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More thoughts on PPP poll: The biggest threat to Democrats is not angry voters but apathy within party base

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More thoughts on the Public Policy Poll: Our polling is continuing to indicate that the biggest threat to Democrats this year is not angry voters going over to the Republicans, but apathy within the party base. The Florida Senate race is a good example of this.

We find that only 8% of people who voted for Barack Obama in Florida are planning to cross over and support Marco Rubio this year. That is actually smaller than the 11% of John McCain voters who Kendrick Meek is winning.

Rubio is ahead anyway for two reasons. First, those polled report having voted for McCain by a margin of 4 points in 2008 when Barack Obama won the state by 3. That 7 point shift in who’s planning to vote this year is similar to what we found for the recent elections in New Jersey and Massachusetts (there was a much larger Democratic turnout drop off in Virginia.)

The other reason Rubio’s ahead is that McCain voters are more excited about him so far than Obama’s voters are about Meek. 23% of Obama voters are undecided compared to 13% of McCain voters. That’s really not a problem for Meek at this point more than seven months away from the election- the Crist/Rubio feud has been sucking all the air out of the race and really the best thing for Meek’s chances at this point is for the Crist collapse to continue.

Floridians who voted Democratic in 2008 are not abandoning the party, but do need to be reenergized. That’s a lot easier said than done and it hasn’t happened in the last few major races. But if the electorate that shows up this fall mirrors the folks who came out last time Meek will probably win.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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