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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fla Insider Poll: GOP politicos less confident than Dems about prez race



President Barack Obama's poll numbers are grim, the economy is in the tank, and Republicans appear much more energized than four years ago. So we were a bit surprised by the results of our latest Florida Insider Poll taken one year before the election.

Among more than 100 of Florida's most plugged-in politicos, Democrats are more optimistic than Republicans about winning the White House next year. Nine percent of Democrats surveyed said they expect Obama to lose the election — and only if Mitt Romney is the GOP nominee — while nearly 29 percent of the Republicans predict Obama will win.

The Insider Poll relies on Florida's savviest politicos, including top campaign consultants, lobbyists, fundraisers and activists. One hundred fourteen people participated: 63 Republicans, 44 Democrats and seven independents.

The Democrats clearly fear Romney more than the other GOP prospects. More than one in three say Romney would beat Obama in Florida (even though several of them said the president would still win the national election without Florida), while only two Democrats said Rick Perry would beat Obama in Florida and just one Democrat said Herman Cain would win Florida's 29 electoral votes.

Among the Republicans, 49 said Romney would win Florida next November, 27 said Perry would beat Obama, and 19 said Cain. We did not ask about other Republican contenders far behind in the polls.

Romney is also the clear favorite to win Florida's Jan. 31 primary, with 82 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of Republicans and all the independents predicting the former Massachusetts governor will come out on top. Four Democrats and three Republicans said Perry will win the primary, while Cain was the choice of three Democrats and six Republicans. Two Republicans predicted Newt Gingrich will win Florida in January and one predicted Jon Huntsman.

Reasons for the Florida Republicans to be slightly more pessimistic about the GOP's chances next year? Insiders cited the power of the incumbency, a nominee damaged by the primary, and expectations that Romney would be relatively weak among Hispanic voters.

This week's Insider Poll participants:  Ben Pollara-D, Tre Evers-R, Andrew Gillum-D; Kristy Campbell -R; John Dowless-R; Bill Helmich-R; Justin Day-D; Kirk Wagar-D; Meredith O'Rourke-R; Kevin Cate-D; Rich Heffley-R; John French-R; Towson Fraser-R; Arlene DiBenigno-R; Screven Watson-D; Erin VanSickle-R; Cory Tilley-R; Brian Crowley-Ind; John Stemberger-R; Susie Wiles-R; Derek Newton-D; Mark Ferrulo-D; Jim Kitchens-D; Greg Turbeville-R; Brian Ballard-R; Christian Ulvert-D; Bernie Campbell-D; Dan McLaughlin-Ind; Robert Coker-R; Dan Gelber-D; Amber Stoner-R; Steven Schale-D; Mel Sembler-R; Van Poole-R; Adam Goodman-R; Trey McCarley-R; Scott Arceneaux-D; Jim Rimes-R; Nancy Watkins-R; Scott Peelen-R; Paul Bradshaw-R; Sandy Saffley-R; Cynthia Henderson, R; Mike Hightower-R; Jamie Miller-R; Jeffrey Garcia-D; Ron Greenstein-D; Marc Reichelderfer; Dave Aronberg-D; Dave Karvelas-R; Betty Castor-D; Henry Kelley-Ind; Lucy Morgan-D; Aubrey Jewett-Ind;Tyler Hudson-D; David Johnson-R; Shannon Gravitte-R; Andrew Weinstein-D; Stephanie Kunkel-D; Greg Truax-R; Peter Schorsch-Ind; Hayden Dempsey-R; Gus Corbella-R; Fernand Amandi-D; Roger Stone-R; Jill Chamberlin-Ind; Ron Sachs-D; Allan Bense-R; Ana Cruz-D; Stephen Shiver-R; Karl Koch-D; Marion Hammer-D; Karen Unger-R; Sally Bradshaw-R; Susannah Randolph-D; John Rood-R; Nancy McGowan-R; Ellen Freidin-D; Joe Perry-D; Al Cardenas-R; John Morgan-D; Alex Heckler-D; Bud Shorstein-D; Dave Beattie-D; Eric Johnson-D; Phil Vangelakos-R; Apryl Marie Fogel-R; David Custin-Ind; James Harris-D; Richard Gentry-R; Frank Tsamoutales-R; Jim Greer-R; Al Hoffman-R; Jordan Raynor-R; Kathy Mears-R; Jackie Lee-D; Jamie Wilson-R; Cindy Graves-R; Ann Herberger-R; Rick Wilson-R; Alberto Martinez-R; Mitchell Berger-D; Dylan Sumner-D; Ana Navarro-R; Jim Davis-D; Chris Ingram-R; Tom Lee-R; Don Hinkle-D; Darryl Paulson-R.

[Last modified: Sunday, November 6, 2011 8:56am]


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