Monday, October 15, 2012

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

PPP Poll: Romney leading by one point in Florida

"A Public Policy Polling survey shows Mitt Romney leading President Barack Obama by one point in Florida, a five-point gain for the GOP nominee over the past three weeks. Romney led Obama 49 percent to 48 percent in a poll released Sunday after trailing 50 percent to 46 percent in late September. The shift came mostly from independent voters changing preferences, said pollster Tom Jensen." "Poll: Romney gains 5 points in Florida in three weeks".

Obama leads 51-44 percent among Florida Hispanics

"Mitt Romney is closing the gap on President Barack Obama among likely Hispanic Florida voters, a majority of whom say they’re not better off than four years ago, according to a new Florida International University/Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll."

Obama is ahead of Romney 51-44 percent among Hispanics, a relatively narrow lead that could spell trouble for a Democratic campaign that’s counting on minority support as non-Hispanic white voters flock to the Republican ticket in droves.

In the rest of the country, however, it’s a different story for Obama when it comes to likely Hispanic voters.

The president wallops Romney 66-31 percent overall across the U.S., according to the poll’s national survey of 1,000 likely Hispanic voters. It was taken Oct. 10-11 along with the 720-voter poll in Florida.

"Poll: Obama holds big lead over Romney among Hispanic voters nationwide; margin much smaller in Florida".

"Aggressive, Spanish-language campaigns in Central Florida"

"The campaigns for both Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are running aggressive, largely independent Spanish-language campaigns in Central Florida, South Florida and Tampa. Romney calls his Juntos con Romney [Together with Romney]. Obama calls his Latinos por Obama [Latinos for Obama]." "Romney, Obama run aggressive Spanish-language campaigns".

FlaDem Fail

"Powerful Democrats turn cold shoulder to Dorworth challenger".

"Pragmatic voice"

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "The incumbent is a centrist who works across partisan lines and understands the art of compromise, and that is the kind of voice that needs to be heard in Washington. Bill Nelson has served Florida well, and he deserves to be elected to a third term." "Nelson's pragmatic voice".

Charter madness

"Sharp debate shadows charter school enrollment".

"Supreme Court race unusually stressful, costly"

"In a typical election year, Florida Supreme Court justices put $500 in their campaign accounts and after the votes are counted, they withdraw the money and settle in for another six years. This year, Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince each have about $330,000 in their campaign war chests. They are touring the state, talking to business groups, visiting newspaper editorial boards, making robo-calls to voters and hoping they survive the November election." "Florida Supreme Court retention race unusually stressful, costly this election".

Rivera interviewed

"'No federal agency has ever stated or confirmed that I am under investigation for anything,' Rivera told WPLG-ABC 10’s Michael Putney on This Week in South Florida."

U.S. Rep. David Rivera defended himself Sunday against a federal grand-jury investigation into his alleged involvement in a primary campaign against his Democratic opponent.

At one point, Rivera pulled out a black Sony tape recorder and held it up against his lapel microphone to play a recording of what he said was a telephone message from an FBI witness in the case.

The FBI is investigating whether Rivera illegally funneled secret money to Justin Lamar Sternad, who lost in the Aug. 14 primary to Joe Garcia. Garcia now faces Rivera.

"David Rivera defends himself in TV interview".

"A wolf in sheep’s clothing"

John Kennedy: "Florida voters must weigh far-ranging claims from both sides in deciding a proposed constitutional amendment lifting a 127-year-old ban on public money going to religious institutions."

Opponents say Amendment 8 – if approved – will revive efforts by the Republican-ruled legislature to reinstate private school vouchers, a signature policy of former Gov. Jeb Bush ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.

But supporters of the proposed amendment say it is merely a defensive move, designed to allow organizations already providing critical state services to fend off possible legal challenges.

The measure, one of 11 proposed amendments placed by the Republican-controlled legislature on the Nov. 6 ballot that must be approved by at least 60 percent of the voters, is inflaming emotions, a familiar outcome whenever church and state mix. . . . .

Critics, though, say the potential reach of the measure is alarming.

“This extremely misleading proposal is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, which is fighting Amendment 8. “It would remove the safeguard that prohibits public funding of religious entities and would allow public dollars to flow to even the most extreme religious groups or sects.”

Much more here: "Amendment would let religious groups get public funds".

$150 million spent in Florida so far

"By the end, the campaigns and independent groups will have spent about $1.1 billion on television advertising this year, with $750 million already allocated in the handful of states likely to determine the outcome of the contest — Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, the Kantar-Campaign Media Analysis Group estimates. Florida tops the list, with more than $150 million spent by both sides so far." "Political ads bombard viewers, but to what effect?" See also "Think you see a lot of political ads? Just wait"

"Tax breaks, or revenue drain?"

"As voters decide whether to vote up or down on Amendment 4, hanging in the balance could be a few hundred dollars in tax cuts for the average new home buyer, and as much as $600,000 in tax breaks for multimillion-dollar properties like the famed Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach."

Proponents of Amendment 4 argue it will create thousands of new jobs while reinvigorating the state's troubled housing market and saving homeowners millions of dollars.

Opponents paint a much grimmer picture: full-time Floridians shouldering the tax burden of snowbirds and corporations, while governments are forced to make bone-deep cuts to social services.

"It will definitely mean cuts to services, unless (local officials) raise the millage rates," said Jack McCabe, CEO of McCabe Research & Consulting, a real estate firm in Deerfield Beach. McCabe said he is in favor of property tax reform and efforts to revive the housing market, but called Amendment 4 a "patch job" that will shift tax costs from businesses onto longtime homeowners.

"Tax breaks, or revenue drain?".

Floridians die each week because they do not have health coverage as Scott plays politics

The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Nearly 44 Floridians die each week because they do not have health coverage, according to Families USA, a consumer advocacy organization. That’s more than six people a day. That should be enough to prompt Gov. Scott to accept the federal government’s offer of three free years of expanded Medicaid coverage."

"Scott’s hidden Medicaid tax hurts uninsured, providers".

Hastings in a walk

"U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, who is running for his 11th term, has no Republican opponent and seems almost certain to survive the challenges he is facing from two minor candidates in newly drawn District 20." "House District 20".