October 09, 2014

New poll suggests some Miami-Dade voters can be persuaded to back new-courthouse referendum


Proponents of a local ballot question that would issue $393 million in new Miami-Dade County government debt to build a civil courthouse released a new poll Thursday.

The public-opinion survey shows less opposition than polls conducted by the campaign before they started airing television and Spanish-language radio advertisements in the past week, backers say.

According to the poll, 37 percent of respondents favor bonds for the new courthouse, compared to 33 percent who oppose it and 31 percent who are undecided. However, respondents were not read the actual ballot question, which includes the $393 million figure -- a key consideration for voters.

Instead, the poll asked, "In the upcoming Nov. 4th election, will you vote for or against funding emergency repairs to the 1928 courthouse and the acquisition and construction of new court facilities by issuing general obligation bonds?"

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Libertarian Adrian Wyllie sues to get into Florida Press Association debate


Shut out of televised debates, Libertarian candidate for governor Adrian Wyllie filed a federal lawsuit Thursday that seeks to force the Florida Press Association and Leadership Florida to allow him onstage with Gov. Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist next week.

Wyllie’s suit, arguing his free-speech and equal-protection rights are being infringed, largely revolves around the debate organizers’ candidate-participation criteria, which says candidates who earn 15 percent support in a “reputable independent poll” by Sept. 30 can join the debate. 

The criteria, Wyllie claims, were changed on him as he picked up support heading into the Oct. 15 debate at Broward College, which is named in the suit along with the nonprofit Leadership Florida and press association, media industry trade and lobby group.

However, as early as Aug. 20 2013, the 15 percent-polling rule was set by the press association. It was specifically reported by the News Service of Florida on that day. Dean Ridings, president and CEO of the press association, said the criteria about polling thresholds predate 2013 and have been around since 2010.

“We want to be fair and consistent,” Ridings said. “There are 10 candidates for governor and why would it be fair to them to change our criteria?”

Wyllie is planning a protest at another televised debate to be held Friday at Telemundo in Miramar, where Crist and Scott will face off for the first time. The debate will be broadcast at 7 p.m. that night.

The third and final debate between the two major candidates takes place Oct. 21 in Jacksonville.

Crist wanted more debates, but Scott would only agree to three. Scott's running mate, Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera, has also ignored calls from Crist's running mate, Annette Taddeo, to debate on television.

Download Wyllie complaint

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UNF poll: Charlie Crist leads Rick Scott 43-38 percent, Wyllie at 10 percent


A University of North Florida poll of statewide likely voters shows Charlie Crist leading Gov. Rick Scott 43-38 percent -- marking the fourth survey this week that has the Democrat pulling slightly ahead.

Crist's advatnage (as with polls from 0ptimusPublic Policy Polling and SurveyUSA) is within the poll's error margin. So the race could be called a tie. But Crist's lead is almost outside that margin.

And, as stated before: it ain't the topline, it's the trend.

The trend is with Crist right now, as first noted last week. And, as noted yesterday, polling in a swing state House seat also shows Crist doing well.

It's particularly advantageous for Crist because voters are now returning absentee ballots in Florida. People are voting. And they're trending Crist.

Still, the race is still close. Republicans tend to over-perform and Democrats tend to under-perform in mid-term elections. Polling is one thing. Performance is another. Any one of the major candidates can lose, especially as their campaigns devolve into more negative pettiness, which is likely benefitting Libertarian Adrian Wyllie, who pulls 10 percent support now.

"No one knows who he is. But people are heading his way for a reason," said UNF pollster Michael Binder.

Download Press Release #1 Fall Statewide 2014



National Journal: Sen. Marco Rubio, conservatives seek lame duck fight over Affordable Care Act

From the National Journal:

A cadre of Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Marco Rubio, is urging House Speaker John Boehner to deny the Obama administration the requisite funding to compensate insurers via the risk-corridors provision of the health care law.

October 08, 2014

What the polling in a Pasco state House seat says about FL Gov's race

Via @adamsmithtimes

First a confession: For most of the past year, my gut has told me that Rick Scott would likely win a second term and that there was a reasonable likelihood it wouldn't even be close. Around the start of October, as Charlie Crist was not only still standing but actually neck and neck or ahead of the incumbent governor, it became clear this race is a coin toss and Crist might actually pull it off.
Now I'm thinking Crist may have become the clear frontrunner.

I have just seen an internal poll of likely voters in Florida House 36, the west Pasco County district currently represented by Democrat Amanda Murphy and formerly represented by Republican Mike Fasano. District 36, loaded with working class Floridians and retirees may be the single best bellwether state House district in Florida. Barack Obama narrowly won it in 2008 and 2012, and Rick Scott narrowly won it in 2010.

The telephone poll was taken Monday and Tuesday by the Democratic firm SEA Polling & Strategic Design (which nailed it on Murphy's special election win in 2013) and found 45 percent planning to vote for Crist, 37 percent for Scott, and 14 percent for Libertarian Adrian Wyllie. In August, the firm showed Scott leading by five points, with 43 percent support to 38 percent for Crist and 10 percent for Wyllie.

Look inside the numbers and it's still worse for the Republican governor:
***Crist leads among voters 65 and over by 8 percentage points.

***Crist is winning nearly one in four Republicans in the district, while Scott is winning 13 percent of Democrats.

***Crist leads among women by a whopping 19 percentage points.

More here 

Joe Garcia, Carlos Curbelo disagree on expanding Cuba travel, future of Cuban Adjustment Act


Miami Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia and Republican opponent Carlos Curbelo disagree on whether more Americans should be allowed to travel to Cuba and send more money to relatives on the island.

But that significant policy difference didn’t get much attention until this week, when a pro-Cuba-travel television advertisement began airing in Miami.

The TV spot, launched Monday by the Miami-based liberal-leaning Cuba Now nonprofit, sticks out because of what it isn’t: a slick, highly produced piece bashing Curbelo or Garcia, like most of the others funded by well-heeled outside political groups in the close contest for Florida’s 26th congressional district.

Instead, the ad has a throwback, low-budget feel. Unidentified people speak directly into the camera in Spanish and urge voters to back candidates who support more Cuba travel. Their words are subtitled in English.

It’s a straight so-called “issue” ad. Most ads funded by outside groups technically fall under that category as well, but usually they make clear which candidate they’re supposed to benefit. This one makes no mention of Garcia or Curbelo.

Yet after the two candidates debated in Marathon on Monday evening and were asked about U.S.-Cuba policy, Cuba Now released a statement criticizing Curbelo, who said at the forum that he could not “support any unilateral concessions to an enemy of the United States — in this case, the Cuban government.” The congressional district stretches from Westchester to Key West.

More here.


Candidate’s financial disclosure raises questions about consulting company

State Rep. Erik Fresen’s most recent financial disclosure includes tens of thousands of dollars in income from a company he started called Neighborhood Strategies.

But the company was dissolved — and effectively put out of business — by the state in 2009.

The Miami Republican explained that he still has a few contracts with clients who have been with the company since its dissolution.

"If, in fact, I do have to go back to the [state Division of Corporations] and re-register, I will," he said, adding that all of the business has been publicly disclosed.

Florida law prohibits companies that have been administratively dissolved from carrying out any business, except that which is needed to "wind up and liquidate [their] affairs."

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Michelle Obama is Orlando-bound to fundraise for Crist

From Politico:

First lady Michelle Obama will headline a fundraiser for Charlie Crist next week in Florida — the White House’s first foray into the governor’s race in the Sunshine State.

The event will be held Oct. 17 at the Orlando-area home of former basketball star Grant Hill.

No events have been set so far for President Barack Obama in Florida, but a trip of his own to campaign for Crist hasn’t been ruled out.


DCCC's Pants on Fire claim about Southerland and 'health care for life'

Gwen Graham and U.S. Rep Steve Southerland are getting some help from their respective national parties in their hotly contested Panhandle Congressional district race.

To bolster Graham, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is using a new commercial to revive an old attack.

"Congressman Southerland voted himself health care for life," the Sept. 30, 2014, ad says. This claim is followed by a laundry list of actions about which the DCCC thinks voters will dislike.

Southerland’s office denied this, and when we’ve looked at this claim before, we took a dim view of such hyperbole. When a pro-Democratic group said Arkansas Republican Rep. Tom Cotton voted in favor of "taxpayer-funded health care for life," PolitiFact rated it Pants On Fire!

Turn to Joshua Gillin's fact-check at PolitiFact Florida.

PolitiFact Florida's preview to the Rick Scott vs. Charlie Crist Telemundo debate

Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist will share the debate stage for the first time on Telemundo on Oct. 10 as they battle for the Hispanic vote.

The candidates will face questions at Telemundo’s studio in Miramar at 11 a.m. Friday; the debate will air at 7 p.m. (The candidates will answer questions in English, and the station will translate into Spanish.)

PolitiFact Florida, a partnership of the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald, will fact-check the Telemundo debate. (Follow us on Twitter at @PolitiFactFLand suggest fact-checks with #PolitiFactThis).

We have fact-checked dozens of claims in the governor’s race, including by the state political parties and outside groups like NextGen Climate.

Scott, a Republican, and Crist, a Democrat, are likely to repeat or tweak familiar talking points about education spending, the economy and Obamacare. Some of their previous statements we have fact-checked specifically relate to Hispanics, including the state’s attempt to purge suspected noncitizens from the voter rolls and the battle in Florida to give in-state tuition to young people brought to the country illegally.

Both candidates have advertised in Spanish as they try to sway the approximately 14 percent of Florida’s voters who are Hispanic before the Nov. 4 election.

Turn to PolitiFact Florida for our debate preview