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Today on Context Florida: Marco Rubio, education bang-for-buck, unlikely alliances, OMG moments and the Salt Shaker Test

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Today on Context Florida:

Marco Rubio poses as a national security expert. Perhaps among the Republican contenders, he’s the closest thing they’ve got. In which case, Jac VerSteeg says, God help us all. A Washington Post story over the weekend indicates that Rubio’s interest in national security was just a pose from the beginning. As a rising star in the Florida House, Rubio lobbied hard for a spot on an elite committee to frame the state’s response to 9/11. Then, “He skipped nearly half of the meetings over the first five months of the panel’s existence.”

William Mattox reports on a team of scholars from Stanford, Harvard, and the University of Munich recently made a startling discovery: Florida delivers better bang-for-buck in K-12 education than any other state in the nation. And, Mattox adds, it isn’t even close.

Sometimes during Legislative Sessions, some unusual partnerships develop. Unlikely alliances can form to pass or defeat a measure that fits a common goal. Bob Sparks says Florida has provided a prime example of such teamwork. The philosophy of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” syndrome has played out in the area of economic incentives. House Bill 1325, simply titled “Economic Development,” is the cause of back and forth between legislators, as well as between the executive branch and lobbyists. There is bipartisan support for and bipartisan opposition to this contentious bill.

According to Linda Grist Cunningham, the OMG moment was talked among the scone recipe, the adorable kitten video and the wingnut screeds in my Facebook feed. There it was: The account of Gloria Steinem’s and Madeleine Albright’s speculations that today’s young women were failing to show up for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton because (a) they’d rather be where the boys were (Steinem); and, (b) they needed to get behind a woman candidate or face a special place in hell (Albright). OMG. What were these icons of women power thinking when they dissed Millennial and baby Xer women?

Steve Vancore says that Quinnipiac’s latest poll is a good one, but with a slight methodology problem that could favor Donald Trump. What did the survey find? It found Trump nearly lapping what is left of the field and is 16-points ahead of the second closest candidate, Marco Rubio. If accurate (and we know the race will change between now and March 15); this could spell serious trouble for anyone hoping to challenge the front-runner. Vancore breaks out the salt shaker and evaluates the latest offering.

Next, Vancore takes the Salt Shaker to the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) poll released with similar — but different — findings. What’s different? Notably, in the Q-Pac poll, Donald Trump leads by an eye-popping 16 points over Marco Rubio, while in the AIF poll, Trump still leads, but by a more manageable 7 points. Why the difference? As we noted in the earlier salt shaker analysis of the Quinnipiac poll, that poll asked randomly dialed participants to self-identify as likely Republican voters.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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