeah, we're losing (but not by 9-14 points)" »

September 25, 2012

PPP and WaPo polls: Nelson expanding lead over Mack

Two Democrat-leaning polls, Public Policy Polling and the Wasington Post, are out with new polls today showing U.S. Bill Nelson widening the margin against Congressman Connie Mack IV. Just as the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times poll of last week showed, Mack's odds of unseating the incumbent Democrat are slipping away.

Download PPP_Release_FL_925

From the Washington Post:

Continue reading "PPP and WaPo polls: Nelson expanding lead over Mack " »

September 22, 2012

Connie Mack starts week-long bus tour with a day of college football

Photo-7Republican U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack began the first of a weeklong bus tour Saturday, stoking the college crowds at tailgate events starting in Gainesville, where the the candidate's Gators were playing the Kentucky Wildcats and ending in Tallahassee, where the Seminoles play the Clemson Tigers.

The trip is one of three bus tours the campaign plans in an attempt to drum up support from Republican-leaning conservative counties of North and Central Florida, the one region of the state where polls show Mack leading Democrat incumbent, Bill Nelson.

In Tallahassee, Mack stopped at the Romney/Ryan tent at Doak Campbell Stadium Saturday evening, where Josh Romney was the celebrity of the moment. With a loudspeaker blaring excerpts from his Dad's stump speech, Josh stood for an hour mugging for photos with co-eds and fans dressed in garnet and gold.

Mack dismissed the recent polls, including a poll by the Herald/Times, which show  him trailing Nelson by between 8 and 14 percentage points. He said his internal polls show the race much closer.

Photo(5)His reasoning: the 11-12 percent undecideds are "Republican leaning, so we think we'll get a large share of that."

Mack also hopes to narrow the margin by invigorating the base. On Sunday, he attends an NRA gun show in Jacksonville and travels down the Space Coast with a series of meet and greets that include an event with his primary challenger, Dave Weldon.

Mack, who refused to debate Weldon and other primary challengers, has now found himself on the defensive in his attempts to get Nelson to agree to more than one debate.

"I'm sure he's going: 'ah, I've got a lot of money in the bank and some of the polling shows me up and I don't want to make a mistake,'' he said. "I think the people of the State of Florida say, we want to know what the differences are all about and a debate is the way to do it."

He says that Nelson shouldn't treat him as Mack treated his opponents in the primary because "we're in a much more competitive race." In the summer, Mack's competitors, he said were "35 points behind us."

Photos: Connie Mack stops to take photo with Lexie Langley, 11, of Tallahassee; Josh Romney poses with FSU co-eds

September 20, 2012

Mack announces week-long 'Freedom' bus tour

Republican Connie Mack announced Thursday he will launch a week-long "Freedom Tour" in which he takes a bide-your-time trip through the rural reaches of the state, in old-fashioned retail style.

The tour kicks off Saturday in Gainesville, in time for some tailgating at the UF v. Kentucky kickoff at noon. It continues to Tallahassee that night, where he'll make it to tailgating parties for FSU's rivalry with Clemson, which starts at 8 p.m.

The bus will continue through North and Central Florida most of the week, where polls show Mack performs strongest against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson. It ends in Pensacola on Thursday.

Here's the schedule:

Continue reading "Mack announces week-long 'Freedom' bus tour" »

Mack out with new Nelson attack ad, exploiting potential military cuts


Polls show that Democrat Bill Nelson's negative attacks on Republican Connie Mack are still drawing blood and now Mack is out with a new ad and counterpunch. The 30-second ad, the second released in a week, attempts to link Nelson to potential cuts in military spending if Congress and the White House can't find a way to trim the budget by year's end.

The ad correctly notes that Nelson voted in August 2011 for a debt deal that could trigger as much as $500 billion in spending cuts to the Department of Defense's budget if a compromise isn't worked out. The trigger, known as sequestration, was supported by Nelson as part of the debt limit debate that allowed for an increase in the debt limit in exchange for a automatic spending cuts if a resolution is not found by a Super Committee by the end of this year.

But the add misleads when it concludes that the cuts are inevitable. Nelson has said he opposes sequestration, primarily because of the damage it could do to the military budget. He has been one of a handful of moderate senators willing to seeking an alternative to the cuts in the military budget before the deadline. He points to letters he has written to Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham seeking alternatives to defense cuts.

Mack, who voted against the sequestration deal, blames Nelson for setting in motion the prospect of the defense cuts. It's an attack line being used by Republican challengers in tough Senate races across the nation.

Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin called the premise of Mack's attack false. "Nelson's policy is not sequestration.  Nor will the military be gutted in January,'' he said.

Here's the text of the ad:

Continue reading "Mack out with new Nelson attack ad, exploiting potential military cuts" »