October 28, 2014

New York Times/CBS poll: Scott 46%, Crist 45%

A poll by the New York Times/CBS News/YouGov has Gov. Rick Scott holding a 1 percentage point lead over Charlie Crist, 46 percent to 45 percent.

The poll was conducted the week of Oct. 16-23 with a margin of error of 2 percentage points. Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie was not included in the survey.   

Scott had leads of 5, 5 and 4 points in three previous NYT/CBS/YouGov battleground tracking polls. In the most recent survey, the media organizations report the following:

"Rick Scott is running only a point ahead of Democratic challenger Charlie Crist in this latest CBS News/New York Times/YouGov Battleground Tracker. Crist was elected governor of Florida in 2006 as a Republican, but lost in the 2010 Republican senate primary and became a Democrat in 2012. When Crist ran for governor in 2006 against Jim Davis, Crist won whites by 22 percent and split the Hispanic vote. This year, we expect almost the reverse pattern, with Crist losing whites by 18 percent, but making up most or all of the difference among Hispanics and non-whites.

"In 2006, there was a medium-sized gender gap with 7 percent fewer women voting for the Republican Crist than men. We are finding a larger gender gap (almost 10 percent), but now women favor the Democratic Crist by more than men. The outcome of the race is likely to depend on Democrats' ability to turn out their base. Democrats are less enthusiastic about the midterm elections, so this will be a difficult task for the Crist campaign. However, Crist seems to be succeeding among absentee voters.

"When interviewing was conducted last week, 22 percent of all likely voters reported having voting absentee and these voters favored Crist over Scott by 48 percent to 43 percent. In-person early voting opened after the close of our survey."

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.

Just another friendly reminder from Scott on Florida's (non) Ebola outbreak

In a brief conference call to Florida lawmakers Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott led with the only update that mattered.
“We have no confirmed cases of Ebola in Florida, and we hope we never will,” Scott told lawmakers.
But it gave Scott another opportunity to repeat the precautions taken in case of a possible Ebola outbreak.
• The Florida Department of Health continues to monitor six “low risk” people who returned from Ebola-affected countries, part of an executive order he issued Saturday requiring anyone returning from countries with Ebola outbreaks must be monitored twice a day for three weeks.
• Scott is asking federal officials to add Florida airports to the list of five around the country that screen for Ebola.
• Nearly 100 Florida hospitals have completed mandatory Ebola training.
• One of two Florida National Guard “rapid response teams” to help transport patients to hospitals completed its training this weekend and is ready.
• The Florida Department of Health is getting $7 million in federal grants for protective gear and equipment. He’s still only received three of the 30 Ebola testing kits he’s requested from the CDC.
“We live in a state that is going to be prepared if anything does happen,” Scott told lawmakers.
He took no questions, leaving unanswered how much the precautions will cost.
Under Scott, the Department of Health has fewer resources to combat the crisis, if one ever appears. Since he took office, the department has reduced staff by 13 percent.
Lawmakers listening in included Senate President Don Gaetz and Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford.

Continue reading "Just another friendly reminder from Scott on Florida's (non) Ebola outbreak" »

Rubio joins Republican senators in blasting EPA clean-water proposal as overreach


A group of Republican U.S. senators, including Marco Rubio of Florida, is blasting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers for a clean-water proposal that has riled agriculture interests nationwide.

The so-called “Waters of the United States” rule was proposed by the EPA and Army Corps to simplify and clarify the meaning of the 1972 Clean Water Act. That law cover rivers, lakes and year-round wetlands. But what about certain streams that dry up part of the year? Or wetlands that are only wet during springtime months?

Two U.S. Supreme Court cases in the 2000s muddied things further. The proposed rule is intended to take into consideration those court cases and to lay out standards for which waters should be covered.

The Clean Water Act requires permits for developing or discharging into covered waters, making the rule – which regulators hope to complete by next year – of vital importance to farmers, and to landowners in general.

But since the proposal was announced earlier this year, farm interests have strongly lined up against it, and some state-level officials have pushed back as well. They say the rule is an overreach by the EPA. Republicans in the U.S. House have sought to kill it.

Now, Republicans in the U.S. Senate are taking their shot.

In a letter late last week to top officials at the EPA and Army Corps, a group of senators led by John Barrasso of Wyoming, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and David Vitter of Louisiana say the proposal goes too far and would “give the agencies virtually unlimited regulatory authority over all state and local waters, no matter how remote or isolated such waters may be from truly navigable waters.”

Continue reading "Rubio joins Republican senators in blasting EPA clean-water proposal as overreach" »

Cuban dissident stars in Joe Garcia's latest ad


U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia of Miami has campaigned for another congressional term by focusing on bread-and-butter Democratic issues -- Medicare, Social Security, student loans -- and generally avoiding the topic of Cuba.

Yet the star of his latest political advertisement on Spanish-language television is a Cuban dissident.

Guillermo Fariñas staged more than 20 hunger strikes on the Communist island to force the release of political prisoners. He won the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Conscience in 2010 and has advocated for tough U.S. sanctions on Cuba until the island's Communist regime moves toward democracy.

"For decades, Joe Garcia has been a compatriot committed to our fight," Fariñas says in the ad, shot in front of downtown Miami's Freedom Tower.

His appearance prompted a rebuke not only from Garcia's Republican opponent, Carlos Curbelo, but also by other Miami Cuban Americans who questioned whether Fariñas -- who is back in Cuba after a recent Miami visit -- knew he'd be used in a U.S. political campaign. It appears to be the first time a Cuban dissident appears in a U.S. campaign ad.


Continue reading "Cuban dissident stars in Joe Garcia's latest ad" »

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


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


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.

Joe Garcia, Carlos Curbelo slated to debate one more time Tuesday night


It will really be the final debate, both sides say, when U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia and challenger Carlos Curbelo face off for the eighth time Tuesday night.

Both campaigns have confirmed their attendance on A Fondo with Pedro Sevcec, which airs at 8 p.m. on WJAN-América TeVe, a Miami Spanish-language television station. The event was a late add-on to the two candidates' debate schedules; Curbelo had said yes to the invitation but Garcia had not, until late last week.

But while Garcia's campaign touted the lengthy list of debates in a news release Monday, Curbelo's campaign noted that Garcia had initially said he could make a Monday night appearance on Ahora with Oscar Haza, on WSBS-TV, known as Mega TV. Then the Democrat called it off shortly thereafter because he would be in the Florida Keys and unable to make it.

A spokesman for the Republican Curbelo called the backtracking "an act of cowardice and a slap in the face to Miami's Hispanic community" because Garcia initially agreed only to one Spanish-language debate. He later agreed to another.

Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott also agreed to only one Spanish-language debate out of three total against Democrat Charlie Crist. Scott's running mate, Lieutenant Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, agreed to none against Annette Taddeo, who specifically asked for an exchange in Spanish (in which she is more fluent than he is).

When asked a few weeks ago if the top of the GOP ticket should have accepted more debates, Curbelo said yes.

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


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    

Miami-Dade mayor lays more groundwork for possible GOP departure


A day after causing a political stir by revealing he may leave the Republican Party to become independent, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez joined a popular radio show to explain why it would be a good idea.

"These labels tend to drive us apart here," Gimenez told 610 WIOD host Jimmy Cefalo. "We don't need that here."

Gimenez emphasized he wasn't yet ready to drop his GOP affiliation, just one week before a tight governor's race between Republican incumbent Rick Scott and former-Republican Charlie Crist. "I'm still considering it," he said. "If it happens, we'll see when it happens."

But the mayor facing reelection in 2016 made no argument against the switch, and a strong case for doing it.

"I want to make sure that people understand when they vote for me, and when they vote for me again, they're voting for Carlos Gimenez and what he stands for. And not some party," he said. "Because I've shown I'm independent. I've shown I can reach across the aisle."

The Democratic Party backed Daniella Levine Cava's successful bid to unseat County Commissioner Lynda Bell, a Republican. Local Democrat leaders said they considered the August race a run-up to backing a challenger to Gimenez in two years. 

"One of the great things about Miami-Dade County is we run in a non-partisan fashion," Gimenez said. "I think there are forces at work trying to make it more and more partisan. We've seen how well that worked in Washington."