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AP ANALYSIS, RAND SURVEY CONFIRM OBAMA’S POLLING LEAD
If the election were held today, an Associated Press analysis shows Obama would win at least 271 electoral votes, with Ohio and Iowa now among the states he would carry.
“To overtake Obama, Romney would need to quickly gain the upper hand in nearly all of the nine states where he and Obama are competing hardest.”
Additionally, the latest Rand survey — an experimental polling method which uses the same single panel of voters over several months — confirms what nearly every other traditional poll has found: President Obama and Romney were running neck and neck until the Democratic convention and ever since then, Obama has been rising and Romney falling in the poll.
Obama now holds a seven point lead in the Rand survey over Romney, 50% to 43%.
OBAMA HOLDS HUGE LEAD AMONG WOMEN
A new YWCA-sponsored poll finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney among women by a stunning 18 points, 49% to 31%.
GREAT (DEBATE) EXPECTATIONS
>>>A new DNC video makes sure the expectations are high for Mitt Romney as he heads into this week’s presidential debate.
>>>The Obama Campaign says the president “likely won’t be flinging barbs during this week’s presidential debate,” CNN reports.
Likelihood of … Obama winning: 78.5%; Romney winning: 21.4%
Likelihood of … Nelson winning 78.1%; Mack winning: 22.9%
Likelihood of … Obama winning: 83.8%; Romney winning 16.2%
Likelihood of … Democrats keeping the Senate: 78.5%
CONNIE MACK STRUGGLES TO GENERATE INTEREST by Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald
If Republican Connie Mack IV is shouldering the burden of his party’s control of the U.S. Senate, you wouldn’t have known it last week as he finished a six-day bus tour of 17 cities in North and Central Florida.
In 26 stops, Mack drew modest crowds and meager media attention. The steady drip of negative poll numbers had him battling expectations as much as barbs from his challenger, incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. And with about four weeks before early voting begins, the general public still seems ambivalent.
MARCO RUBIO FUNDRAISING FOR MACK TODAY IN TAMPA by William March of the Tampa Tribune
Marco Rubio will spend the day Monday campaigning with Connie Mack, finishing up with a fundraiser in Tampa.
Earlier in the day, Rubio and Mack will do public campaign events at the Versailles restaurant in Miami, a Cuban restaurant that’s a common campaign stop, and at the Villages.
The fundraiser, $1,000 per person or $2,500 for a VIP reception, will be at the Oxford Exchange restaurant downtown.
WHY DEMOCRATS WON’T TAKE BACK THE U.S. HOUSE
Charlie Cook: In the House, we have not yet seen any signs of deterioration for the GOP majority. Even if Democrats were to win every seat currently rated solid Democratic, likely Democratic, or lean Democratic, as well as every toss-up, they would still come up short of a majority. The canaries in the coal mine are GOP seats currently rated as lean Republican or likely Republican. Cook Political Report House Editor David Wasserman points out that with Democrats likely to lose perhaps 10 of their own seats, they would have to gross 35 seats to hit the 25 net seats necessary to win a majority. That’s a very tall order.
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MORE SUSPICIOUS VOTER FORMS ARE FOUND via the New York Times
The number of Florida counties reporting suspicious voter registration forms connected to Strategic Allied Consulting, the firm hired by the state Republican Party to sign up new voters, has grown to 10, officials said, as local election supervisors continue to search their forms for questionable signatures, addresses or other identifiers.
REPUBLICANS PLAY DEFENSE OVER VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD by Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald
It’s such a mess that the Republican Party of Florida has filed an elections complaint against the Strategic Allied Consulting, which then turned around and bashed…. The Republican Party of Florida.
“When the Republican Party of Florida chose to make likely libelous comments about our effort and stated that the Republican National Committee suggested us as the vendor, the RNC was put in the unenviable position of ending a long-term relationship for the sake of staying focused on the election,” a company statement said this week.
“While we wish their comments yesterday would have more accurately addressed the situation, we understand the logic of ending distractions and winning elections. We wish our friends there nothing but success going forward,” the statement said.
The Florida Democratic Party couldn’t have paid for such a result: The RPOF bashing an RNC vendor that turns around and bashes RPOF for slander.
>>>Adam Smith named the RPOF’s Lenny Curry his ‘Loser of the Week in Florida politics.’
BLOG POST OF THE DAY – 2012 SHOULD KILL THE MYTH OF FLORIDA’S SWING VOTERS by Kartik Krishnaiyer
To the extent that swing voters exist in Florida, they vote largely based on personality and other non-issue related reasons. Democrats who continue to advocate a more moderate approach to issues do not understand Florida’s electorate. While moderation may work in suburbs of large Northern and Midwestern cities, or in states where the electorate is overwhelmingly conservative, Florida’s potential Democratic electorate is often concerned about issues such as environmental protection, gun control, and other social issues. The days when Florida voters were obsessed with crime and taxes are long gone, but some Democrats seem to believe the way back to a majority status in the state is to embrace yesterday’s issues.
Florida’s Democrats could advocate a certain brand of economic populism that would appeal to the base of the party while encouraging other Democratically-inclined voters to turn out. But what we have witnessed instead is a party that has promoted candidates tied to the insurance industry, banking sector, and those who oppose strong environmental regulations. Bill Clinton won Florida in 1996 by running aggressively on gun control and environmental protection. Al Gore’s popular economic message resonated with Florida voters in 2000, and Barack Obama, perceived (wrongly perhaps) to be a liberal, carried the state in 2008.
CLERGY TO MARCH AGAINST AMENDMENT 3
A group of clergy, unions and others hold a march and news conference to announce their opposition to a property tax cutting proposal on the November ballot, Amendment 3. They say it will force local communities to cut vital services to children, the poor and the elderly. The group will march from Bethel Missionary Baptist Church to the Capitol for a news conference.
FIREFIGHTER, POLICE UNIONS TO OPPOSE “POLITICAL ATTACKS ON FLORIDA SUPREME COURT” by Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union
The Florida State Fraternal Order of Police and Florida Professional Fire Fighters are holding a conference call today to officially oppose “political attacks on the Florida Supreme Court.”
“The two organizations representing Florida’s police officers and fire fighters, respectively, are disappointed by this unprecedented attempt by a political party to oust Supreme Court justices in order to push a political agenda,” reads a release.
PUSH-BACK TO THE PUSH-BACK AGAINST AMENDMENT 4
Ben Fairbrother, who is managing the “Yes on Amendment 4” campaign, emails a little push-back against the criticism being leveled against the initiative. “When Florida TaxWatch, one of our state’s most respected nonpartisan watchdog groups, conducted an honest, comprehensive analysis of Amendment 4, they found that Amendment 4 will create around 20,000 jobs and put more money back into the pockets of taxpayers,” writes Fairbrother. “Amendment 4 absolutely does not require cities or counties to raise taxes. Any politician who says Amendment 4 will cause higher taxes is not conducting an analysis. They are making a threat to raise taxes on Florida taxpayers in order to influence an election. Florida taxpayers deserve better from their elected officials.”
ARE CITY OFFICIALS FIGHTING AMENDMENT 4 ON TAXPAYERS DIME? by Eric Giunta of Sunshine State News
The Florida League of Cities hosted a Web-based seminar (or “webinar”) on Amendment 4 educating members on what they believe its deleterious effects will be on the state tax system and city revenues, and possible burdens on some taxpayers. The League joins the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) in opposing the amendment, and a segment of the webinar was devoted to outlining a 10-step “action plan” for city officials to encourage citizens to cast a “No” vote against it. Two of the steps are raising eyebrows in some quarters:
- “Step 7: Talk about this issue on your local city access channel, local public affairs television show, and in your city’s newsletter.”
- “Step 8: Communicate this information on your website or via utility [bill] stuffers.”
CONGRESSIONAL RANKINGS via the Political Hurricane
This week we move CD-26 into the “toss-up” column thanks to the continued bad press and scandal following Republican incumbent David Rivera. Additionally, two polls have been released in the last week showing Democratic challenger Joe Garcia in the lead. However, a word of caution about these polls and this district. This is the third consecutive election where Garcia is the Democratic nominee and in the two previous elections his polling numbers even in public non-partisan polls were ahead of his final election tally.
Of course those races were under different circumstances, but while polling shows Democrats competitive in District 26 at the top of the ticket as well, we believe these polls must be viewed in historical context. Rivera is in a bad spot right now, but the election is still more than a month away … At this moment in time, we still believe Rivera has a 50-50 shot to be reelected even though he is already being written off by many.
VERN BUCHANAN MUST GIVE UP $84K IN CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS by Jeremy Wallace of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
The U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday that one of Buchanan’s top past donors pleaded guilty to funneling $84,300 in illegal donations from his businesses and family members to Buchanan’s campaigns. While the Justice Department did not charge Buchanan with any crime, his campaign is still expected to give up the donations by paying an equivalent amount to the U.S. Treasury.
NEW POLL SHOWS PATRICK MURPHY LEADING ALLEN WEST 49% TO 45%
A poll released by Kimball Political Consulting on Sunday afternoon shows Democrat Patrick Murphy leading Republican incumbent Allen West 49 to 45 percent among likely voters in Florida’s 18th Congressional district.
Weighing down West’s numbers is an upside-down approval rating. 42% of respondents had a favorable impression of West, while 51% had a negative one. Murphy is buoyed by a 45%/37% favorability ratio.
“Given the barrage of negative and untrue attacks launched by Congressman West against Patrick Murphy, this independently conducted poll shows that the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches have had enough of West’s extreme antics,” said Murphy for Congress communications director Erin Moffet. “These numbers show that Allen West is in real trouble, and that Patrick Murphy has the numbers and the support to beat him.”
>>>A look at the partisan breakdown in the poll raises some questions, notes one Republican operative not connected to West’s campaign. “Their sample was based on voter registration at 44 Democrat and 33 Republican,” writes the tipster. “CD 18, at the primary book close, is 38.5 Republican and 36.2 Democrat.”
GOP POLL: JOE GARCIA 43%, DAVID RIVERA 33% via Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald
Two separate polls from Republican and Democratic third-party groups have arrived at the same conclusion: Republican U.S. Rep. David Rivera is losing his reelection effort.
Rivera trails Democratic challenger Joe Garcia by 9 percentage points in a Democratic poll and he’s behind by 10 points in the Republican survey — just outside the poll’s error margin. Rivera’s campaign has produced its own survey showing he has an inside-the-error margin lead of 4 points.
The Republican survey is the newest and most eye-opening because it was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday by a top-flight GOP polling firm with vast experience in Florida: McLaughlin & Associates.
TWEET OF THE DAY: @RogerJStoneJr: Pollster Jim Mclaugnlin says Corrupt huckster Congressman David Rivera up 4 % –My ass!
SHOCKING — DENISE GRIMSELY, DON GAETZ TOP SENATE FUNDRAISERS
House Appropriations Chairwoman Denise Grimsley raised $60,550 between Aug. 10 and Sept. 14, giving her an overall total of $833,081 as she runs in Senate District 21, new campaign-finance records show.
Grimsley, whose Democratic opponent Stacy Anderson McCland has raised a total of $6,060, is the top fund-raiser among all Senate candidates. Next closest is incoming Senate President Don Gaet who has raised a total of $691,300 for his race against no-party candidate Richard Harrison.
The top fund-raiser during the most-recent period was Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff who brought in $94,841 for her race against Sen. Maria Sachs in District 34. Sachs collected $63,866 during the period.
MIKE LA ROSA REPLACES MIKE HORNER (BUT NOT ON THE BALLOT) IN HD 42
GOP leaders on Saturday announced that real-estate professional Mike La Rosa will replace Representative Mike Horner, the Republican who exited the race after being named in a prostitution case.
La Rosa, a native Floridian who has lived in Celebration for five years, will run in place of Horner for the Florida House District 42, which straddles Osceola and Polk counties and includes St.Cloud, Lake Wales and Frostproof.
Born and raised in Miami, La Rosa is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.
La Rosa will face Democrat Eileen Game, a Polk County business owner and political newcomer, in the Nov. 6 election. However, the Republican candidate’s name will not appear on the ballot because, under state law, Horner’s name must remain.
SPOTTED: Representative-elect Charlie Stone canvassing for HD 49 candidate Marco Pena.
WHAT THE FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY WILL BE PUSHING TODAY – The Orlando Sentinel‘s Scott Maxwell’s op-ed: “More embarrassments for (Chris) Dorworth — time for a new speaker“
Republicans can do better.
Is Fresen, the South Florida Republican, the man who should replace Dorworth? I don’t know. I’ve seen stories that raise questions about Fresen’s finances, too. But I like that he’s focused on serious, important policy.
Maybe there’s another reliable Republican — such as Clay Ford, a U.S. Army veteran from the Panhandle, or Matt Hudson, a real-estate exec from Naples.
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BAR ADMISSION FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT IN COURT THIS WEEK
The Florida Supreme Court next week will hear oral arguments in the case of Jose Godinez-Samperio, an undocumented immigrant seeking admission to the Bar. The Florida Board of Bar Examiners is asking the Supreme Court whether undocumented immigrants are eligible to practice law. Godinez-Samperio was brought to the United States at age nine by his parents, graduated from law school, and passed the bar exam. The case has been closely watched by immigrant advocates nationwide. Arguments in the case are scheduled for Tuesday.
FDLE ARRESTS FORMER AIDE TO REP. CAMPBELL
A former secretary for Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, has been arrested by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for defrauding some of the lawmaker’s constituents. Janice Shackelford, 49, was charged with one count of organized fraud, five counts of unlawful compensation and three counts of official misconduct, according to FDLE. The agency says Shackelford would charge constituents up to $1,110 to help them with legal issues, setting up fake court dates for them. At least 10 people lost about $5,400, FLDE said.
>>>A debate continues over who should get Florida’s Bright Futures scholarships, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.
>>>Florida’s school districts grapple with K12 Inc.’s applicationsfor virtual charter schools, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting reports.
>>>Secretary of State Ken Detzner, former Ambassador Andrew Young, and others attend a summit on the upcoming 500-year anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine.
ST. PETERSBURG’S SEMBLER FAMILY BANKROLLING OPPOSITION TO COLORADO AMENDMENT 64 TO LEGALIZE POT
Save Our Society from Drugs, a Florida-based nonprofit founded by Mel and Betty Sembler, has given Smart Colorado contributions totaling $151,497 through September, according to a review of state campaign finance disclosures. That’s 95 percent of the money raised by the group so far.
25 UNFORGETTABLE CAMPAIGN ADS: As 2012 campaigns across the country wind down, here’s a look at the 25 most memorable — funny, original or downright weird — non-presidential ads of the cycle.
E-MAILS I DIDN’T OPEN: Any of the fundraising appeals from Lois Frankel, also “Author to Describe Obama’s Corruption Monday Night” from United Conservative Groups”
ENGAGED: The Associated Press’ man in the Sunshine State, Brendan Farrington to Amy Peloquin. “Amy and I got engaged last night at a Stars concert, a band we love and during a song about love,” writes Farrington. “It was followed by surprise champagne and flowers back at our Atlanta hotel. We’re incredible happy, we feel blessed and we thank all of you for your likes and comments.”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Ryan Banfill and Danielle Ochoa. A belated wish to Senator Bill Nelson.
MUST-READ: The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don’t by Nate Silver. “I kind of realized after writing this book that I don’t particularly like politics that much. I definitely like elections, as they’re fun to forecast and to watch evolve, but I don’t particularly like the day to day of politics or some of the people who end up getting involved.”