Friday, September 21, 2012

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.

Poll: Sink would smoke Scott, 47 to 39%

"Rick Scott’s low standing with voters persists in a new Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll, and he should be more concerned about a possible 2014 rematch against Democrat Alex Sink than a challenge from a remade Charlie Crist."

Scott still can’t gain ground with his constituents even after a recent Republican Party TV ad blitz that emphasized his focus on improving schools. An even 50 percent of voters disapprove of Scott’s job performance in the poll, with 38 percent approving and 12 percent not sure. That’s a slight change from a July Herald/Times/Bay News 9 poll in which 51 percent disapproved of Scott’s job performance, 40 percent approved and 9 percent had no opinion.
"The poll had ominous news for Crist, the Republican-turned-independent ex-governor who recently endorsed President Barack Obama’s re-election."
He retains sky-high name recognition of 96 percent but has lost much of his popularity, with voters now evenly divided on whether they like him. . . .

The poll also revealed that Crist’s highly publicized endorsement of the president, including a prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention, has done nothing to help the president politically in Florida. Only 8 percent of voters say they are more likely to vote for Obama because Crist endorsed him, and they already supported Obama. Another 13 percent say they are less likely to vote for the president because of Crist’s action, and the remaining 79 percent say it doesn’t matter. In a hypothetical match-up for governor in 2014, Sink would beat Scott, 47 percent to 39 percent, with the rest undecided. Crist has a two-point edge over Scott in a similar match-up, 44 percent to 42 percent, but that’s within the poll’s margin of error.

“Alex Sink is much stronger against Scott in a rematch than Crist,” pollster Brad Coker said. “(Scott’s) dream race would be against Charlie Crist.”

Sink is more popular than Crist, with a better than 2-to-1 favorability rating, but only 81 percent of voters recognized her name. When Sink narrowly lost to Scott in 2010, 98 percent of voters recognized her name.

"Scott standings remain low in new Florida poll" ("The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon, a nonpartisan Jacksonville-based company, and included respondents using land-line and cell phones. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.")

A rough week for Scott

"Rick Scott is hoping for a little good news when the state announces its August unemployment numbers. It's been a rough week for the first-term Republican governor, who came into office on a promise of creating 700,000 new jobs." "Scott hoping for reversal in state's unemployment". Meanwhile, "Lockheed to slash jobs in missiles, training".

"Somebody check to see if Gov. Scott has wax in his ears"

The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Somebody check to see if Gov. Scott has wax in his ears. After conducting a 'listening tour' of schools, the governor has decreed that reducing overregulation is the way to improve education in Florida."

Maybe this is more a vision problem. The governor sees everything in terms of “treating government like a business.” And he has only two solutions: Cut taxes; cut regulations. Cutting taxes is a non-starter. The governor cut education spending $1.3 billion his first year, restored in the neighborhood of $1 billion his second year, and has sort-of pledged to hold education spending steady in the next legislative session. You even can argue that Gov. Scott raised taxes on teachers when he supported and signed legislation requiring them to contribute 3 percent of pay into a retirement system that since 1974 had been non-contributory.
"That leaves Gov. Scott with the sole solution of 'cutting regulations.'".
But Gov. Scott already increased education red tape. He advocated and signed legislation that greatly expands the number of high-stakes tests and subjects teachers to a never-ending series of evaluations that will generate thousands of forms filled out for no valid purpose. . . .

Schools can just cut regulations until — as with the religion-oriented voucher schools former Gov. Bush loved so much and that the Legislature and Gov. Scott keep expanding — there is no way to know if the teachers are qualified or the students are learning. The goal should not necessarily be less regulation or more regulation. It should be meaningful regulation. Of course, the state also should have meaningful testing, meaningful levels of support and meaningful teacher evaluations.

A meaningful listening tour would have helped.

"Editorial: Rick Scott heard nothing on his ‘listening tour.’".

"Can Sunshine State Afford More Tax Breaks?"

"Florida Veterans Property Tax Amendment: Can Sunshine State Afford More Tax Breaks?".


"Just before 4 p.m., and fresh from being grilled on Spanish-language network Univision, Obama and his Secret Service men walked into OMG! Burgers in South Miami for a quick meal." "OMG! President Obama eats at South Miami burger joint".

Florida gold

"With simultaneous campaign fundraising visits to Tampa and Sarasota on Thursday, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney took yet another dip into Florida's pool of electoral cash." "Both campaigns seek local votes, bucks". See also "At Tampa fundraiser, Obama implores backers to keep up fight". See also "Days after uproar over Boca remarks, Romney back in county for money".


The STampa Bay Times editorial board: "It's hard to defend the indefensible when the facts are not on your side. Pinellas County Commissioner Neil Brickfield makes several inaccurate statements as he tries to justify why he voted to stop adding fluoride to the county's drinking water. Brickfield misrepresents established science, and he misleads voters in the same fashion he was misled before voting against the public health." "Brickfield strays from fluoride facts to defend his vote".

EV litigation

"A lawyer for opponents of a controversial change in early voting in Florida told a federal judge in Jacksonville that the law would disproportionately harm black voters and should be blocked." "Federal Judge in Jacksonville Weighing Request to Block Early Voting Law".

Lo tech

"Woman signals Obama for help with sign on roof".

Scott's revised voter purge

"Two Miami-Dade County voters and Hispanic voting groups have asked a federal judge to halt Gov. Rick Scott’s revised to purge voter rolls of non-citizens, saying it comes too close to the Nov. 6 election and remains problematic." "Revised try at purging noncitizen voters draws legal fire".

Ryan to UCF

"GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan coming to UCF Saturday". See also "GOP vice presidential nominee Ryan returns to Fla.".

Teabaggers assert themselves

"Gainesville Tea Party, others may be stirring opposition to PSC's Lisa Edgar".

"Swanky group of Florida high rollers"

Daniel Ruth: "Until a few days ago, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney had been campaigning as if he were stumping to become commodore of his yacht club — low-key, cautious, circumspect and about as spontaneous as a North Korean May Day parade."

Then came the release of a surreptitiously recorded speech before a swanky group of Florida high rollers, in which Romney essentially wrote off 47 percent of the electorate as good-for-nothing, non-taxpaying freeloaders living off government handouts.

There's a winning strategy for you — portraying nearly 50 percent of the body politic as big moochers.

And yes, that cacophonous thunderclap you just heard were the foreheads of the entire Romney campaign team hitting the headquarters conference table.

"Open mouth, insert uncallused foot".

"The biggest jobs-incentive failure ever in Florida"

The Palm Beach Post editors: "After securing $135 million in promises statewide, Digital Domain is the biggest jobs-incentive failure ever in Florida. Incentives might still make sense in some cases. But as Digital Domain unwinds, it should provide all the incentive cities like West Palm Beach need to examine their own practices in detail. Regret now will help the city have no regrets tomorrow." "West Palm Beach should review Digital Domain dealings".

Scott fights for 47%

"Scott said Thursday that he would appeal the decision, which could leave Palm Beach County, its cities and special drainage districts on the hook for $6 million for damage and expenses they incurred as a result of the storm." "FEMA says no to Florida’s $6.5 million request for Isaac repairs".

"Obama called out by a popular Univision newscaster"

"After a warm welcome from an audience of college students, Obama was called out by a popular Univision newscaster for talking big about immigration reform in the last campaign but failing to pass it. Obama said he tried to build support for immigration reform early in his term and then ran into roadblocks when Republicans in Congress declined to work with him on it."

On a stage at the University of Miami, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos told Obama it sounded like a promise in 2008 and that, "with all due respect, you didn't keep that promise."

Obama said that the president is not "all-powerful," and that he can't act unilaterally without Congress. He said he had learned from his time in office.

"Most important is you can't change Washington from inside, only from the outside," Obama said at the forum, adding that the American people prompted Washington to act. "That's how some of our biggest accomplishments like health care got done — mobilizing the American people,"

Across the state in Sarasota, the Republican nominee said Obama's admission was another reason voters need to reject him in November.

"Obama defends immigration stance during Florida forum". See also "In Miami, Obama voices support for Dream Act, improved education opportunities", "In Miami, Obama voices support for Dream Act, improved education opportunities" and "In Miami, Obama voices support for Dream Act, improved education opportunities".