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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.


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The Blog for Thursday, June 29, 2006

New Polls

    Quinnipiac University and Strategic Vision released Florida polls yesterday; note that the Q poll surveys registered voters, while the SV poll surveys "likely" voters.

    Quinnipiac University Poll

    Crist widens his lead over Gallagher; Davis and Crist remain dead even:
    Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist has opened a 49 - 21 percent lead among Republican voters over State Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, his opponent for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Another 28 percent of Republicans are undecided. This compares to a 43 - 26 percent lead among Republicans May 24.

    Crist also has inched ahead of U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, the leading Democrat in the governor's race, 41 - 39 percent. This compares to a 40 - 37 percent Davis lead in a May 24 poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

    Among Democrats, Davis leads State Sen. Rod Smith 32 - 16 percent, with 49 percent undecided, compared to 38 - 17 percent May 24. But 74 percent of Florida voters, including 69 percent of Democrats, don't know enough about Davis to form an opinion. For Smith, the "don't know enough" numbers are even higher.
    "June 29, 2006 - Crist Edges Up In Florida Governor's Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; President Gets No Bounce In Approval Ratings"

    [From June 20 - 26, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,311 Florida registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points. The survey includes 520 Republicans, with a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percentage points, and 528 Democrats, with a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percentage points.]

    Strategic Vision Poll

    "Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist has a taken a 22-point lead in a new statewide poll as the well known conservative continues to consolidate his support among Republican’s 'likely' to vote in the upcoming Sept. 5 gubernatorial primary." "Crist Widens Lead To 22 Points As Gallagher Loses Support".

    [Strategic Vision poll of 1200 likely voters in Florida, aged 18+, and conducted June 23-25, 2006. The margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.]

    More SV Poll Results

    More results from the Strategic Vision poll released yesterday:

    If the election for Governor were between Charlie Crist, the Republican and Jim Davis, the Democrat, whom would you support?
    Charlie Crist 49%
    Jim Davis 41%
    Undecided 10%

    If the election for Governor were between Tom Gallagher, the Republican and Jim Davis, the Democrat, whom would you support?
    Tom Gallagher 40%
    Jim Davis 40%
    Undecided 20%

    If the election for Governor were between Charlie Crist, the Republican and Rod Smith, the Democrat, whom would you support?
    Charlie Crist 49%
    Rod Smith 40%
    Undecided 11%

    If the election for Governor were between Tom Gallagher, the Republican and Rod Smith, the Democrat, whom would you support?
    Tom Gallagher 41%
    Rod Smith 39%
    Undecided 20%

    If the election for Chief Financial Officer were held today between State Senate President Tom Lee and State Representative Randy Johnson, whom would you support? (Republicans only)
    Tom Lee 39%
    Randy Johnson 26%
    Undecided 35%

    If the election for Attorney General were held today between former Congressman Bill McCollum, State Representative Joe Negron, and State Representative Everett Rice, whom would you support? (Republicans only)
    Bill McCollum 47%
    Joe Negron 15%
    Everett Rice 10%
    Undecided 28%

    If the election for the Republican nomination for United States Senator in 2006 were held today, whom would you support? (Republicans only)
    Katherine Harris 48%
    Leroy Collins, Jr. 11%
    William McBride 6%
    Peter Monroe 4%
    Undecided 31%
    Strategic Vision.

    Cashing In

    "Levine's tenure as ACHA secretary wasn't without political and policy hiccups. He stumbled this spring when he had to reverse policy changes that cut off nutritional supplements to more than a thousand severely disabled or chronically ill children who had been relying on the food from the state. As Bush's deputy chief of staff in 2003, Levine irritated Republican senators when he suggested recruiting candidates to run against GOP incumbents who were fighting the governor's medical-malpractice reforms. In retaliation, the Senate blocked Levine's confirmation until this spring, when Bush endorsed Senate President Tom Lee in his campaign for state Chief Financial Officer." "Jeb ally is chosen CEO of hospitals".

    McCollum Moves South

    "Republican attorney general candidate Bill McCollum picks up some Miami endorsements:U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, and Mario Diaz-Balart." " McCollum Endorsements".

    Drilling Day

    Troxler: "Today is a hugely important day for Florida. Today, the U.S. House is likely to approve oil and natural gas drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, as close as 100 miles from Florida's shores. That doesn't mean it's a done deal. The Senate still has to vote. Florida's two U.S. senators say they will try to get different terms. That fight will play out over the next few weeks and months." "Gulf drilling choice is a high stakes gamble". See also "Florida delegation rallies against offshore drilling", "Gov. Bush meets on drilling, dike, Everglades", "Battle at hand on oil drilling in Gulf" and "Offshore-drilling debate on tap".

    Death Penalty

    "Bush said Wednesday that Florida's death penalty is ''under review'' after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled earlier this month that inmates could file court challenges regarding the use of lethal injection." "Bush: Death penalty reviewed".

    Wetlands In Trouble

    "Close Call Spells Trouble For Wetlands".


    "At a well-attended fundraiser for Charlie Crist at the St. Petersburg mansion of Fazal Fazlin (who has also given $500 to Democrat Jim Davis) last night we're told finance chair Brent Sembler said it was Crist's best money raiser of the quarter. Among the co-hosts? Democratic state House 52 candidate Bill Heller." "Crist's Cash".


    "We've read his lips. Too bad what comes out of them makes no sense."

    Jeb "No Tax" Bush says the state needs a better transportation system. He says he believes in regionalism. He pretends to believe in progress.

    Yet he has this hoary "philosophy" against taxes -- any taxes, no matter how urgently needed, no matter whom they benefit, no matter what voters want. And so, he has driven a stake through much of the state's hopes for better transportation, stronger regionalism and continued progress. ...

    Bush, egged on by out-of-state anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist, who cares nothing about Florida or its problems, says tourists shouldn't have to pay to support better transportation. Why not? Don't tourists contribute to the gridlock that is choking us all? And does Bush really think tourists will keep coming to a state that can't control its growth or build an adequate transportation infrastructure?

    Bense Bonuses

    "Allan Bense doles out $518 to $10,000 to more than 200 House staffers. It's a tradition that cost less than $300,000 last year." "Speaker gives $638,000 in bonuses".

    More Charlie

    "Crist Releases 2 New TV Ads".

    Orange County Smith Supporters

    "State Attorney Lawson Lamar, County Commissioner Bill Segal and uber-trial lawyer John Morgan are among those signing on Wednesday as co-chairs of Democrat Rod Smith's gubernatorial campaign in Orange County." "Rod Squad's Orange Division".

    Charlie Goes To Church

    "Crist Tries To Reach Religious Right".

    Insurance Crisis

    "Bush has created a new committee to make recommendations on how to fix Florida's property insurance market, but critics, particularly Democrats, say more action is needed." "Governor creates another panel to study state's insurance crisis".

    "A paper trail is essential"

    "Several years ago tourism officials promoted Florida with an advertising slogan designed to set the Sunshine State apart: "The rules are different here!""

    To an increasing extent, unfortunately, the same slogan could be applied with regard to Florida's laissez-faire approach to security involving touch-screen electronic voting machines.

    [I]n Tallahassee, which was ground zero following the 2000 election debacle, that should be cause for deep concern.

    That it isn't should, in fact, worry all Floridians who care about the integrity of the voting process.

    Florida is in a minority of states that have not passed legislation requiring that electronic voting machines produce verifiable paper records to ensure accuracy and protect against fraud and manipulation.
    "Secure the vote".


    "Last week, when the state's last-resort insurer announced it intended to stop covering buildings under construction, the response from the construction community may have seemed muted. Now builders and insurance agents alike are speaking up, worried about how construction along the coast will continue if Citizens Property Insurance Corp. stops writing builders risk policies." "Citizens pullout would put builders at risk".

    In The Dark

    "People have a right to know when their business is being discussed, and they have a right to be present. This principle forms the bedrock of Florida's Sunshine laws, and cannot be discarded for the sake of convenience. Unfortunately, Gov. Jeb Bush didn't acknowledge as much when he signed a bill allowing officials in one Florida county to meet electronically." "Key to trouble".

    Cognitive Dissonance

    What gives? The Strategic Vision poll released yesterday has Jebbie with a 58% to 30% approval rate (12% undecided), yet the bulk of Floridians think Florida is going in the "wrong direction":

    Do you think Florida is headed in the right direction or the wrong direction?
    Right 39%
    Wrong 47%
    Undecided 14%
    Strategic Vision.

    That's Our Mel

    "A Washington group known for bashing Republican senators is targeting Mel Martinez of Florida. The Senate Majority Project circulated a photo on Wednesday of Martinez signing photos of himself while he was presiding over the Senate during the controversial flag debate the day before." "Flagging Mel".

    Care To Name Names?

    "The claim was startling."

    At a Republican dinner in Putnam County last weekend, Rep. Katherine Harris said some very unlikely people were supporting her campaign for U.S. Senate.

    Harris said several House Democrats from Florida want her to defeat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson this fall.
    "Democrats are for me, Harris says".

    "Apartheid rulers of Osceola County"

    Mike Thomas: "The apartheid rulers of Osceola County are getting desperate in their futile attempt to maintain power. They continue fighting the Justice Department, which demands the all-white (Anglo) County Commission stop suppressing Hispanic votes. This legal battle is costing taxpayers a bundle, dividing the community, perpetrating Osceola's good-old-boy image and delaying the inevitable." "Osceola plays losing hand in federal court".


    "Rod Smith's quips perk up audiences. Will they do the same for his poll numbers?" "If laughs were votes ...".


    "The little-noticed National Lieutenant Governor's Association this month conducted a 50-state research project and found that between 1980 and 2006, 25 percent of those serving as governor had, at one time, served their state as lieutenant governor." "Yo, Toni!".

    Voter Manipulation

    "In 2004, President Bush got 52 percent of the vote in Florida. Yet Republicans have an 18-7 congressional majority. Republicans also control Tallahassee, so Democrats can't retaliate with their own bad example of voter manipulation. Since the Supreme Court has determined that politicians count more than voters, the only way to establish the right priorities is for independent commissions - appointed by politicians but not made up of them - to draw political boundaries. In 2008, Florida voters may get the chance to create such a commission. The need for every state to stop politicians from picking their voters just became clear." "In the democracy battle, court rules against voters".

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