Obama takes Florida lead in Suffolk University poll
"A new poll of Florida from Suffolk University [.pdf link] shows President Obama with a 1 point lead over likely Republican nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 46 percent to 45 percent, among registered voters [as opposed to likely voters] in the state."
The numbers also show what seems to be an enthusiasm gap for Romney as a candidate – when asked "Is your vote more a vote for Romney or against Democrat Barack Obama," only 51 percent of Romney supporters said they were for the former Gov., with 49 percent saying they were just against the President. The split was 77 percent for Obama and 23 percent against Romney when the question was asked of Obama supporters. "Also, homegrown pols former Gov. Job Bush and current Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) would help Romney if they were the GOP vice presidential nominee. From Suffolk:"
Both Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush could move voters to Romney. A Romney-Bush ticket would lead Obama-Biden by 2 points, and a Romney-Rubio ticket would lead Obama-Biden by 3 points, 47 percent to 44 percent."FL Poll: Obama By 1, Jeb Bush Or Rubio Would Help Romney". See also "Poll: Obama barely holding lead over Romney in Florida".
Compared to the previous Suffolk poll, showing Obama down by five points, this result is a substantial improvement for Obama: "Romney garnered 47 percent while Obama trailed with 42 percent" in a Suffolk poll taken in January.
Florida's mortgage delinquency rate highest in nation
"Florida's rate of borrowers 60 days or more behind on their mortgage dipped slightly from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012, but is still the highest rate in the nation." "Mortgage delinquency down nationally, but Florida rate is highest".
Baxley's "cure worse than the problem"
"Nearly 2,700 potential non-U.S. citizens are registered to vote in Florida and some could have been unlawfully casting ballots for years, according to a Miami Herald-CBS4 analysis of elections data. ... Even if voters are on the list, it doesn’t mean they’re not eligible to cast a ballot.
Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, sponsored the election law and said he feels “validated” by the state’s actions in keeping its voter rolls clean."Smith noted that 3,000 potential non-citizen voters is a small number compared to the state’s 12 million total voters."
But University of Florida political science professor Dan Smith, a critic of Baxley’s law, said the state purges could block eligible voters from casting ballots, thereby making the cure worse than the problem.
"This attests to the fact that there’s very little voter-registration fraud," Smith said. "This purging can be a real problem.""Florida finds nearly 2,700 non-U.S. citizens on voting rolls". See also "Florida official renews effort to remove noncitizens from voter rolls" and "State looks to ax non-citizens from voter rolls".
To be eligible to cast a ballot in Florida, a voter must be a state resident and a U.S. citizen with no felony record. Those who have been convicted of felonies can cast ballots if their rights have been restored by the state. It’s a third-degree felony to commit voter fraud in Florida.
Neither the state nor the county’s election office would release all of the suspected names, in part because the list contains personal data such as Social Security and driver-license numbers that are not public record.
Of the partial Miami-Dade list given to the Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Times and CBS 4, less than a third of the potential non citizens had voted, going as far back as 1996. About 39 of them are Democrats, 39 Republicans and 26 are independents or third-party voters.
"Don't wait until 4:30 a.m."
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "One thing is clear from the problem with legislation to reform Florida's no-fault auto insurance system: Don't wait until 4:30 a.m. on the last day to complete a major, complex bill." "PIP bill dinged but fixable".
"Jeb or Rubio as VP Would Help Romney Against Obama in Florida".
Vern's newest ethics issue
Jeremy Wallace: "A congressional committee is looking into whether U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, tried to influence a potential witness during a federal investigation into his fundraising practices, new documents released on Wednesday show." "Buchanan is dogged by new ethics issue".
Same-sex marriage likely a "political wash" in Florida
"Social significance aside, President Obama's announcement that he supports same-sex marriage may prove to be a political wash in America's largest swing state, some Florida experts and operatives said Wednesday."
Florida voted 51 percent for Obama and 61.9 percent for a ban on gay marriage in the same 2008 election. Polls point to another close Florida presidential election this year."Obama's support of gay marriage seen as political wash in Florida". See also "Both sides see Obama gay marriage stance as opportunity". See also "Local leaders react to Obama comments on gay marriage".
Democratic strategist Steve Schale, who ran Obama's Florida campaign in 2008, said he doesn't believe Wednesday's announcement will help or hurt the president in the Sunshine State this year.
"I believe this was a decision beyond politics," Schale said.
"I really don't believe there are any significant electoral implications. Remember, Obama opposed the gay marriage amendment in 2008 and we won Florida while that amendment passed, and certainly the needle on the issue has moved in the last four years. It might motivate some base voters, but I believe that's where the politics ends," Schale said.
Republican pollster Alex Patton agreed.
"I just think President Obama was looking to shore up his base a little bit," Patton said. "I still think that this is an economy election and some of these social issues, they're just not weighing heavily. It's an issue, but it's not a driver."
University of South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus voiced a similar view.
"I still think the economy is the big issue and voters are not going to be as focused on the gay rights issue," MacManus said.
Not a peep about Walmart using Chinese inmate labor
"U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, along with U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Miami, and U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, were among the signers of a letter seeking a prompt meeting over reports that IKEA had teamed with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in the 1980s to use political prisoners to make some furniture." "South Florida Congressional Members Question if IKEA Had Cuban Prisoners Make Furniture".
And then there's Walmart, but never mind.
Low Income Housing Tax Credits
"Seven companies are disputing the way the Florida Housing Finance Corporation scored their applications for millions of dollars in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits." "Affordable housing developers challenge state housing group over federal tax credits".
"The move means the Northeast Florida Virtual Charter School and the Central Florida Virtual Charter School can form their schools, but the school boards of Duval and Seminole counties have promised an appeal." "Board of Education vacates stay of two virtual charter schools' appeals". See also "State overrides districts on charter schools".
"Floridians don’t much care if they convict the wrong guy"
Fred Grimm: "Some 14 death row inmates in Florida have been cleared by DNA testing, after spending an average of 20 years on death row. Outside of the old Confederacy, that might be cause enough to reexamine the underlying morality of capital punishment."
Instead, Florida Gov. Rick Scott vetoed funds earmarked for the Florida Innocence Commission, charged with sorting out flaws in the criminal justice system — an embarrassing mess of misidentifications and false confessions and lying jail house informants — that made Florida the national leader in wrongful convictions."Dollars and sense of capital punishment".
Sadly, DNA samples only show up in a small percentage of cases. A bit of extrapolation indicates a near mathematical certainty that innocents are among the 400 convicts now on Florida’s death row. But I can tell you, based on my own e-mail in-basket, Floridians don’t much care. I’ve done scores of columns about Broward County’s brutal penchant for sending innocent men to death row, but had a stronger reader reaction after a column about a Palmetto Bay teenager wrongfully accused of a cat-killing spree. (Most of those responses were demands that the kid go to jail anyway.)
Floridians don’t much care if they convict the wrong guy. They just want retribution.
"Five of the nation’s greediest banks"
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Advocates of affordable housing in Florida, listen up: You have a chance to weigh in on how the state uses $300 million to ease the pain of the foreclosure crisis, but you must act quickly. The funds were part of a court-approved, $25-billion settlement that Attorney General Pam Bondi and 48 of her counterparts in other states managed to wrest from five of the nation’s greediest banks and mortgage servicers to clean up the robo-signing scandal that delivered grief to tens of thousands of homeowners across the country." "Florida’s $300-million housing bounty".
Mini-Mack mailer "violates House rules"
"A government mailer sent to voters across Florida by U.S. Rep. Connie Mack violates House rules barring distribution outside his district and raises questions about his U.S. Senate campaign, which features the penny pinching plan that was the subject of the mailer."
The color brochure, complete with a photo of Mack, began showing up this week in Hillsborough County, Miami Beach and Sarasota, among other places beyond Mack’s district in southwest Florida."Mailer sent by Connie Mack violates House rules".
A mailing list vendor, who has done work for Mack’s Senate campaign, took responsibility for the "mistake" Wednesday and wrote a nearly $18,000 check to the U.S. Treasury to cover postage. Mack, in a letter to House officials Wednesday, said any violation was due to the vendor and was "unintentional."
"Absolutely no taxpayer dollars will be spent on this project," Mack wrote to the chairman of the House Franking Commission.
But as he sought to contain the problem, political opponents pounced. George LeMieux, a rival in the Republican U.S. Senate primary, released a statement calling it an abuse of office. "Voters are fed up with this type of behavior from Washington politicians like Mack and there’s no doubt Floridians will reject his candidacy."
White supremacists in your backyard
"Supporters of suspected members of an Osceola County white supremacist group charged with preparing for a race war have started an online petition calling for their release." "American Front supporters call for release of suspected white supremacists". Background: "11th defendant arrested in Osceola roundup of white supremacists".
Chamber merely a Florida GOP front group
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce isn’t waiting to find out who will challenge U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, this November."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday it is pumping big bucks into Florida with its first multimillion-dollar ad blitz of the 2012 cycle, aimed at Nelson and a pair of Democrats running for the U.S. House: former Rep. Alan Grayson and longtime state and local politician Lois Frankel."U.S. Chamber Targets Bill Nelson's Vote on Obamacare in Statewide Ad Blitz".