We received some terrific insight and wit from participants in our latest Florida Insider Poll. Here's a sampling:
"Rick Perry reminds me of Charlie Crist on steroids. No, I mean literally, anabolic steroids. Great at the optics and bumper sticker reductionist philosophy, no interest in the real substance of policy where the hard work gets done. He'll win."---A Republican
"Rick Perry is on to something with his direct and honest talk about Social Security. Most consultants would advise against this, but I think Perry is on to what the American people want: a politician who is honest."---A Republican.
"I miss the Donald"---a Democrat
"It's going to come down to who will invest the resources - only a few candidates have the ability and/or the willingness to spend what it will take to win FL. Early state primary/caucus victories will provide momentum coming into FL- but if the candidates split the big 3 (IA, NH, SC) - the candidate with the best infrastructure in place and money behind their message will win it."---A Republican.
"My main fear for Perry's ability to beat Obama is that his fellow Republicans will beat him up mercilessly and try and paint him as a radical on issues like Social Security and that those negative attacks will help Obama in his efforts. Hopefully Perry can weather the storm"---a Republican.
"Why is Jon Huntsman running in the Republican POTUS primary?"---A Republican
"Rick Scott is the secret to Democrats winning in 2012. If Romney gets the nomination he will distance himself from Scott, Rubio on the ticket will help romney but the tension created by Scott will be papable. As for Perry, he will not distance himself from Scott but the compounded imbalance of the right hand not knowing what the far right hand will require would topple Republican chances in this traditional toss up "---A Democrat.
"I think the CNN/TEA PARTY EXPRESS debate should be required viewing of all independent voters. I am not sure which disturbed me the most, the participants or the audience. As to straw polls: They are not a credible an indicator of candidate strength. They are incredibly expensive in time and resources and prove rarely to be worth the cost of either. Romney and Bachmann lost nothing by not participating. They avoided an expectation game that is not worth playing."---A Democrat.
The other Republicans are all over Perry but he can handle it - clearly in his long leadership he has had a couple of missteps, but Obama had that many in the first month in office! Romney is too elitist, Bachmann very irresponsible in her untrue and misleading remarks regarding that drug - pretty shameful to put girls at risk by spreading false info for votes, Newt is just 30K feet above it all and can't connect, Cain rocks but I don't think he can win, Huntsman seems to not understand where he is or whats going on - is he trying to channel Reagan?, R Paul's just a do-do bird and tragically poor Santorum is the like Gatsby of thegroup - his dream so close he could hardly fail to grasp ."--Republican.
It is way to early to have any safety in a prediction. If Perry momentum maintains for another 60 days then I predict he wins Florida. ---Republican
More often than not, ideology trumps electibility in GOP primaries. If Perry runs a disciplined, wellfunded campaign, he ought to be able to consolidate conservative voters--especially as the less viable candidates begin to drop out. On another subject, Social Security attacks are usually less effective among Republican seniors who vote in primaries than those targeted to the general electorate. If Perry is the nominee, he is certain to regret his more provocative critique of the program as it is regurgitated in countless ads, robocalls and direct mail pieces.--Republican.
Romeny needs to regain some traction and claw back a few of the early-love points Perry picked upwith his announcement. Perry is more charming and charasmatic, but Romney has more experience and economic knowlege. In the end, people will look inward and realize the guy we have has no clue to solve the problems we are facing and Mitt Romney is the best man for the job. Perry could still beat him, and a race held today Perry certainly would, but if Mitt is patient, he has time to prevail. He needs to survive Iowa, Win big in NH and keep it close in SC. Then real states get to vote!--Republican.
Perry has an advantage in peaking at the right time and being the bandwagon candidate. His Tea Party appeal will also be a huge factor. General elections are still won in the political center and Romney would be better able to attract independent and cross-over Democratic support. By not entering the straw poll, Romney can deny whatever strength Perry shows by denigrating the results of such a poll, especially after the Iowa straw poll debacble.---Republican
Rick Perry clearly has momentum coming into the week of P5. He needs a solid performance at the debate on Thursday to keep his front runner status. Romney will get help from the second tier candidates attacking Perry again. It is a two man race at this point with Romney and Perry for the next several months. Whoever wins Florida's early primary will win the nomination and both campaigns know it.--Republican.
P5's timing, being in September and at least four months before the primary, combined with the later start of this year's field makes the voting less reflective of the candidate's hold on 2012 primary voters. There has been very little effort in delegate voter contact by any campaign, and that will change before the primary.---Republican.
Ron Paul typically does very well in GOP straw polls but the complicated process for becoming a P5 voting delegate along with the $175 fee works against him.---Democrat
At this time the P5 straw poll, Republican nomination and White House are Rick Perry's to lose. However he
would not be the first politican running for president to pull defeat from the jaws of vistory---Republican.
The Republican nomination remains a toss-up nationally and in Florida. Perry has a lot of mojo right now but the criticisms coming from our "Texas Insiders" counterparts sound earily familiar to those of our last governor, many of which were true. His early missteps under the scrutiny of the national spotlight do not bode well for his staying power.--Republican.
Perry's reckless rhetoric on social security will forever haunt his political life in Florida. He may be able to weather a primary, but his statements will drain tens of millions of dollars to correct. Florida voters proved last cycle that they have a short memory or a forgiving heart when it comes to healthcare related liabilities, at least that's what Romney is hoping. My bet is that more Florida Republicans can forgive Romney than their seniors forgive Perry.--Democrat