Thursday, May 01, 2014

After reading the hard copy of your hometown newspaper, please consider "liking" us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. Please consider giving newspaper as gifts and/or buying one or more subscriptions for delivery to your workplace.

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

Q Poll: Clinton beats Jeb and Rubio in Florida

"Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is way out in front over U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and other possible Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination in his home state, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. But despite President Barack Obama's underwater job approval rating, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads a list of Republicans by margins of 8 percentage points or higher, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds."

Gov. Bush leads the Florida Republican primary with 27 percent, followed by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky with 14 percent, Sen. Rubio at 11 percent, New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie at 7 percent, with 6 percent each for Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan. No other candidate tops 4 percent and 16 percent are undecided. . . .

Clinton tops several possible Republican candidates in Florida:

49 - 41 percent over Bush;

52 - 40 percent over Rubio;

55 - 37 percent over Paul;

52 - 34 percent over Christie;

56 - 36 percent over Ryan;

57 - 31 percent over Cruz;

53 - 35 percent over Huckabee.

"May 1 Florida poll". See also "Hillary Clinton Besting GOP Hopefuls, Jeb Bush Leads GOP Field in 2016 Florida Poll".

In-state tuition for immigrants in Senate

"Bill giving undocumented immigrants in-state tuition in Florida poised for Senate vote".

Public employee haters flop

"Pension Legislation Dead, Senate Sponsor Says". See also "Effort to overhaul Florida public employee pension system looks dead for year; other legislative news".

School grades

"Bill changing way Florida grades its public schools on the way to Gov. Scott".

"Scott's 'television barrage' hasn't helped"

"Strong support from women and independents is helping Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist maintain a hefty lead over incumbent Republican Rick Scott, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday."

Crist, who was elected governor in 2006 as a Republican but later left the party and the governor's mansion, leads Scott by a margin of 48 percent to 38 percent, the poll showed. That is similar to a Quinnipiac poll in January that gave Crist a lead of 46 percent to 38 percent. . . .

Crist particularly does well with women voters, leading Scott by a margin of 51 percent to 33 percent, according to the poll. Independents also back Crist by a margin of 48 percent to 34 percent.

Crist beat Scott on a variety of issues, including compassion, honesty and trustworthiness, and voters also viewed Crist as a better leader. And Crist received a better grade as governor, with an approval rate of 52-38 percent, compared to Scott's negative 42-50 percent job-approval rating.

The latest figures come after Scott's campaign has unleashed six television ads, most of them bashing Crist.

[Peter Brown, assistant director of the independent Quinnipiac University Poll,] said that the latest numbers show that Scott's "television barrage" hasn't helped the incumbent.

"Scott has used millions of dollars of television ads to try to convince voters that Charlie Crist isn't their kind of guy and, so far, it hasn't worked. That tells you something," Brown said Wednesday.

"'Compassionate' Crist opens up wide lead over Scott". Not to be outdone, on the heels of the prestigious Quinnipiac poll "this morning showing Democrat Charlie Crist with a 10 point lead over incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott critics quickly pointed out that the poll's sampling skewed Democratic." Scott's camp disclosed
a new poll with a conservative sponsor, from Winter Springs-based Gravis Marketing, [which] shows Scott up 1 point.

The Gravis poll . . . gives Scott a 44-43 lead, well within the 3 point margin of error. It also says that Attorney General Pam Bondi comfortably leads either of the two Democrats vying to take her on, ahead of George Sheldon 45-36 and ahead of Perry Thurston 45-38.

With due respect, this is hardly a case of dueling bona fide polls:
The Gravis poll [was] done in conjunction with the very conservative organization Human Events . . .
"Gravis Florida poll: Scott has 1 point lead over Crist". See also "New Poll: Scott Ahead of Crist; Bondi, Marijuana Amendment Winning".

Human Events features "writers" like Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan, Sean Hannity, and Newt Gingrich.

Local bucks

"State lawmakers from Miami-Dade County secured billions of dollars for local schools, universities, social services programs and development projects." "Miami-Dade lawmakers bring home big dollars from Tallahassee".

Obama Upside Down

"Obama Remains Upside Down in Florida".

Grayson asks for annulment

"Alan Grayson asks for annulment, accuses wife of bigamy in new court documents".

Rubio talks tuff, is anybody listening?

"Marco Rubio Joins Senate GOP in Calling for Tougher Sanctions Against Russia".

Scott throws wild card

Marc Caputo: "Gov. Rick Scott just threw down a wild card."

With less than a week before the session ends on Friday, Scott’s team is provoking talk about a special legislative session, perhaps starting May 18, to consider a new gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

The potential deal, called a “compact,” could give the state as much as $500 million annually, about double what it gets now. But it could hurt the states 31 pari-mutuel facilities, many of which see the Seminoles and Miccosukee tribes as threats.

"Marc Caputo: In gambling talks, is Gov. Rick Scott ...".

Big of 'em

"For the first time in three years, state lawmakers will give traditional school districts money for maintenance and construction." "State budget plan has $100 million for public schools upkeep".