State: Groups can't do issue polling
In a decision that is likely to jolt Florida's political world, the state Division of Elections has ruled that political committees are prohibited by law from paying for issue-oriented polls. Candidate polls? Those are legal, the state says, but issue-oriented polls are not. For decades, interest group political committees all along the political spectrum have been doing issue polling.
The legal opinion, issued last week, was authored by Gary Holland, an attorney in the elections division. It was issued in response to a request by Jon Kislak of Florida Red and Blue Inc., the group opposing efforts to put a ban on same-sex marriages into the state Constitution. The effect of this opinion is that groups keenly interested in, say, the Jan. 29 property tax referendum are barred by law from sampling public opinion on the issue. Read the opinion here.