The South Florida Sun-Sentinel on the Mason-Dixon poll released yesterday:
The key to Florida remains the Tampa Bay region, where Obama currently holds a 48%-44% advantage. The other regions of the state fall into their generally predictable patterns, with Obama holding a wide 61%-33% lead in Southeast Florida and McCain running ahead in North Florida (58%-37%), Central Florida (51%-43%) and Southwest Florida (55%-40%). "Charts: How Floridians would vote in the election (Orlando Sentinel Mason-Dixon poll)". See also "Poll finds it's still a tight race in Florida for John McCain, Barack Obama" and "Survey says Obama slightly ahead in Sunshine State".
Obama runs stronger among Democrats, women, those under 50, blacks and those who have never served in the military, while McCain is stronger with men, Republicans, those over 50, whites and military veterans.
Obama has a 50%-41% lead among independent voters, while McCain has a 49%-44% among Hispanic/Cuban voters.
Interestingly, despite the fact that he trails, McCain has a higher favorable rating with Florida voters than Obama (47%-46%), and Obama's negatives have increased slightly over the past two weeks.
Florida's Palin crowd sad to see her leave"Palin on Tuesday wrapped up a two-day campaign swing through Florida attempting to tie Democrat Barack Obama to a 1960s radical." "Palin derides Obama for dismissing ties to Ayers".
"Here's how Gov. Sarah Palin's Clearwater visit unfolded", "In North Florida, Palin stays aggressive" and "Sarah Palin wraps up Florida blitz with more Obama jabs" and "Palin wraps two-day jaunt through Florida".
How to feed hungry Palin supporters
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "The fourth-largest county in America’s fourth-largest state cannot afford to pick up roadkill." "Stench of roadkill wafts over county".
"Another huge surge"
"Amid an intense presidential campaign, Florida Democrats Tuesday touted voter registration figures showing 'another huge surge' in party ranks that gives Barack Obama an edge in a tossup swing state." "Surge in voter registrations excites Florida Democrats".
"With supporters of Barack Obama and John McCain fighting for every voter this campaign, naturalized citizens of Hispanic descent are a growing target - particularly in swing states such as Florida, where Hispanics make up 11 to 14 percent of the people who go to the polls. ... Overall, the Hispanic vote seems to be coalescing behind the Democrats." "Latino Voters Key In Florida Race".
The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Here are the seven words every Floridian needs to hear when deciding whether to vote absentee: Don't do it unless you have to."
In fact, voting absentee is the riskiest method, not the safest. The error rate for absentee ballots is three times higher than for optical-scan ballots cast at polling places. Many absentee ballots are thrown out because the voter's signature doesn't match the signature on file or the voter simply forgets to sign. With an absentee ballot, the voter also never gets a chance to correct an error. The machines, for example, reject ballots with two choices in the same race."Avoid absentee voting trap".
All politics is local (usually)
Bought and paid for: "State Rep. Robert Schenck's campaign war chest is overflowing with cash but few of the dollars are coming from his people in his own district. The Spring Hill Republican collected $9 out of every $10 from outside Hernando County, according to a St. Petersburg Times analysis of the latest campaign finance reports filed Friday."
"The bulk is arriving in maximum $500 checks from Tallahassee, the state headquarters for lobbyists, consultants and political committees. The cash is fueling the first-term lawmaker's re-election campaign, but it could prove a liability. Democratic challenger Jason Melton is making it an issue." "Democratic challenger criticizes Schenck's outside contributions".
Let's pretend it won't happen
"The global financial crisis threatens to unravel Florida's property insurance system if a major hurricane hits during the last two months of this hurricane season." "Florida's inability to borrow spells trouble for catastrophe fund".
Just a little thing ...
"Newly registered voters in Hillsborough County are getting voter information cards with a different look from years past."
A redesign launched last year no longer includes polling place addresses on the voter information cards that many people carry in their wallets."Elections chief criticized over redesigned voters' cards".
Instead, that detail is included on an accompanying letter outside the detachable card. The new cards also feature Elections Supervisor Buddy Johnson's name and the voter's party affiliation more prominently than the old ones.
But some voters complain cards without a listed polling place are likely to create confusion or suppress voter turnout.
At a community forum Tuesday night, Johnson heard some pointed questions about the card's redesign. He relented, suggesting the matter could be studied again and perhaps changed.
Better late than never
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board says how the SOEs
handle Florida's new "no match, no vote" law could provide them their greatest challenge, however. To cut down on fraud, the law requires new voters to supply their driver's license or Social Security numbers. If they don't, or the numbers don't match official records, they can't vote."Voter registration is way up, but a new law could cause problems".
Those undergoing the rigors of "no match, no vote" have till two days after the election to convince officials of their eligibility. But it's possible some might not manage it if, because of other obligations, they can't make a follow-up visit to the elections office.
We hope it won't come to that. If it does, Florida again may have to answer to angry voters and, potentially, an outraged nation.
At least he didn't accuse him of "palling around with terorists"
"Alan Grayson just made it personal. Want proof? Just check your mailbox."
In a glossy new campaign mailer, the Democratic congressional candidate accuses his opponent -- U.S. Rep. Ric Keller, R-Orlando -- of infidelity and betraying a platform of "all-American family values." The mailer reprints an article that appeared in the online edition of Harper's Magazine in November 2007."Keller-Grayson congressional race gets personal".
Keller responded that Grayson has "reached a new low in gutter politics" and called the Harper's story "nothing but a collection of false rumors." Neither Keller nor his staff would respond to direct questions about the story.
The Harper's piece alleges that Keller cheated on his first wife with a staff member, Danielle "Dee Dee" Michel, whom he hired when she was 23 after he was elected in 2000 and married in 2005. It also notes that Keller placed her in plum positions in his office and on his campaign.
"Nearly two years ago, U.S. Rep. Ric Keller made two decisions that could cost him another chance to represent Central Florida in the U.S. House."
First, Keller announced he would run for a fifth two-year term -- breaking a pledge to serve only eight years. Then, in early 2007, the Orlando Republican joined Democrats in opposing a White House plan to send 20,000 more American troops to Iraq."Ric Keller faces tight race after pair of costly decisions".
Both decisions enraged supporters, and Keller is now apologizing for his vote against the surge. But he says voters should disregard his term-limit pledge because his experience means he can do more for his district.
"Department of Corrections officials are now using laptops to track sex offenders out on probation, a system officials hope will be more efficient." "Fla. improves technology to track probationers".
"A Florida law requiring 'electioneering communications' groups to register with the state is facing a federal court challenge." "Groups to sue over Fla. 'electioneering' law".
"Safeguard Our Seniors"
"Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink kicked off her new 'Safeguard Our Seniors' task force Monday, pledging to find better ways to protect the elderly from financial fraud." "State kicks off task force to protect seniors from fraud".
Imagine that, "the bill has stalled in Congress"
"'U.S. immigration law intolerably discriminates against gay and lesbian Americans by denying them the same rights received by heterosexual couples,'"
said U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D- Boca Raton, a co-sponsor of the Uniting America Families Act. "This is offensive and unacceptable.""U.S. immigration won't allow family unification for same-sex couples".
Advocates say the act would grant immigration benefits to same-sex couples so that they could stay together in this country. But the bill has stalled in Congress.
Depends on who gets the "million dollars"
"Homeowner associations are shouting the message: We want tougher regulation and we want it now. But the million dollar question is: will Florida lawmakers listen?" "Homeowner associations want state protections from legislators".
"Rabbis explain how to avoid making etiquette errors on holiday:" "Yom Kippur etiquette can trip up Jews and non-Jews alike".
"Miami's golden age"
"Campaigns to save two long-neglected icons of Miami's golden age of the '50s and '60s, the Marine Stadium and the giant Coppertone Girl sign that hung downtown for almost 50 years, got a significant official boost Tuesday." "Two Miami icons closer to being saved".
Class size doesn't matter?
"The weak economy could lead Florida's public schools to put more students in each classroom." "Economic woes could mean more pupils in each class in Treasure Coast schools".
"The weakest in the nation"
"Seven environmental groups vowed to fight efforts to include nuclear power in the definition of renewable energy. In a teleconference Tuesday environmentalists denounced the recommendations of the Public Service Commission's staff to give utilities until 2041 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. That target is 'the weakest in the nation,' ...". "Environmental groups oppose calling nuclear energy 'renewable'".
"Voters to decide whether colleges can request special tax"
"Residents in some Florida counties might be asked to pay higher taxes if they approve an amendment giving cash-strapped community colleges permission to ask their local communities for help."
Right now, the state's 28 community colleges get their money directly from the state Legislature based on the number of students as well as state-set tuition. Tuition costs about $2,200 for a full-time student taking 15 hours."Voters get chance to decide whether community colleges can request tax increases".
Some colleges say the money is inadequate, and they need support from their communities to boost their budgets. The state's poor economy has led it to cut funding in recent years, while a record number of people are turning to community colleges for job training, officials say.