October 14, 2014

CNN poll: FL gov race deadlocked 44-44% between Rick Scott, Charlie Crist


More evidence that Florida's race for governor is dead-even: a CNN/ORC poll showing it's.... dead even.

Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist pull in 44 percent of the vote each. Libertarian Adrian Wyllie gets 9 percent support among likely voters. Among registered voters, the poll shows more of an advantage for Crist: a 42-40 percent lead that's still well within the margin of error.

The poll of 1,035 voters (610 of whom say they're likely to vote) surveyed equal proportions of self-identified Republicans and Democrats, 34 percent, with 32 percent identifying themselves as independents.

The poll might be slightly better news for Crist than Scott in that, because the Democrat does marginally better with registered voters (that is, the total poll of the electorate) he has an oh-so-small extra reservoir of support he can tap. Likely voter screens in polls can miss Democrats more than Republicans and, as a campaign intensifies, registered voters become likely voters.

Still, this poll is evidence of the very definition of coin toss.

Here's the CNN story and here are the poll's crosstabs.

0ptimus FL poll: Charlie Crist tops Rick Scott 41-39%; Wyllie at 13%


The new Republican-leaning data-analytics firm, 0ptimus, has released its latest survey in the Florida governor's race, and it looks a lot like the last survey: a basic tie between Democrat Charlie Crist and Gov. Rick Scott.

Crist gets about 41 percent of the vote to Scott's 39 percent (it's 40.5 to 39.4 percent to be exact). Libertarian Adrian Wyllie is still pulling an impressive 13 percent in the poll. The margin of error is 1.3 percentage points.

So the race is basically frozen.

Two ways to look at the poll (and the other recent ones all showing a basically tied race:

Good news for Scott: Democrats, despite their numerical advantage on the voter rolls, tend to underperform in mid-term elections, when Republicans overperform. If the race remains essentially tied, there's probably a better chance that the Republican will win. Also, unlike in other races where undecideds break slightly more for the challenger, this race basically has two incumbents because Crist is seeking reelection to the post he left in 2010.

Good news for Crist: Crist is winning. And this poll has a Republican turnout advantage of 3% points -- that's lower than 2010 but higher than 2006. If Crist can get Democratic turnout to at least equal Republican turnout, almost every poll shows he wins. Most polls show he wins with a Republican turnout advantage of 1% point. Also, it's important to note that this and many other recent surveys is a robo-poll, which can lean more conservative. To compensate for that, 0ptimus surveys thousands more voters than most (this poll is 6,384) and adjusts the responses to give younger and minority voters (i.e., those who are more cellphone-oriented and more likely to vote Democrat) more representation.

So my forecast is the same: Flip a coin, if it lands on its edge, it'll be the best predictor of who wins the race right now.

Here are the crosstabs:

Candidate REP DEM IND
Scott 64.2% 14.9% 33.5%
Crist 16.7% 67.0% 38.6%
Wyllie 13.0% 10.6% 16.0%
Unsure 6.2% 7.5% 11.8%


October 13, 2014

McLaughlin poll: Rick Scott over Charlie Crist 43-42 percent, Wyllie at 6


Gov. Rick Scott is slightly leading Democrat Charlie Crist 43-42 percent, according to a new poll from Republican pollster McLaughlin & Associates.

Like other recent polls that show Crist up by a point or two, Scott's lead in the McLaughlin survey is within the margin of error, making the race essentially tied. The Republican Party of Florida paid for the poll of 1,000 likely voters.

Scott's big advantage: independents, leaning 39-32 percent in his favor. Both candidates draw about the same level of support from their respective bases and from voters of the opposite party.

So far, about $72 million has been spent on broadcast and cable TV ads that have run or will run by Election Day. Scott's side has spent more than $51 million, and Crist about $21 million. Most of the ads have been negative, dragging down the candidate's standing in the polls.

There's another reason the race is so close: both candidates are essentially up for re-election -- Scott’s the incumbent, but Crist is his predecessor, pollster Jim McLaughlin said.

“It’s an anti-incumbent year,” McLaughlin said. “What’s different about this race is you have basically two incumbents. The real question is, if you’re undecided on Nov. 3, do you still vote?”

Continue reading "McLaughlin poll: Rick Scott over Charlie Crist 43-42 percent, Wyllie at 6" »

October 09, 2014

Rick Scott campaign: we're crushing Democrats in mail-in votes. And they are by 18%


Gov. Rick Scott's deputy campaign manager, data guru Tim Saler, is out with a new numbers-laden memo that's partly news, partly media j'accuse and partly narrative course-correction.

The memo comes as Democrat Charlie Crist is shifting slightly ahead in polls this week. And Saler rightly points out that what really matters is votes. And Republicans, as they're want to do, are dominating. Actually, they're crushing Democrats in absentee ballots being cast.

"At this time in the 2010 campaign, just over 140,000 voters had their ballots counted," Saler writes. "Fast-forward to 2012, and a little over 145,000 voters had made their choice. Today, more than 260,000 voters have already cast their ballots in the race for Florida’s next governor. And who cast their votes will surprise you even more."

So far, by my count, a whopping 265,651 absentee ballots have been mailed back to election supervisors. Of them, 50 percent are from Republicans and 33 percent from Democrats. The margin: 18 percentage points for Republicans. About this point in 2012, Democrats were only down 2.4 percentage points.

Pinellas Republicans, by the way, are leading the way -- with 18,555. That's Charlie Crist's home county, so there's a good chance a higher-than-usual number of these are for Crist.

Still, what's up in Charlie Crist World? 

Continue reading "Rick Scott campaign: we're crushing Democrats in mail-in votes. And they are by 18%" »

Latino Decisions/LaRaza poll: Crist leads Scott 53-29 among Hispanic FL voters


Democrat Charlie Crist holds a sizable 53-29 percent lead over Gov. Rick Scott among Hispanic voters, according to a new poll that indicates this fastest growing segment of the electorate doesn’t like Republican positions on immigration, Medicaid and the minimum wage.

And despite concerns that Hispanic voters might stay home this election, the survey conducted by the premier Latino Decisions polling firm indicates they could be a force at the polls for Crist just as they were for President Obama in 2012 when he barely won Florida.

"There has been a lot of rumbling from pundits that Latino voters will stay home this year because they are demoralized by the lack of progress on immigration reform,” said Loren McArthur, deputy director of civic engagement for National Council of La Raza, a liberal-leaning Hispanic-advocacy group that paid for the survey of 600 registered Hispanic voters.
“When asked whether inaction on immigration means Latinos should turn out or sit home in November,” he said, pointing to the poll, “nearly eight times as many Latino voters say turnout is more important than ever this year.”

The poll, released as the two major candidates square off Friday in a debate hosted by Spanish-language network Telemundo, is the latest spot of good survey news for Crist.

More here

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



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 

Two new FL polls show Charlie Crist over Rick Scott by 2%, but race likely dead even


Liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling and SurveyUSA, which is polling for WFLA-TV, both released poll results last night showing Democrat Charlie Crist leading Gov. Rick Scott by 2 percentage points, an inside-the-error-margin lead for the challenger.

SurveyUSA shows Crist up 44-42 percent, with Libertarian Adrian Wyllie garnering 6 percent support. SurveyUSA, unlike PPP, released its crosstabs. As noted last week, SurveyUSA's independent sample is volatile. Here, it shows Scott leading them by 5 points -- a net 13 percentage point shift in his favor.

SurveyUSA has an equal number of Democratic and Republican respondents, 40 percent. That might be high on the Democratic side. In my estimation, based on the averages of the two prior governor's races, a Republican +2 model is more likely. Use that figure for SurveyUSA, and the race is dead even: 42.9 percent for Scott and about 42.8 percent for Crist. (More here on poll unskewing)

PPP's survey, conducted for the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund, has Crist with an inside-the-error-margin lead of 45-43 percent with Wyllie at 8 percent. It has Democratic respondents outnumbering Republican respondents by 5 percentage points.

Chances are, the race is also essentially tied.

Two polls from two political groups shared with The Miami Herald yesterday showed the race literally dead even: 41-41 percent and 40-40 percent, respectively. Both of those polls were weighted to reflect a slightly more Republican electorate. And yesterday's 0ptimus poll showed just that (albeit, 0ptimus had a high number of respondents favoring Wyllie, 13 percent).

A note on polling technology: SurveyUSA and PPP are robo-pollers, and therefore both miss cellphone voters by phone. They try to compensate for that loss in other ways, but generally speaking, robo-polls lean conservative because houses with landlines tend to have voters who fit a more-conservative demographic model compared to cellphone voters, who tend to be younger and more-liberal (but therefore less-likely to vote). Also, because these polls are self-ID surveys (where the voter says what party he's identified with) there's also a chance that a sample that leans ever-so-slightly Democratic is due to the fact that Democrats might be ever-so-slightly more excited about voting (and vice versa).

October 07, 2014

0ptimus FL poll: Adrian Wyllie gaining at 13%; Charlie Crist, Rick Scott deadlocked 40-39%


The new Republican-leaning analytics firm 0ptimus is out with a new Florida governor's race poll and it's probably great news for the least-known candidate: Adrian Wyllie.

The Libertarian is pulling in 13 percent support from likely voters, an improvement of 2 percentage points since 0ptimus' last poll. It's an even bigger pickup compared to Wyllie's standing when 0ptimus first surveyed his name from Aug. 18-Aug. 24, when he registered 9 support.

If Wyllie hits 15 percent support and the Florida Press Association deems 0ptimus a "credible" poll, then Wyllie will likely participate in its Oct. 15 debate featuring Gov. Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist. Wyllie has been shut out of Friday's Telemundo debate.

Update: The Florida Press Association says Wyllie can't participate in its Oct. 15 debate between Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist because, to qualify, Wyllie had to register 15 percent in a poll that had to be taken before Sept. 30 by an independent pollster, which the association defines as one not affiliated with a political party or group. Wyllie also won't be in Friday's Telemundo face-off between Scott and Crist.

Crist and Scott, meanwhile, are essentially deadlocked at 40-39 percent.

"This week, the two candidates stayed neck and neck, and the only 'mover' in the race was Wyllie, who showed gains just outside the margin of error," said 0ptimus' founder and analyst Brian Stobie.  "We view this is a backlash to the two highly negative campaigns saturating Florida airwaves, particularly from those in our modeled undecided voter universes, who seem to be leading this trend toward Wyllie."

If that's the case, Scott's people might have figured it out first. They've gone up with two strong positive spots (if you include Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera's direct-to-camera commercial, it's three). Crist, who has trailed in fundraising and therefore ad-running, is slightly behind but he's also adding more positive spots as well.

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