Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Florida Miscellany...

-If Democrats want to take back the House next year they're going to have to pick up some seats in Florida and there's good news for them on that front: right now Florida voters prefer the party by a 45-40 margin on the generic Congressional ballot over the Republicans.

Democrats have a registration advantage in the state and right now the party's voters are staying in line- the 82% of Democrats planning to vote Democratic for Congress is almost identical to the 81% of Republicans planning to vote Republican for Congress. That's a change from last year when GOP voters were a lot more unified around their party's candidates than Democrats were.

Republicans do have a 35-30 edge with independents but they were winning by much loftier margins than that in 2010. Who knows what Florida's House districts will end up looking like but these numbers suggest the potential for Democrats to pick up some seats next year.

-One thing that may be helping Democrats in Florida, as it did in the special House election in New York in May, is that voters are opposed to Paul Ryan's proposed changes to Medicare. 40% say they're against his plan to 24% in support of it and 36% with no opinion. Independents split against it by a 42/25 margin, and Democrats (58%) are a lot more unified in their opposition to it than Republicans (43%) are in their support. This is definitely not going to be a winning issue for the GOP in Florida.

-A majority of Florida voters still express opposition to gay marriage even as much of the country moves in support of it. 53% think it should be illegal to just 37% who think it should be permitted. There's a huge generational divide on the issue with voters under 45 thinking it should be legal but far outweighed by the 65% of seniors who don't think it should be.

Floridians may not be on board yet with full marriage rights for gay couples but 2/3rds do support some form of legal recognition for them. 33% support marriage and another 34% say civil unions are their first choice, with only 31% opposing any sort of rights for same sex couples.

-When it comes to Floridians' favorite professional sports team it's all about football. 17% of voters in the state say the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are their favorite to 16% each for the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars. The state's NBA teams come next in the pecking order with 14% saying the Miami Heat are their top team and 11% picking the Orlando Magic. Baseball teams come next with the Tampa Bay Rays tying the Magic at 11% and the Florida Marlins coming right behind at 10%. Bringing up the rear are the state's two hockey teams with the Tampa Bay Lightning at 4% and the Florida Panthers at 2%.

-There's a more clear leader when it comes to Florida's favorite college sports program. That's the Gators at 30%, followed by Florida State at 19%, Central Florida at 11%, Miami at 9%, South Florida at 6%, Florida Atlantic at 5%, and Florida International at just 1%. Pretty embarrassing numbers for the Hurricanes given the historic success of their athletic programs as opposed to Central Florida- of course the public vs. private nature of the schools and the Knights' comparatively massive student body and alumni base might have something to do with that.

-And finally Floridians don't like LeBron James, although they do like him better than Ohioans do. 22% of voters in the state see him in a favorable light to 24% with a negative opinion. That compares to 23% with a positive opinion and 49% with an unfavorable one when we polled his home state in May.

Full results here


NRH said...

Glad to see you liked my suggestion on sports teams! I'm shocked, shocked I say, to see that hockey isn't a sport near and dear to the hearts of a warm sunny southern state with a large elderly population. What ever could cause that, I wonder. ;-)

mike coleman said...

Florida has some very funky voter registration distribution patterns.
Three counties Broward, Miami-Dade & Palm Beach have 106.5% of the Democratic registration advantage.This totals to over 606,000 more Ds than Rs.
The uneven distribution pattern make it more difficult for Dems in Legislative races and in many Congressional districts, yes, even huge margins can be gerrymandered quite well.
These facts being acknowleged, what is true in 2012 is, skilled candidates, with good messages, can win more seats in Florida during the post Amendments 5&6 (anti gerrymandering) era.
What is most critical is the size of Democratic turnout in the 3 counties holding the massive margins. Without intelligent professional grassroots pre-election management creating a GOTV structure based upon expanding the Absentee Ballot voter universe in all urban counties where the Dems reside 2012will be tougher than necessary.
The ultimate goal of the organizing is to create these Absentee voters and maintain the voters interest to recreate the same turnout margins in 2014 when Florida can eliminate the Republican chokehold on Florida's government.
This entire 21st century Florida has seen 1 party rule as Republicans have controlled since 1998.

SteveHC said...

Florida's political climate is ACTUALLY considerably more diverse than one might think, and its changing demographics are complicating things by the month.

Over the past few election cycles, Republicans have dominated the state's legislature primarily through default - the Dems simply haven't been able to consistently field candidates that had enough sheer intelligence, public speaking ability and ability to articulate anything that even remotely looked like they had a "vision" for the state.

But there are more "positive" things currently going on in Florida than this article describes.

Many of the Florida's Republican legislators are actually centrists, some are even slightly to the "left" at least on social issues. And many if not most of the Rep. legislators aren't afraid to vote against many of Scott's more extremist proposals. Furthermore, in spite of the recession, more and more younger people - especially from northern states, Canada and Europe - continue to relocate to Florida, bringing their socio-economic, educational and political perspectives with them and raising their families in Florida *with* those perspectives. Even the old Florida "southern drawl" is becoming harder and harder to find; younger Florida "natives" born in FL have very little if any such accent.

Regarding Florida's governorship, the only reasons why Rick Scott won the election were a) a lot of people actually *wanted* to believe - in spite of his having been the CEO of the single most corrupt for-profit healthcare company in US history - that he actually KNEW how to "create more jobs" in Florida (which he doesn't) simply because he's wealthy and had a VERY consistent PR "message" that didn't require anything from the public beyond a short memory and attention span; and b) there were too many independent/unaffiliated candidates on the ballot who siphoned off votes from Democrat Alex Sink (who ALSO didn't have exactly the "cleanest" past). Consequently, Scott won by only slightly over 1% more votes than Sink received.

At the federal level, independent Christ lost to Republican extremist Rubio only because the Democratic candidate - who never had even a remote chance of winning right from the start - REFUSED to drop out of the election and thus siphoned off too many votes from Christ.

But on gay rights issues, the situation probably has more to do with ethnic cultural forces than Democratic vs Republican politics. Florida has VERY large Hispanic and Latino populations, and a growing black/African-American population as well. In Florida - as in certain other parts of the country - those populations tend to have *very* strong anti-gay biases. But as homogeneity among and between those populations - along with whites - continues to increase (and it is doing so DRAMATICALLY), coupled with the continuing influx of northerners, Canadians and Europeans, things should continue to improve in these regards over the coming years

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