A new Survey USA poll in Florida finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney by five points in the important battleground state, 48% to 43%. However, in the U.S. Senate race, Rep. Connie Mack leads Sen. Bill Nelson by six points, 48% to 42%.
Marc Caputo finds the latest poll numbers odd: "What makes the results stand out so much is that they're counterintuitive. Sure, the leads of Obama and Mack are within the poll's 3.9% error margin. But in almost every presidential-race year where there's a Senate candidate, the fates of the Republican candidate is tethered to the GOP candidate and the fate of the Democrats are similarly tied."
Adam Smith explains why Florida is tougher sell for Obama than four years ago: Practically every week, Floridians receive visits from the president, the vice president, the first lady or some other top surrogate for the administration. There's good reason for it. "When he shows up somewhere, he always leaves more popular than he was before he showed up. It really is the power of incumbency," said Democratic pollster Dave Beattie.
Polls break for the challenger, right? Not necessarily argues Nate Silver: "There are certainly some good reasons to think that the polls could break toward Mitt Romney. For instance, many polls out now were conducted among registered voters; when pollsters switch over to likely voter polls instead -- which assess each voter's probability of actually casting a ballot on Nov. 6 -- it is likely that Mr. Romney will gain a point or two. And Barack Obama obviously has a lot of weight to bear from the lukewarm economic recovery. But one hypothesis you should find less persuasive is the notion that the polls will break toward Mr. Romney just because he is the challenger. It is often asserted that this is the case -- that the polls move toward the 'out-party' candidate rather than the incumbent. But in my view the empirical evidence -- although it is somewhat ambiguous -- mostly argues against this idea."
Biden to Visit Florida for Police Convention
Vice President Joe Biden will address the National Association of Police Organizations as it holds its annual convention in Palm Beach.
U.S. Senate Candidate Weldon Endorsed by Pro-Life Conservative
John Stemberger, one of the leading pro-life, pro-family conservatives in Florida endorsed Dave Weldon in Florida's U.S. Senate race.
"Dave Weldon is solid as a rock. A smart, reliable and proven leader, he is a true principled conservative. Weldon is a trustworthy physician and father, and as a former congressman has a proven voting record as a social and economic conservative. This is a man who will not embarrass us in his personal life and who will respect the base and principles of the Republican Party. America needs leaders like Dave Weldon; he is worthy of our support for U.S. Senate," said Stemberger.
George W. Bush a No Show at RNC in Tampa
Former President George W. Bush will not attend the Republican convention next month in Tampa, Politico reports.
Said a spokesman: "President Bush was grateful for the invitation to the Republican National Convention. He supports Governor Romney and wants him to succeed. President Bush is confident that Mitt Romney will be a great President. But he's still enjoying his time off the political stage and respectfully declined the invitation to go to Tampa."
Is Charlie Crist the Comeback Kid?
An eyebrow-raising Washington Post op-ed written by Charlie Crist is renewing speculation that the former Florida GOP governor isn’t quite done with politics. ... Crist rates among the nation’s most durable and ambitious politicians, at once transparent and inscrutable, and the arc of his career has taken him from landslide defeat to the prospect of national office.
Now an independent after switching parties in 2010, Crist writes:
[I]’m concerned that zealots overreacting to contrived threats of voter fraud by significantly narrowing the voting pool are doing so with brazen disrespect and disregard for our greatest traditions.
As a result of insidious political maneuvers and a lack of respect for voters, we in Florida have been entangled in litigation.
By zealots, Crist is referring to his former colleagues in the GOP and his successor as governor, Republican Rick Scott. ... The Miami Herald saw the sharply worded op-ed as “another sign [Crist] is moving to the Democratic Party.” The Tampa Bay Times viewed it as “the latest hint” that Crist may be readying for a Democratic run for governor in 2014.
TWEET OF THE DAY: @lennycurry: The 2 faces of Charlie Crist. One is what he says, one is what he does. Stay tuned. #Sayfie #RPOF
Did Dems Tie Up Millions GOP Rivals Might Have Used
State Democrats paid qualifying fees for nine candidates to run — at least on paper — against Republicans that otherwise would have been unopposed.
Because an unopposed candidate can give campaign cash back to a state or local party, the Senate Democrats’ strategy ties up potentially millions the state GOP could have used during the current election cycle.
“We would have sent about $2 million back to the party, so, I guess, it was a good move by Chris Smith,” said state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine and one of those affected.
Associated Industries PAC Takes Sides in Senate Races
On Friday, the Associated Industries of Florida Political Action Committee (AIFPAC) took sides in nine state Senate races, including wading into some competitive primaries.
AIF is backing former Senate President Tom Lee over Rep. Rachel Burgin in one of the more divisive Republican legislative primaries in the state. AIF endorsed Victoria Siplin in the Democratic primary for an open seat in Central Florida over Rep. Geri Thompson.
The group is also backing Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff over Maria Sachs in a general election matchup pitting two incumbents against each other. Three other incumbents seeking re-election --Thad Altman, Jeremy Ring and David Simmons -- also got AIF’s support on Friday.
Other candidates who won AIF’s backing on Friday were three members of the Florida House looking to move to the Senate -- Joe Abruzzo, Denise Grimsley and Dorothy Hukill.
TAMPA BAY TIMES MAKES ITS RECOMMENDATIONS IN LEGISLATIVE PRIMARIES: In primaries for the Florida Senate (which are all Republican in the Tampa Bay area): John Legg, Jack Latvala, Jim Frishe, Tom Lee. Read the recommendations here. In primaries for the Florida House: Democrats Mary Louise Ambrose, Lynn Thomas Dostal, Betty Reed, Mark Danish; Republicans Mike Fasano, Richard Corcoran, Jake Raburn, Betty Jo Tompkins, Peter Nehr, Ed Hooper, Frank Farkas, Kathleen Peters. Read the recommendations here.
MY TAKE ON THE TIMES ENDORSEMENTS: Sure these endorsements might make the candidates feel better about themselves, but it is doubtful the support of a newspaper viewed with skepticism by many, if not most, likely Republican voters will help. All in all, the Times‘ endorsements in these races are far less effective than its recommendations in races where candidates don’t have the resources to fully deliver their campaign message, such as down-ballot contests for judge. Still, it’s always a bonus to be able to put on the campaign literature, “Endorsed by the Tampa Bay Times.”