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New Florida poll shows Marco Rubio at 50%, Patrick Murphy at 43%

Sen. Marco Rubio has a big lead over Rep. Patrick Murphy in Florida’s U.S. Senate race.

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Rubio leads Murphy, 50 percent to 43 percent. The poll found 7 percent of respondents said they were either voting for someone else or didn’t know.

The latest poll of 884 likely Florida voters was conducted from Nov. 3 through Nov. 6. It has a margin of error of 3.3 percent.

Rubio has the backing of 93 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of independent voters, and 8 percent of Democrats. The survey found 48 percent of respondents who said they already voted backed Rubio, compared to 46 percent who said they voted for Murphy.

Murphy has the backing of 88 percent of Democrats, 39 percent of independents, and 3 percent of Republicans.

The Miami Republican has led in nearly every poll since he announced he was running for re-election in June. Three polls conducted since June 25 showed the two men tied, according to RealClearPolitics. Rubio led in all of the other polls used by RealClearPolitics to calculate the polling average.

In Central Florida, Barack Obama says justice, fairness, environment, Civil Rights all on the ballot

Making one last plea for Florida to support Democrat Hillary Clinton and validate his own legacy, President Barack Obama told a big, boisterous crowd in Kissimmee Sunday that democracy itself is on Tuesday’s ballot.

Obama made it clear that all Democratic Party priorities and his own legacy are to be judged in the election.

“You have proof that your vote matters. And I’m not going to be on the ballot this time. But everything we’ve done is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Fairness is on the ballot. Looking out for working people is on the ballot. Higher wages is on the ballot. Protecting the environment is on the ballot. Treating people fairly is on the ballot. Civil Rights is on the ballot,” Obama said. “Our democracy is on the ballot!”

Obama’s second speech in the greater Orlando area in nine days followed a 18-minute warm-up show by R&B legend Stevie Wonder, who energized the crowd by debuting a song he said he wrote Saturday night for Hillary Clinton, plus several of his biggest hits, including “Superstition” and “Sunshine of My Life.”

Obama’s motorcade did not arrive at Osceola Heritage Park Stadium until after Wonder left the stage, so he missed the show. But he met an excited crowd reported in the range of 11,000, filling most of the grandstands at the minor league baseball park, plus most of the infield.

While Obama spoke highly of Clinton and of Florida Democrat’s U.S. Senate nominee U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, he spent most of his 30-minute speech at least indirectly attacking Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

“On the one hand you have someone who may be the most qualified person to ever run for the presidency. On the other hand, you’ve got The Donald,” Obama said. “There is a reason that so many Republicans,, so many conservatives,, have denounced Donald Trump,, even if sometimes they said, ‘well we’re going to vote for him anyway.’ That is because Donald Trump is uniquely unqualified to be president, temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief.

“We cannot have a commander in chief who suggests it’s OK to torture people, or to ban entire religions from our country, or insults POWs, or attacks Gold Star moms, or talks down our troops,” Obama said.

Obama drew on a news report Sunday that Trump’s campaign had banned him from tweeting, for fear he might tweet something so outrageous in the last two days of the campaign that he could cost himself votes. So Obama ridiculed Trump for his apparent lack of self control.

“I just read, apparently his campaign has taken away his Twitter. In the last two days they had so little confidence in his self control, so they just said, ‘We’re going to take away your Twitter.’ Now, if somebody can’t handle a Twitter account, they can’t handle a nuclear code.”

Otherwise, Obama’s speech was very similar to the one he delivered at the University of Central Florida on Oct. 29, showing a new-found confidence buoyed by his strong rise in public opinion polls, expressing pride in his accomplishments, and assuring the crowd that Clinton, and only Clinton, would carry them forward.

Only now Obama expressed a greater sense of urgency, considering that Clinton’s solid-looking lead of late October has largely vanished in many polls, and Election Day is nearly here.

“Two days Florida. Two days to decide the future of this country,” Obama said. “And I need you to go vote. I need your help to help finish what we started eight years ago.

Joe Biden, Jimmy Buffett to hold GOTV rally in St. Petersburg on Monday

Jimmy Buffett has a message for Floridians: Get out and vote.

Buffett is scheduled to perform at a get out the vote rally for Democrats Hillary Clinton, Patrick Murphy, and Charlie Crist on Monday. The Florida music icon will be joined by Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife. The event comes just one day before Election Day, and is meant to encourage voters to get to the polls.

Murphy and Crist are also expected to attend. Murphy faces Sen. Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate race, and trails Rubio in the polls an average of 3.2 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics. Crist, the former governor of Florida, is hoping to unseat Rep. David Jolly in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

The addition of the Bidens to the roster shows just how important Florida is to the presidential race. Clinton has an average lead of 1 percentage point over Donald Trump in the Sunshine State, according to RealClearPolitics. The margin isn’t much larger nationwide, where RealClearPolitics shows she has an average lead of 1.8 percentage points.

The vice president and his wife will attend a rally at 1:15 p.m. at Florida A&M University, 1668 South Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Tallahassee before heading to St. Petersburg.

Buffett is expected to perform a short set of songs with Country Music Musician of the Year Mac McAnally. The event is schedule for 5 p.m. at Albert Whitted Park, 480 Bayshore Drive SE in St. Petersburg. The event is free, but tickets are required.

Marco Rubio makes closing argument in new TV ad

Sen. Marco Rubio is making his closing arguments in his final TV spot.

According to the Rubio campaign, 30-second spot, called “Debt,” is meant to discuss each generation’s “debt and duty to the next.

“America is the greatest country in the world, and keeping it that way is every generation’s debt to the next,” he says in the advertisement. “Today, our country is more divided than ever and our challenges are growing more grave, threatening who we are and everything we hope to be.”

He goes on to say the upcoming election “is about the future, and about keeping America the one place in the world where any dream can still come true.”

Rubio faces Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Nov. 8 general election. The Miami Republican has led in almost every poll since announcing his re-election bid. According to RealClearPolitics, he has an average 3.2 percentage point lead over Murphy.

Rubio is hitting the trail this weekend to rally support in the final weekend of early voting. He is expected to attend three get out the vote events Saturday, starting the day with a rally at the Sandshaker Lounge in Gulf Breeze. From there, he’ll attend a rally at RV Connections at Panama City, before wrapping up his North Florida swing at the Republican Party of Florida’s Jacksonville Beach Victory Office.

More than 5.7 million Floridians have already voted, according to the state Division of Elections. State records show nearly 2.3 million Democrats and nearly 2.3 million Republicans have voted by mail or in person during the early voting period. Democrats have edged out Republicans on early vote totals by a margin of more than 7,000 votes.

Marco Rubio has a 6-point lead over Patrick Murphy in new Florida poll

Another day, another poll showing Sen. Marco Rubio ahead in the Sunshine State’s U.S. Senate race.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows Rubio has a 6 percentage point lead over Rep. Patrick Murphy. According to the poll, 50 percent of respondents backed Rubio, compared to 44 percent for Murphy. Five percent of voters said they either didn’t know who they were voting for or were voting for someone else.

The poll of 626 likely Florida voters has a margin of error of 3.9 percent.

The new Quinnipiac University poll found Rubio has support from 54 percent of independent voters and 87 percent of Republicans. He also leads among white voters with a college degree (56 percent-40 percent) and without a college degree (59 percent-35 percent).

Murphy, the poll found, is supported by 59 percent of non-white voters. He also has the backing of 83 percent of Democrats and 38 percent of Republicans.

“Candidates with a 16-point lead among independent voters rarely lose, and Sen. Rubio, who has that edge over Rep. Patrick Murphy, appears to be pulling away from the challenger,” said Peter A. Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a statement. “But anything is possible.”

Murphy does appear to have an edge among those respondents who voted early. According to the poll, 50 percent of respondents who said they voted early backed Murphy, compared to 45 percent who picked Rubio.

The Miami Republican has led in nearly every poll since he announced he was running for re-election in June. Three polls conducted since June 25 showed the two men tied, according to RealClearPolitics. Rubio led in all of the other polls used by RealClearPolitics to calculate the polling average.

Florida poll: Hillary Clinton at 49%, Donald Trump at 47%

With less than a week until the election, the race in Florida remains tight.

A new CNN/ORC poll found Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are essentially tied in Florida. The poll found 49 percent of likely Florida voters said they were backing Clinton, while 47 percent said they supported Trump. Libertarian Gary Johnson received 3 percent support, while 1 percent said they backed Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

The poll of 773 likely voters has a margin of 3.5 percent.

Clinton received support from 73 percent of non-white voters and 34 percent of white voters. She also saw support from 39 percent of independent voters, and 58 percent of voters who identified as moderates.

The poll found 65 percent of white men and 54 percent of white women said they backed Trump. He also received support from 63 percent of white voters without a college degree.

The CNN/ORC poll showed Sen. Marco Rubio’s lead over Rep. Patrick Murphy appears to be narrowing. The poll showed 49 percent of voters back Rubio, while 48 percent back Murphy.

Report: FBI investigating donor scheme tied to Patrick Murphy

The FBI is investigating an alleged illegal donation scheme involving Rep. Patrick Murphy, according to a new report.

The Hill reported Tuesday that FBI is investigating a scheme involving a wealthy Saudi family that supports Murphy. According to the report, the Hill found no evidence Murphy was involved in the alleged scheme, and the campaign declined to say whether he was aware of the probe.

“This complaint was written by a Republican super PAC willing to say anything to elect Marco Rubio,” said Murphy campaign spokesman Joshua Karp told The Hill. “Neither Patrick nor any current or past employees have ever been contacted regarding this matter, and we are confident an examination of the facts will result in its dismissal.”

According to The Hill, the investigation goes back to Murphy’s first congressional run in 2012. The claim, originally made by the Senate Leadership Fund, is that Ibrahim Al-Rashid, a friend of Murphy’s and political donor, coordinated a straw donor scheme to help Murphy.

The super PAC filed a complaint in June with the Federal Election Commission. According to The Hill, the complaint alleged 11 donors participated in a scheme to funnel contributions to Murphy.

Murphy is running against Sen. Marco Rubio in the state’s contentious U.S. Senate race. Rubio currently has an average 5.6 percentage point lead over Murphy, according to RealClearPolitics.

New Florida poll: 28% of registered Republicans who already cast ballots voted for Hillary Clinton

It’s an admittedly small sample, but a new poll shows that among the early and mail-in vote in Florida, 28 percent of registered Republicans already voted for Hillary Clinton.

Conversely, only 6 percent of registered Democrats have voted for Donald Trump.

That’s according to a TargetSmart/William & Mary survey. It also shows that with a week before the election, Clinton leads Trump 48 to 40 percent. That’s a dramatic contrast to several recent polls putting the race much closer. 

The RealClearPolitics average in Florida now favors Trump by one percentage point.

Clinton’s lead increases to 55-37 percent among those who said they have already voted.

The survey reached 311 respondents who voted early in the 2016 general election, either absentee, by mail or in-person, according to data from Florida’s secretary of state that was matched back to the TargetSmart voter file.

The survey reached 407 respondents who had NOT voted early in the 2016 general election, either absentee, by mail or in-person, using data from the Florida secretary of state that was cross-matched with the TargetSmart voter files.

Complete poll results are scheduled to be released later Wednesday.

The poll shows Marco Rubio leading Patrick Murphy in the U.S. Senate race, 49 percent to 43 percent. Among early voters, Rubio has a much bigger lead, 51 percent to 39 percent.

As of early Wednesday morning, 1.79 million Republicans have voted, as well as 1.77 million Democrats.

Joni Ernst-affiliated PAC gives $5K to Brian Mast in CD 18

Brian Mast, the Republican candidate in Florida’s 18th Congressional District, reported $8,700 in contributions in a new filing with the Federal Election Commission Monday, including $5,000 from a committee backing Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst.

Mast is running against self-funding Democrat Randy Perkins for the seat currently held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who is running for Marco Rubio’s Senate seat.

Ernst, elected in 2014, has become a major player in GOP politics and is best known for her annual “Roast and Ride,” a fundraising event she hosts alongside other Republican politicians which includes a motorcycle parade.

Last week, Mast reported about $95,000 in new contributions in FEC filings, and through Oct. 19 he had raised about $2.3 million and had about $400,000 on hand.

Perkins had raised more than $8.5 million through Oct. 19, though only about $685,000 of that money has come from individual contributors.

Bob Graham announces his support for fellow Democrat Bob Buesing’s state Senate bid

With just eight days to go before the voting ends in Florida, state Senate District 18 Democratic hopeful Bob Buesing received some welcome news Monday when former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham endorsed him.

“Bob Buesing is the right person to work across the aisle to address Florida’s challenges and get things done for the people of Senate District 18 in Tallahassee,” said Graham in a statement issued by the Buesing campaign early Monday. “I’m endorsing Bob because he’ll be a fresh voice in Tallahassee dedicated to protecting our environment and drinking water, strengthening our public schools, and providing innovative new ideas to grow good jobs here at home in Florida. The people of Hillsborough County can count on Bob Buesing to always put their interests first.”

“I am deeply honored to have earned the endorsement of former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham,” said Buesing. “Gov. Graham’s legacy of service to our state is a testament to all that can be accomplished when you prioritize the needs of the people you are elected to serve and work together across party lines. I am proud to share Sen. Graham’s dedication to putting people first and I will look to his example as a member of the Florida Senate.”

The endorsement from the 79-year-old Democratic icon (who turns 80 next week) could be a boost for Buesing, who is still relatively unknown in local politics as he attempts to defeat Republican Dana Young in the Senate race. Buesing is also being squeezed by progressive icon Joe Redner, a former Democrat turned independent who is polling in double figures in the contest.

Unlike President Obama, who endorsed a number of Florida Democrats running for state legislative seats earlier this month, Graham has been very selective in terms of his endorsements.

In addition to backing Hillary Clinton and Patrick Murphy in the high-profile races for president and U.S. Senate, the only other state legislative Democrat Graham has endorsed this cycle has been Ben Diamond, running in the Pinellas County House District 68 race against Republican JB Benshimen. 

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