FLORIDA PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN NOTES FROM HERE AND THERE
First, the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute has released it's latest poll concerning the 2008 presidential race. The survey, taken of 1,003 Florida voters between January 29 and February 4, included 387 Republicans and 386 Democrats.
Among Democrats in the poll, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D - NY) was the clear favourite among 49 percent. Coming in second was Senate collegue Barack Obama (D - IL) with 13 percent, tied with those still undecided. Everyone else came in single digits.
The survey among Republicans was a bit closer. When asked who they would support if the primary election were held today, the leader was former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani with 29 percent, followed by U.S. Senator John McCain (D - AZ) with 23 percent and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R - GA) with 14 percent. Undecideds constituted 19 percent of those surveyed.
In head-to-head matchups, one interesting trend shows in the statewide numbers: In almost every scenario presented, the figures were close with the exception of a matchup between Clinton and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, which show Clinton winning handily. All others show a result within five percent.
Looking at the I-4 Corridor specifically: The Tampa Bay area figures generally follow the statewide numbers, but only when it comes to Senator Clinton -vs- the Republican. An Obama - McCain or Edwards - McCain contest show the Arizona senator winning by a 13 percent margin. Among respondants in Central Florida (Orlando region), the GOP candidate wins in every case, but the numbers may vary.
The survey also asked wheather respondants approved or disapproved of President Bush's performance in the White House. The numbers show 60 percent disapproved, including 17 percent of Republicans. Disapproval numbers were especially strong among independent/third party respondants...69 percent. Those figures have remained generally stable for the past year.
Also, the poll results should put a smile on the face of new Governor Charlie Crist, who received a 69 percent approval rating. Obviously, the honeymoon continues. You can look at the seperate press release dealing with the governor and statewide issues --- and all the numbers --- by clicking here.
Now, to other stuff:
The St. Petersburg Times political blog The Buzz Wednesday noted that the presidential exploratory committee for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney announced his Florida leadership team, including a number of well known names:
--- Toni Jennings, former Lieutenent Governor (Orlando) / Honourary Chair
--- Allan Bense, former State House Speaker (Panama City) / Chair
--- Al Cardenas, former State GOP Chairman (Key Biscayne) / Chair
--- Tom Feeney, U.S. Representative (Orlando) / Chair
--- John Thrasher, former State GOP Chairman (Jacksonville) / Chair
--- Rick Baker, St. Petersburg Mayor (St. Petersburg) / Co-Chair
--- Dennis Baxley, State Representative (Ocala) / Co-Chair
--- Jennifer Carroll, State Representative (Green Cove Springs) / Co-Chair
--- Dudley Goodlette, former State Representative (Naples) / Co-Chair
--- David Griffin, former Florida Lottery Secretary / Co-Chair
--- Anitere Flores, State Representative (Miami) / Co-Chair
--- Van Poole, former State GOP Chairman (Fort Lauderdale) / Co-Chair
Romney is by no means forgetting Florida, announcing that he will be at The Villages seniors retirement community near Ocala for a town hall meeting next Friday (February 16). The Villages, one of the nation's largest communities of it's type, was hard hit by last weekend's tornados.
Meanwhile, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez has announced that he is backing U.S. Senator John McCain (R - AZ) in his presidential bid. Alvarez joins the state's three Cuban-American members of Congress --- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R - Miami), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R - Miami), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R - Miami) --- in supporting McCain.