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Blog Home Page --> Governor -- Florida

Obama Drops Into Florida's Political Frenzy

President Obama makes his fourth visit to Florida today, one of only a half dozen states outside the Beltway he's visited that many times since entering the White House. He'll find a Sunshine State again rich with political intrigue, where major developments in the gubernatorial, Senate and Congressional races just this week point to an election cycle as busy as any in recent memory.

Obama's visit - to deliver an address on his space policy and to raise money for the Democratic National Committee - of course points to his own political interest in the state. Not since 1976 had a Democratic presidential nominee won 51 percent of the vote in Florida, as Obama did two years ago. But recent polling shows that his standing has slipped there as in many battlegrounds from 2008, something that could affect the entire Democratic ticket this fall.

Democrats had a voter registration advantage of 660,000 in 2008, after the party added 500,000 voters to its rolls between the 2006 and 2008 elections. Republican registration rose by 130,000. However, after a successful election year that also included picking up two Republican House seats, the party has no apparent edge in this year's midterm elections.

"I think it's lining up to be a pretty Republican year in Florida," said Central Florida University political scientist Aubrey Jewett, co-author of the book Politics in Florida. "Florida-specific polls show Obama's approval rating is about where it is around the country. And the average Floridian isn't happy with the health care bill."

Continue reading "Obama Drops Into Florida's Political Frenzy" »

Fundraising Portends Competitive Governor's Races

New fundraising reports in Florida, Massachusetts and Wisconsin indicate what should be competitive governor's races come November. GOP challengers in Florida, where Gov. Charlie Crist (R) is running for Senate, and Massachusetts, where Gov. Deval Patrick (D) is running for re-election, reported strong fundraising totals as of the end of the year, while a Democrat in Wisconsin appears fit to keep the state blue.

The news in Massachusetts caught many by surprise, including Patrick, whose Republican opponent Charles Baker doubled Patrick's fundraising for all of 2009 in less than six months. Patrick had even welcomed President Obama last year for a fundraiser. Now, already facing dipping approval ratings, Patrick is in for an extremely difficult re-election.

The governor, an outspoken proponent for Obama's 2008 campaign -- which shattered fundraising records -- dismissed his challenger's impressive haul, saying: "This campaign is not about money. If it is about money, then we are just going to go back to same old, same old on Beacon Hill."

In Florida, Attorney General Bill McCollum is catching up to Democrat Alex Sink after a strong fundraising quarter to end the year. He raised $1.4 million to Sink's $1.1 million. Sink still likely holds a controlling lead in cash on hand, however.

McCollum also received good news yesterday when Crist shot down a rumor that he would be running for re-election instead of for Senate.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) is showing he has what it takes to succeed outgoing Democrat Jim Doyle, despite his relatively late start to the race. Barrett, a former congressman who was recruited to the race by the White House, announced raising $750,000 in just seven weeks, giving him $1.5 million in the bank.

Neither of Barrett's Republican rivals, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker or former congressman Mark Neumann, have announced their totals yet.

FL Gov Poll: Sinks Narrows Gap

Rasmussen releases some more Florida numbers this morning, this time on the race to succeed Charlie Crist (R) as governor.

General Election Matchup
McCollum (R) 44 (-2 vs. last poll, 10/19)
Sink (D) 39 (+4)
Und 12 (-3)

Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer, is viewed favorably by 45 percent and unfavorably by 31; McCollum, currently attorney general, has a 54 / 30 fav/unfav split. McCollum leads by 4.4 in the RCP Average for Florida Governor.

President Obama's job approval rating is down to 44 percent in the battleground state, while 55 percent disapprove. Crist still has a net +7 job approval rating, though it's slipped as well.

FL Sen: Rubio Cuts Into Crist's Primary Lead

Former state House Speaker Marco Rubio has chopped down Gov. Charlie Crist's lead in the Republican Senate primary, according to two new polls out yesterday. Quinnipiac and Rasmussen found the first-term, moderate governor leading the more-conservative Rubio by 15 and 14 points.

In the Quinnipiac poll (Oct. 12-18, 1078 RV, MoE +/- 3%), Crist's 29-point lead in August has been cut nearly in half as Rubio has been able to win over national and state conservatives. However, Crist holds a 20-point lead against Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) in the general election, while Rubio trails by 3. As a congressman from Miami, Meek remains an unknown entity to much of the state, even more so than Rubio.

Senate GOP Primary
Crist 50 (-5 vs. last poll, Aug. 19)
Rubio 35 (+9)
Und 12 (-6)

Senate General Election
Crist 51
Meek 31
Und 14

Meek 36
Rubio 33
Und 28

The Q-Poll also tested the governor's race. It found Atty. Gen. Bill McCollum on his way to an easy victory in the GOP primary, and a 4-point lead in the general election over state CFO Alex Sink, with 27% undecided.

The Rasmussen poll (Oct. 19, 466 LV, MoE +/- 4.5%) showed an almost identical margin between the two Republican Senate candidates.

Crist 49 (-4 vs. last poll, Aug. 18)
Rubio 35 (+4)
Und 12

A separate Rasmussen survey out today (Oct. 19, 1000 LV, MoE +/- 3%) in the governor's race found McCollum up 9 points with 15% undecided.

FL Gov Poll: McCollum (R) +7

Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) has the early lead in the race to replace Gov. Charlie Crist (R), who is running for Senate. McCollum leads state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D) by 7 points with more than a fifth of voters undecided, according to a poll released by the Florida Chamber of Commerce (605 LV, MoE +/- 4%). The poll was conducted by Cherry Communications, a GOP-affiliated firm.

McCollum 42
Sink 35
Und 21

Crist still enjoys a 62% job approval rating, though it's down 5 points since August. On health care, 52% said they disapprove of the "Obama supported health care plan" being debated in Congress; it must be noted, though, that 91% of respondents said they have health care, and the health care legislation before Congress is partially meant to insure the uninsured.

In fundraising, Sink doubled McCollum's take in the 3rd quarter, bringing in $1.6 million to McCollum's $853,000.

FL Gov: McCollum +6 In Mason-Dixon Poll

The Florida gubernatorial race is likely to be one of the most-watched in 2010, and it starts now since the party nominees are essentially set -- Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Bill McCollum. A new Mason-Dixon poll finds that it's still a close race.

General Election Matchup
McCollum 41 (-1 from May)
Sink 35 (+1)
Undecided 24 (-2)

But Sink, the state Chief Financial Officer, is unknown to 39 percent of the electorate; only 13 percent were unfamiliar with McCollum, the state Attorney General who has also run for U.S. Senate. Most polls have shown McCollum with a slight lead.

The poll was commissioned by Ron Sachs Communications. The telephone survey of 625 registered voters was conducted June 24-26, and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Florida Poll: Crist Cruising In GOP Primary

A new Mason Dixon poll of Florida voters shows that Gov. Charlie Crist (R) has a solid early lead in the race for his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Republican Primary Matchup
Crist 53
Rubio 18
Undecided 29

Former House Speaker Marco Rubio had announced for the seat prior to Crist, and has much lower name recognition in the Sunshine State. Among likely Republican primary voters, 50 percent had a favorable impression of Crist, compared to 19 percent unfavorable. Rubio's ratio was 20/2, with another 56 percent saying they did not recognize him.

In the Democratic race, Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) maintains an early edge over state Sen. Dan Gelber.

Democratic Primary Matchup
Meek 26
Gelber 16
Undecided 58

In early general election matchups, Crist defeats either Democrat.

General Election Matchup
Crist 55
Meek 24
Undecided 21

Crist 57
Gelber 22
Undecided 21

Each party sample size was 300 likely primary voters, with a margin of error of +/- 6%. The general election matchups are taken from a survey of 625 registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

After the jump, an early look at numbers in the gubernatorial race, with the field only now coming together.

Continue reading "Florida Poll: Crist Cruising In GOP Primary" »

Crist Fallout Continues, As Sink Announces For Governor

Florida's Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink, announced today that she will join what is now an open-seat race for governor. Sink's campaign Web site as recently as yesterday indicated she was planning to seek a second term to her current post, though the switch was not unexpected in the wake of Charlie Crist's decision to run for the U.S. Senate.

In a statement, Sink says she's heard from Floridians that they "need leaders committed to protecting the middle class, strengthening our economy and giving our families a fighting chance. As a businesswoman and working mom, I couldn't agree more."

Sink was elected to the CFO post in 2006, the only Democrat to win a statewide election that year. In her four years Sink says she's seen that "Tallahassee's tired old ways of doing business just aren't enough to answer the urgent new challenges we face. And a state government influenced by narrow special interests cannot put the best interests of everyday Floridians first."

The 60-year-old North Carolina native had previously served as president of Bank of America. Her husband, Bill McBride, lost to incumbent governor Jeb Bush in the 2002 election. An early poll showed her neck-and-neck with Bill McCollum, the state attorney general and a likely candidate for governor in 2010.

DGA Jumps On Crist Senate Announcement

With Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) announcing his bid for the Senate this morning, the Democratic Governors Association has labeled the 2010 gubernatorial election a "top-tier pick-up opportunity."

Democrats held the Tallahassee governor's mansion for much of the 20th Century, but the 21st has so far been dominated by Republicans -- beginning with Jeb Bush's first election in 1998, re-election in 2002 and Crist's 7-point win in 2006. President Obama, though, won Florida by 3 points.

In a press release, the DGA says it's "well-positioned for the 2009 and 2010 election years, having already announced record-breaking fundraising of $5.3 million in the first quarter alone." It also touted a Mason Dixon poll released last month showing Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Bill McCollum in a dead heat -- with 35% for Florida CFO Sink and 36% for Attorney General McCollum, with 29% undecided.

"Democrats have been winning in Florida, and we are committed to seeing a Democrat put the state back on the path to recovery," said DGA Chairman Brian Schweitzer, the governor of Montana. "Strong leaders in the state like Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink give us an excellent opportunity to return this governorship to the Democratic column."

Florida GOP Polls Governor's Race Without Crist

In the surest sign yet that Gov. Charlie Crist will run for the Senate in 2010, the Republican Party of Florida has conducted private polling on how a gubernatorial race would play out without the popular incumbent, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

State Republican Party chair Jim Greer says that Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the likely Democratic candidate in an open-seat gubernatorial race "would be a formidable" candidate. But other Republican candidates -- perhaps Attorney General Bill McCollum or Agriculture Secretary Charles Bronson "would be an equal match-up if not a little bit ahead of the game."

As for Crist:

[Greer] said the Public Opinion Strategies poll showed 74 percent of likely voters approve of Crist's performance - compared to 60 percent for Obama - and 23 percent disapprove, including 40 percent approval from Democrats, 60 percent from independents and 80 percent from Republicans. Whatever office Crist runs for, he leads any primary challenger by 50 points and any general election opponent by at least 30 points, Greer said."