Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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

Poll: Race for governor is dead even

"The race for the governor's office is dead even and voters now are ready to support Amendment 2 approving medical marijuana use in Florida, a new poll finds."

Gravis Marketing, which has found voters hovering at or just below the 60 percent level needed to approve Amendment 2 in past surveys, found Floridians have passed that level now and 64 percent said they would "vote for the current amendment use of marijuana for certain medical conditions." Just 26 percent were opposed and 10 percent said they were unsure.

Other polls have shown much greater support for medical marijuana in Florida -- notably the Quinnipiac University poll, which found support as high as 88 percent. But the Quinnipiac Florida Poll did not ask specifically about Florida's Amendment 2, but rather generically about medical marijuana.

The Gravis poll's finding of a solid approval level strikes at Amendment 2 opponents argument that voters could overwhelmingly favor medical marijuana in principal without agreeing to the specific proposal on the Nov. 4 ballot.

"The poll also put Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and former Republican-turned-Democratic challenger Charlie Crist in a dead heat with 37 percent each, with 26 percent undecided."
It found Floridians unhappy with President Barack Obama, giving him an approval rating of just 38 percent, and a disapproval rating of 53 percent.

For the 2016 presidential campaign, Gravis found former secretary of state Hillary Clinton ahead of Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida 44 percent to 36 percent, and ahead of former governor Jeb Bush 39 percent to 37 percent.

"Florida voters split on governor, support medical pot"(The Gravis survey of 859 registered Florida voters was conducted August 14 through 24, with a 4 percent margin of error; the poll skewed toward a larger Republican sample than the Florida electorate.) See also "Amendment 2 on Medical Marijuana Does Well in Poll."

Gravis doesn't have the best reputation, as this Slate piece reports: "The Worst Poll in America."

"A choke-on-his-Cheerios moment"

"A lawsuit seeking $375,000 from a brain-damaged and paralyzed Broward County man caused a choke-on-his-Cheerios moment for state Rep. Jamie Grant." "Tampa lawmaker says ‘disgusting’ lawsuit should prompt claim bill reform."

"A notary’s mistake"

"Reggie Fullwood could well pay the price for a notary’s mistake as he ponders his political future." "Johnny Gaffney Blocks Reggie Fullwood's Easy Path Back to Tallahassee."

"Saying the same thing again. And again. And again"

"Rick Scott in some respects makes it easy on journalists. If a reporter misses something he says in an interview, maybe even spaces out for a moment, it doesn’t really matter because Scott is certain to say the same thing again. And again. And again." "Governor candidates stump on Labor Day."

"One Person's Fairness . . ."

Lloyd Brown: "One Person's Fairness Is Another Person's Gerrymander."

"Strange fate"

"Charlie Crist and George Sheldon will be at the top of the Democratic ticket this year, a strange fate for these former rivals and current allies. As he takes on Pam Bondi in the fall, Sheldon won't be able to eclipse Crist who is running against Rick Scott." "George Sheldon's Back in Charlie Crist's Shadow."

Perry to Morgan

"Judge Belvin Perry to join John Morgan law firm."

"Battle over Bright Futures"

"The battle over Bright Futures has begun. But while Charlie Crist keeps criticizing Gov. Rick Scott over changes to the popular merit-based scholarship program in the years since Scott took office, some of the key changes were put in place while Crist was in the governor’s mansion." "Scott, Crist both face criticism for changes to Bright Futures program."

One trick pony

The public employee haters on the Tampa Trib editorial board bemoan what they call an "unfortunate lawsuit by the teachers union and other groups seeks to have Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship voucher program declared unconstitutional. The suit claims the vouchers divert money from public schools." "Taking school choice to court."

"Cause to regret"

The Tampa Tribune editors think "Florida lawmakers may have cause to regret not adopting legislation last session providing incentives to attract film projects." "Nurturing a film industry."