October 31, 2012

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

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.

SurveyUSA FL poll: Obama-Romney tied at 47%; Obama up with early vote, Romney up with Nov. 6 voters

We've been posting early and absentee-vote data (Democrats have a lead in ballots cast), and this poll is among the first that examines how those folks might vote. From SurveyUSA:

8 days until votes are counted in the election for President, the 5% of Florida voters who today are undecided will determine whether Mitt Romney or Barack Obama get the state’s critical 29 electoral votes, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted for WFLA-TV in Tampa. Among Florida voters who have made up their minds, including a large number who have already returned a ballot, the contest is 47% Romney, 47% Obama.

Romney starts off 15 points in the hole: Obama leads 57% to 42% among voters who tell SurveyUSA they have already voted. But Romney leads by 13 points among the larger group of voters who tell SurveyUSA they will vote on Election Day. When the 2 groups are proportionally blended, the candidates finish exactly even.

Compared to a SurveyUSA poll released 11 days ago, which was conducted before the 3rd and final Presidential Debate, Romney is today up a nominal 1 point, Obama is flat. Today, Obama leads by 19 points in Southeast FL, but Romney leads in every other region of the state. Obama leads by 4 points among women, Romney leads by 5 points among men. Independents break 45% to 40% for Romney. Moderates break 51% to 41% for Obama. Romney leads among Florida’s white voters, is tied among Florida’s Cubans, and trails Obama among Florida’s other minority groups.

Romney leads by 18 points among seniors, who are the most reliable voters. This gives Romney an advantage heading into the final week of campaigning. If younger voters do not turn out in the numbers shown here, Obama will under-perform this poll.

More here

Romney, in Ohio, campaigns with Florida voters via teleconference call

Republican Mitt Romney began his day campaigning in Florida today, conducting a teleconference town hall meeting in which he reached voters via robo-call. Romney told listeners he was in Dayton, Ohio, “where it’s snowing” and will be "criss-crossing" Florida tomorrow (with a planned fly-around with former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.)

Medicare and health care costs seemed to be on top of mind for many listeners. Callers were told the call would be recorded, so we listened in and took notes. Here are some excerpts.

Bonita asked about health care costs and Romney answered that the Obama administration has claimed that costs would go down $2,500 per family under his health care reform when in fact “they have gone up $2,500. That’s a huge burden,’’ he said.

“The answer, in my view, is not to have government step in and lower the reimbursement rates for Medicare” because that will lead to hospitals shifting the burden and raising the costs on everyone else.

He said the answer was “not to run health care like a government-run utility, like a monopoly, but instead to provide into healthcare more competition.”

Continue reading "Romney, in Ohio, campaigns with Florida voters via teleconference call" »

October 29, 2012

CNN/ORC FL likely voter poll: Romney 50%, Obama 49%. (But Obama wins just registered voters)

CNN's latest ORC Florida poll is a lot like it's last one showing Mitt Romney beating President Obama by 1 point, inside the poll's error margin, among likely voters. The poll simultaneously backs up both campaigns' statements about the race.

On one hand, it shows Romney is winning, albeit marginally. On the other, the broader poll of just registered voters (those who don't describe themselves as likely to vote) shows Obama beating Romney 52-46. The Obama folks have complained the "screens" of these likely voter polls is stripping out its voters and, it says, it's turning out sporadic voters. The Romney folks say that's spin.

We'll see on Nov. 6. Or maybe the 7th, if there's a too-close-to-call election night.

Download CNN

FL Dems beat GOP by 73,000 early votes by Monday, wipes out GOP absentee-vote lead. But....

In the first two days of in-person early voting, Florida Democrats wiped away a lead that Florida Republicans had run up thanks to the GOP's strong absentee-ballot program. In all, about 1.9 million ballots have been cast (about 16 percent of the 11.9 million voters)

As of this morning, Democrats cast a total of 73,000 more early in person ballots than Republicans, who had cast about 63,000 more absentee ballots, typically cast by mail. So it looks like a 10,000-vote edge for Democrats.

But it's probably smaller than that.

The Monday absentee ballot numbers aren't really updated because no mail is delivered Sunday. By averaging the daily percentage increases of the GOP absentee-vote lead, the total Democratic advantage could be as low as 2,000. Of course, it could be higher. This is just a projection.

Continue reading "FL Dems beat GOP by 73,000 early votes by Monday, wipes out GOP absentee-vote lead. But...." »

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)" »