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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

What the Fla Insider Poll participants are saying about prez race



Among the comments received in the latest Fla Insider poll. Disregard the typos, as many participants hastily responded on hand-held phones:

Republican: "Not a huge Romney fan. I wish he was bolder on tax relief, but with Cain and Perry fighting over the political hari-kari knife Mitt's the man to beat and the only one who could close the deal against Obama."

Democrat: "President Obama does not fare well vs the ""Generic Republican""  However he will not be running against ""Generic Republican""   He will be running against one of the above regulars at the Star Wars Bar Scene.  He will beat any of them; except maybe Hans Solo."
Republican: "Obama still has the more sophisticated GOTV machine and more money.  No matter who the R nominee is, that is more than likely not going to change."

Republican: "Nationally it will be much closer in the electoral college vote than four years ago ....and Florida will be as tight as ever ....but even in a down economy, Obama with his billion dollar campaign war-chest, and great campaigning skills and instinct, will win re-election by a very narrow margin -- and Florida will yet again be as important if not more important than any other state - and Obama sneaks by for a very tight win in the sunshine state."

Independent: "Mitt Romney is the only Republican candidate who can attract moderate voters. If Romeny peels away the moderates and independents than Obama is in trouble. When voters go to the polls in Nov. 2012, unemployment will still be high, the economy will be weak, and the sense that Washington is failing will be strong - none of that bodes well for Obama."

Republican: "If the economy recovers then Obama has a shot.  If the economy continues as is then Obama will likely lose to any republican except Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.  Other variable is Latino vote is THE most critical swing vote and why Paul and Romney has greatest chance of loss against Obama."

Republican: "Mitt Romney's relative steadiness and experience will, I think, land him the nomination and, ultimately, as much as one can predict anything one year out and with as many variables as exist, I think the President is beatable. As so many have already observed, Florida is absolutely key!"

Democrat: "The GOP-base is not excited about Mitt Romeny's candidacy, but it's looking like he is the only alternative they have, and the only one who seems to be withstanding the national spotlight. However, because he is trying aggressively to win over hard-right Republicans, he is losing his ability to win over moderate Independents and Hispanics, two crucial voting blocks in Florida. Mitt Romney will have a tough time winning back Hispanic and moderate Independent voters should he get through the GOP Primary and allow President Obama to better position himself among these two voter blocks. This is why you see Mitt Romney tied with President Obama in Florida and all other candidates losing to President Obama in Florida. No doubt that the results will be extremely tight, but President Obama will pull ahead ever-so slightly in Florida because of his ability to draw the needed support among Hispanics."

Democrat: "The Republican field has moved so far to the right, and become so full of vitriol, that their eventual winner will be unable to convince Floridians they are mainstream."

Republican: "The Republicans are giving too much ammo to the Democrats.  At this rate, Obama can be expected to be re-elected."

Democrat: "If it is Romney, I think the President carries Florida by the smallest of margins and could very well lose (it is bad karma to bet against your own guy).  It feels like the President has started to find his mojo, and when it matters next fall, the combination of the amazingly poor GOP field and my hope that the economy will have just enough signs of life, that he will pull out a win."

Republican: "I work w/ small business owners every day; many of them democrats. The message repeated to me over and over is Barack O'bama doesn't seem to get it! The message is this, government is "broke", and bigger government won't fix it. Republicans & Democrats alike are fearful of "O'Bamacare", more regulation, and higher taxes."

Republican: "In this election cycle selecting the Republican nominee has the same random craziness as playing musical chairs:  Who will get the seat when the music happens to stop?  Trump, Bachmann, Perry, Cain...all on top at some point and all but Cain relegated to single-digit political purgatory. Mitt, despite millions spent on the trail and the robotically perfect debate performances, can't convince more than 30% of the Republican base that he isn't 1) a flip-flopping closet liberal, or 2) a cult member who possesses the secret knowledge that Jesus hobnobbed with the Indians.  In the end, Mitt will probably be closest to the empty chair when the music happens to stop.  If so, it will be Mitt vs. Barack and the Battle of the Enthusiasm Gaps.  But, if Jeb Bush jumped in the race, the music would instantly stop and Jeb would sink comfortably into that waiting empty chair."

Republican: "January results are heavily dependent on how Cain responds to the next 2 weeks of scrutiny. The type of allegations he is facing is typically and the public is more concerned with his ability to appear presidential under trying situations than the allegations themselves. "

Democrat: "Close race but mitt can win. He is moderate enough that both the teas will support against the president and who could keep the middle of the road R's home"

Republican: "The GOP nominee with be either Romney, Perry, Cain, or Huntsman.  Unless there is significant improvement in the economy a Republican will be the next President (and I don't see the economy inproving enough before the election)."

Independent: "I am not confident in the Republican candidates ability to inspire voters.  Further they are weakened by a lackluster US Senate field, and this calls into question voter turnout.  I'm not sure anger at Pres. Obama is enough to tip Florida.  Of course all bets are off if the economy tanks further."

Democrat: "The Republican field so far is almost laughable except for Romney who can't seem to convince his fellow Republicans that he would be a good choice....
Cain's arrogance is overwhelming and Perry's extremely poor speaking ability make them impossible presidential candidates....Newt's time has clearly passed"

Democrat: "A bruising GOP primary will produce a wounded nominee that will fail to capture Florida's 29 electoral votes in November 2012. The surprising passage of bipartisan tax reform legislation, combined with an improving economy, will guide President Obama to victory in Florida by a margin of 500k votes."

Republican: "Far too much game and spending, in campaign and SuperPAC, to be played in first the primary, and then, the general, to tell how I feel about a Romney in the general. Cain and Perry? Neither can beat Obama unless we are in such dire economic straits that Cain nor Perry could ever be capable of bringing us back. Interesting what Nate Silver at 538 blogged in the NYT about the Republican's best hope, Huntsman, and his sliding scale of chance based on economic growth, approval rating, etc.  "

Democrat: "While it's entertaining to look at polls that speculate as to what would happen in Florida if Romney selects Rubio to be his running mate or Obama substitutes Clinton for Biden, it's pretty clear the economy is going to be the primary factor on election day. That said, the President is building an unprecedented operation and assuming Romney is the "default nominee," I doubt he'll have what it takes to win Florida regardless. The fact that Cain still leads in the national polls speaks volumes."

Republican: "I continue to expect Romney to win the Florida R primary. The burning desire by Republican voters  to take back the White House next November will spell victory in the Florida GOP presidential primary for Romney.  The former governor  is well funded, a polished debater and will be viewed  by Sunshine State Republicans as the best choice to defeat President Obama in the general. A higher turn out of Florida Democratic voters  in a  presidential election year and a well executed Obama 2012 campaign will mean another close win for President Obama in Florida.  "

Republican: (Predicting a winner) is tough, as this race will come down to the old axiom of switching or not switching horses in mid-stream.  The fact Perry, initially, Christie (hypothetically) and Cain have done so well is there is a general discomfort with Romney as a candidate and potential nominee.  He is the best organized by far, so his chances of locking up the nomination are very good, but I don't think he has the national appeal (yet), so beating Obama may prove more difficult than it should be given his dismal approval ratings. Many R's still consider Romney a "liberal Republican/flip flopper" given Romneycare and other decisions. 

Democrat: "You can't seriously expect us make predictions when the field is in such a mess.  Rick Perry has hoof & mouth disease. Mitt Romney tells you what he thinks you want ot hear and then flip flops. Herman Cain disrespects women and blacks think he's an ""uncle Tom."" Newt Gingrich has way too much baggage and his time has come and gone.  Michelle Bachmann talks too much and says nothing. Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum aren't even close to the starting gate. As for Barack Obama, you don't even want me to get started..."

Democrat: The general circular firing squad feeling of the Republican nomination process thus far -- so reminiscent of prior Democratic self-sabotaging bare knuckles battles -- completely benefits the reelection prospects of President Obama. Not one of the Republicans has emerged as a clear choice....none yet seems presidential.......So, for the President, Being down does mean he is OUT. In fact, the power of the bully pulpit of the Presidency nearly always benefits an incumbent -- including this one, notwithstanding the bleak prolonged economic climate in the country."

Republican: "Americans are completely dissatified with the direction Pres. Obama has taken this country in and with Independents help, elect a Republican to the White House in 2012. Though Sen. Nelson has been in office for decades,
and had success portraying himself as a moderate, his voting record speaks to the contrary and his support for Obama's policies will end his lengthy career in Washington. Connie Mack IV will lose not only his Congressional seat but but the FL Senate primary as well. Predicting a Republican sweep in 2012. "

Democrat: "The Republican party is experiencing the toughest test their party has faced to date and that is getting through a presidential primary with an active Tea Party."

Republican: "President Obama and many of the Republicans running are very flashy. Outgoing. Swinging for the fences. I think America is ready for a thoughtful, deliberate, singles and doubles hitter who may be a bit boring sometimes, but is there when the bell rings. And that is Mitt Romney. Tourtoise vs. the Hare."

Republican: MItt Romney will win the primary, and Barack Obama faces serious headwinds. Romney should be a lock, but he is not. The anger that Romney is engendering among conservatives in Florida and nationally is reaching dangerous proportions, and taking the Republican base for granted could spell disaster. While Rick Perry has a capable campaign staff in Florida, Perry himself has been an embarrassing candidate. That sound you hear in the background when Perry speaks is independents rushing back to Obama. Herman Cain has never passed the credibility threshold. Given his campaign's bumbling response to recent sexual harassment allegations, the best Cain can hope for now is to salvage his book tour and a career as a pundit, which most people suspect he has really been campaigning for all along."

Democrat: "No one can help the GOP ticket this year.  Not even Marco Rubio.  Remember that Rubio is still a primary target in a pending investigation for tax evasion and improper budget appropriations stemming from the GOP credit card scandals.  In its current disorganized state, the GOP ticket cannot afford to have a VP nomination who might face an indictment sometime in the next year leading up to the election.  Just sayin'."

Republican: "Mitt Romney is a proven leader who will cut our budget and implement policies that will lead to economic growth."

Democrat predicting Romney is next president: "It is throw the bums out time. Party doesn't matter. America is mad and wants revenge."

Republican: "Watch Newt Gingrich come in a surprising second in Florida primary."

Independent: "This race is wide open for the Republican nomination. President Obama's best chance for reelection is to go up against any candidate other than Romney."

Republican: "I don't expect Cain will survive the media scrutiny of being a top candidate. Perry is done. Newt is too flawed to be taken seriously and polarizing to be electable. The only remaining potential game changer is Hunstman who seems like the most electable in November -- in terms of appeal to moderates and conservative Democrats. If he finishes first or second or even a close third in NH he will be a player. If not, it's over for him and Romney will be the nominee."

Republican predicting a second term for Obama: "Kill me now."

[Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 10:09am]


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