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RealClearPolitics Politics Nation Blog

 

Blog Home Page --> House -- Florida -- 25

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" »

FL 25: M. Diaz-Balart (R) +3

Like his brother, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is facing the toughest election of his congressional career. A Research 2000/DailyKos poll of 400 likely voters was conducted 10/20-22 for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. Diaz-Balart and Joe Garcia, the former Miami-Dade Democratic Party chairman, were tested.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
M. Diaz-Balart (R)...46 / 10 / 82 / 41 / 49 / 43
Garcia (D)..........43 / 86 / 7 / 42 / 39 / 47

Garcia has outraised Diaz-Balart in a few recent FEC reporting periods, but the incumbent Republican still had more than $800,000 on October 15, four times what his Democratic opponent had. By Oct. 15, Diaz-Balart had already spent double what he did in 2006.

FL 25: MDB (R) +3

Political consultant Joe Garcia is creeping up on Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, according to a poll for Garcia's campaign. The Hamilton Campaigns poll surveyed 500 likely voters for a margin of error of +/- 4.4%, testing Diaz-Balart and Garcia.

General Election Matchup
Diaz-Balart....45 (-10 from last, 7/13)
Garcia.........42 (+9)

Garcia may be Democrats' best hope of picking up one of the three South Florida seats the party is strongly contesting.

FL 18, 21, 25: GOP Leads

Time to debunk the myth of the Cuban voter flocking to the Democratic Party. The GOP still has a solid grasp on Cuban-Americans, but the rise to power of non-Cuban Hispanics could dramatically alter the South Florida political landscape in coming years. New independent polls of three majority-Hispanic districts in South Florida show that tipping point isn't quite here yet.

The polls, conducted by the McDonald Group for Telemundo 51 in Miami, surveyed 300 voters per district between 9/27-10/1 for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. In the state's Eighteenth District, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo were tested. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and the former Democratic mayor of Hialeah, Raul Martinez, were tested in the Twenty-First District. And Twenty-Fifth District Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart was tested against former Miami-Dade County Democratic chairman Joe Garcia.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Cub / His / Oth)
Eighteenth District
Ros-Lehtinen......48
Taddeo...............35

Twenty-First District
L. Diaz-Balart.....48 / 8 / 89 / 32 / 61 / 37 / 39
Martinez.............43 / 83 / 4 / 51 / 30 / 53 / 47

Twenty-Fifth District
M. Diaz-Balart....43 / 7 / 82 / 38 / 59 / 36 / 37
Garcia................41 / 81 / 3 / 44 / 30 / 49 / 41

(Note: "Cub" is Cuban voters. "His" is non-Cuban Hispanic voters. "Oth" is all other races. Full results for the Eighteenth District will be released on tonight's newscast)

Cuban voters still overwhelmingly favor Republicans, but other Hispanic voters are helping Democrats make up the difference.

FL Brothers In Trouble

Two top Democratic targets could be in serious trouble, a new poll conducted by a Democratic-leaning firm shows. And the fact that both districts, represented by Republican brothers Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, are majority Cuban suggests yet another historically Republican voting bloc could be ready to shift their alliances toward the Democratic Party.

The survey, conducted by Bendixen & Associates, polled 350 voters in Florida's Eighteenth, Twenty-First and Twenty-Fifth Districts 6/6-22, an admittedly long time to conduct such small surveys. The margin of error on the poll was +/- 5%. In the Eighteenth, Bendixen tested Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen against businesswoman Annette Taddeo; in the Twenty-First, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez were tested; and in the Twenty-Fifth, the pollsters asked about Mario Diaz-Balart and former Miami-Dade Country Democratic chairman Joe Garcia.

General Election Matchups
Ros-Lehtinen......58
Taddeo...............31

L. Diaz-Balart......41
Martinez..............37

M. Diaz-Balart......44
Garcia..................39

That two incumbents who have historically won by such wide margins -- Lincoln's 59% and Mario's 58% in 2006 were their lowest performances of their careers -- are in trouble speaks volumes about the trouble Republicans are in. Both districts are dominated by Cubans; the Twenty First, east of Miami stretching from Pembroke Pines to south of Hialeah, is 70% Hispanic, and the Twenty Fifth, which contains most of Miami-Dade County and two other counties farther east, is 62% Hispanic.

Democrats are thrilled with both of their candidates, each of whom have been named to the party's Red to Blue program. The new opportunities for the party to appeal to Cuban voters, who have cast reliably Republican ballots since the 1960s, open up all three southern Florida seats to Democrats. Still, Ros-Lehtinen's Eighteenth District, which contains much of Miami south through the Florida Keys, looks safer for Republicans.

Republicans have already pointed out that Bendixen & Associates is a firm affiliated with Democratic candidates. That's true; the pollster worked for Hillary Clinton's campaign during the primaries, though they are not working for any of the candidates running this year. It's a well-respected firm, though, and has a reputation for specializing in polling Hispanic voters.

David Hill, a prominent Republican pollster who deals with both Diaz-Balarts, told McClatchy that his polls show Lincoln leading Martinez by twelve points, while Mario's campaign manager said it was "comforting" that his candidate led even in a Democratic-leaning poll. National Republicans have added both incumbents to their Regain Our Majority Program, and they have more cash on hand than their challengers. Still, it's not a race either should, or will, take lightly.