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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fla Insider Poll: Romney heavily favored to win Fla




flainsider.jpgSorry Barack Obama, but the smartest political minds in Florida think Mitt Romney will win the state.

Our latest exclusive Florida Insider Poll of more than 100 of the most experienced and savviest political hands in the state, found that 73 percent expect Romney will win the Sunshine State, while 27 percent predict Obama. Sixty percent of Democrats expect Romney will win Florida’s 29 electoral votes and 95 percent of Republicans expect Romney to carry Florida .

What a difference a debate makes. Our last Florida Insider Poll, in August, found 95 percent of Democrats predicting Obama would win Florida, and 73 percent of Republicans betting on Romney winning.

"As of today Romney with the slight edge in Florida -- but would not be at all surprised to see Obama driven by his field organization make a comeback in the Sunshine state however -- he has run basically a four year long reelection campaign down here and if Romney holds him off in Florida it will be well earned and extremely impressive -- nationally just so little margin for error for Romney he probably falls a couple states short of the White House," said a Republican.

The good news for Obama? Six in 10 of our Florida Insiders still think Obama will win a second term - including 37 percent of our Republican participants and 92 percent of the Democrats.

The momentum Romney built from the first debate seems to have stalled - nothing in any current polling data would indicate continued movement on his part," said a Democrat. "That’s left the race virtually tied with POTUS clinging to leads in Ohio, Iowa and Nevada which seals the deal for the re-elect. Final pushes in FL, NH, VA and CO either keep the margins razor thin or result in an electoral college blow out."

The Senate race is another matter entirely. A whopping 93 percent of our Insiders, including 98 percent of the Democrats and 88 percent of the Republicans, expect Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson to beat U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers.

"Connie Mack is in trouble, yet when you look at how inept his campaign has been run this should be no surprise," one Republican said. "He was never a good candidate from day one - too many put too much faith in name recognition alone."

Said another Republican: "With Mitt Romney’s continued rise in Florida, you have to wonder what exactly the Florida GOP was thinking when it allowed Connie Mack IV a free ride to the ballot. If Romney manages to win Florida - and it looks increasingly as if he will - and Bill Nelson skates back to DC, the GOP has to hang its head in shame. There was a major breakdown in candidate recruiting and no one will admit to it. Unbelievable, actually."

This months survey includes 120 Insiders, including 65 Republicans, 48 Democrats and 7 independents or minor party types. They are campaign consultants, lobbyists, fundraisers, a few political scientists, and a recovering journalist or two.

We also sought predictions on a bunch of Congressional races. No big surprises, except perhaps that 71 percent expect scandal-plagued U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, to lose to Democrat Joe Garcia.

In other races: 62 percent expect Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland to beat Al Lawson in north Florida; 83 percent expect Democrat Alan Grayson to beat Todd Long in the Orlando area; 89 percent expect Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Webster to beat Val Demmings in the Orlando area; 98 percent expect Republican CW Bill Young to beat Jessica Ehrlich in Pinellas; 94 percent expect Republican incumbent Vern Buchanan to beat Keith Fitzgerald in the Sarasota area; 72 percent expect Republican incumbent Allen West to beat Patrick Murphy in south Florida; and 66 percent expect Democrat Lois Frankel to beat Adam Hasner in south Florida.

This months Florida Insiders were: Ashley Walker, Al Cardenas, Alex Patton, John French, Bernie Campbell, Tre Evers, Robert Levy, Ana Navarro, Darryl Paulson, David Custin, Kevin Cate, Kirk Wagar, James Harris, Aubrey Jewett, Alex Burgos, Damien Filer, Ellen Freidin, Jeff Wright, Alex Heckler, Lucy Morgan, Caren Lobo, David Johnson, Bob Poe, Kirk Pepper, Eric Johnson, Nancy Watkins, Apryl Marie Fogel, Hayden Dempsey, Meredith O’Rourke, Rockie Pennington, Karl Koch, Jamie Wilson, Todd Wilder, Ryan Tyson, Roger Stone, Trey McCarley, Bill McBride, Tyler Hudson, Rodney Barreto, Cory Tilley, Ann Herberger, Greg Turbeville, Monica Russo, Jamie Miller, Cynthia Henderson, William Helmich, Steve Schale, Marion Hammer, Steve Geller, Derek Newton, Frank Tsamoutales, Steve Uhlfelder, Tim Baker, Robert Coker, Richard Swann, Justin Day, Andrew Weinstein, Screven Watson, Kathy Mears, Bud Shorstein, Peter Schorsch, Rick Wilson, Kirk Fordham, Ron Greenstein, Mitchell Berger, Carlos Curbelo, Greg Truax, Vincent Harris, Mark Gilbert, Dave Karvelas, Paul Bradshaw, Brian Ballard, John Stemberger, Mark Ferrulo, Sarah Rumpf, John Morgan, Chris Ingram, Jim Kane, Christina Johnson, Sam Bell, Jill Chamberlin, Shannon Gravitte, Mike Hamby, Van Poole, Ken Jones, Dan Smith, Joe Perry, Jim Davis, Tom Gaitens, Andrew Gillum, Nancy McGowan, Brecht Heuchan, Gus Corbella, Abel Harding, Stephen Bittel, Marc Reichelderfer, Tom Tillison, Tom Lee, Jim Rimes, Christian Ulvert, Husein Cumber, Michelle Todd, Susie Wiles, Stephen Shiver, Donald Hinkle, Slater Bayliss, Frank Terrafirma, Henry Kelley, Marty Fiorentino, Jeff Johnson, Chuck Elliott, Dave Aronberg, Brett Doster, Mac Stipanovich, Scott Areneaux, Ana Cruz, Alex Sink.

[Last modified: Friday, October 26, 2012 5:52pm]


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