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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Insider Poll: 'Trump presidency = End of GOP as major party'

12

August

Among more than 170 of Florida politicos surveyed for the latest Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider Poll, three quarters expect Hillary Clinton will beat Donald Trump in Florida and nearly 80 percent expect Marco Rubio to beat Patrick Murphy for U.S. Senate. Here are their comments:

Dem: Florida will continue to reinforce its split-state nature by voting a Democrat into office for President --- but voting Republican in statewide races, as in this year's U.S. Senate contest. In the past two major cycles, President Obama has won Florida -- but Rs have still swept the statewide sweepstakes for Governor and Cabinet offices. Perhaps it's not so odd anymore -- it's just us

Rep: Rubio doesn't deserve to win. He abandoned his duty to Floridians, dissed the Senate, mailed it in for over a year, and got beat like a Bongo drum by Trump. But he's going to win. Sigh. I just hope he doesn't subject us to yet another vacuous book by him.

R: Hoping Gary Johnson and Jill Stein make the national debates to promote better choices this cycle.

R: Make it end! This one can't end soon enough. 

R: I do not plan to vote for Clinton nor Trump. 

R: I'm voting for Jeb! too.

D: Hillary Clinton will see a higher margin of victory in South Florida than Barack Obama because a large number of Republicans are either crossing over to vote for Clinton or refusing to vote for Donald Trump. This will allow Clinton to overcome any growth in support Trump sees in the Tampa Bay area or North Florida. For the U.S. Senate race, if the election were held today, Rubio would win. Murphy needs to get past the primary so he can turn his full attention to Rubio. When that happens, Murphy can reclaim the narrative of defining Rubio and be on a path to create a major upset since many believe Rubio is going to handily win the race. 

R: Trump Presidency = End for GOP as a major party - might take a few years but it will fracture permanently.  Trump crushing loss = chance - but no guarantee the party finds a way to get off the mat - and find a way to relate to what modern America looks like.  Just ready for this cycle to be over.

R: Trump's will lose by largest percentage since 1988, when Bush 41 defeated Dukakis by 22 points. Rubio will win by 5. Split tickets all over the peninsula. 

Dem: Murphy will win. Name the last time republican senate candidate was elected when a democrat won the presidential race in Florida.  The age of the ticket splitter is quickly vanishing in the sunshine state. 

R: Hurry up November so we can get past this embarrassing mess. 

D: Marco Rubio is becoming the relief valve for republicans to support after voting for someone other than Trump for president. 

R: While I believe Hillary holds an edge over Trump right now. If Trump finally understands that she is the gift that keeps on giving, never says Obama's name and derisively calls it this administration. Let his surrogates be the pit bulls. She will make the unforced errors.

D: After the primary, it will become very smart politics for Republicans in contested seats to announce they are not supporting Trump. 

R: I believe enough Republicans will either vote for Hillary or a third party candidate to hand her the state. Trump will have support in pockets of the state but not in the major population centers. I do not believe Trump will drag the ticket down far enough to cost Marco a win. Rubio has to walk a tightrope in running his own campaign but not being disloyal to the Republican Party in totally turning his back on Trump -- publicly at least. 

NPA/other: But at this point I'd say Trump might win Florida but lose the overall election. With each new embarrassment it becomes clearer that there is a pretty large bloc of Florida voters whose disgust for Hillary is so strong that nothing Trump says can outweigh it. How do you, after supporting Donald through each of his outlandish statements so far, find anything he says going forward to be so offensive as to change your mind? 

R: A lot of Republicans are as afraid of winning the presidential race as they are of losing it. As a result, more Republicans than people realize are going to skip the top of the ticket when they vote. 

D: Marco's resurrection, and Patrick's fibbing, will cost the Dems this seat. Elsewhere I think the Dems will do better than expected in the Senate and the House. 

R: I just don't see a path for Trump, mainly because he is his own worst enemy.  His supporters say, "he tells it like it is without worrying about being politically correct," but the guy simply has no filter.  When he tries, he can pull himself together and act Presidential for about 4 days, but that seems to be his limit.  One day, somebody is going to publish a book of all the crazy stuff he has said, during this campaign, and make a fortune.  In fact, that might be exactly what he is planning.

R: Trump can't get out of his own way, Murphy will make it closer than people think.

R: There are absolutely no good choices this year...

R: If Trump can keep to the issues ----

R: Patrick Murphy could win if Hillary Clinton breaks open a big lead and drives turnout but in Florida it's likely to be close and that benefits Rubio who will get a much larger percentage of the hispanic vote than Trump.  Rubio will get more votes than Trump even though Trump trounced him in the primary.

R: Trump is enduring August,  which is traditionally the year's slowest news cycle. So he is enjoying and suffering the added focus of news media. 

This is still the year of the outsider and Trump will recover and Rubio and Trump will help each other win in November.

R: Florida and the other swing states better be strapped in for a wild ride. The way both nominees are performing and the fact that many voters seem to be put off, it just might be the down ballot races that get voters to cast ballots.  But in that same vein, their will be some down ballot that might suffer because some won't vote at all. Go ahead and make your Tallahassee hotel, AirBnB, VRBO reservations, gonna be a recount just like 2000. 

D: I might have said Rubio but he hasn't faced Florida voters post the negativity surrounding the Presidential campaign. With Trump creating such a unique set of circumstances, it might just pull Rubio down and now have so many independents and independent-mined voters it is truly up in the air.

D: The Republican nominee for President is nuttier than a squirrel turd.

R: If the vote were today, Hillary would win. But I expect/hope things get better for Trump.

R: In a year where Republicans could have taken back the White House and solidified our Congressional majorities, we have nominated the most divisive and unstable presidential candidate in modern American history.  The down ballot effects of that foolish decision will be painful.  Cue up Phil Collins' song, "Throwing It All Away".

R: This election cycle is like a rerun of the 90's Bands, the C v. C Music Factory - Trump = Crazy v. Clinton -= Corrupt - with the winner being the Song by Bel Biv DeVoe - "Poison." 

D: Believe Florida will get closer, but Clinton operational strength & demographic advantages will lead to a win....Long ways to go in Senate race, but I worry that Rubio's communication advantage will be too much to overcome

R: Trump certainly has his problems, but Hillary is still Hillary and people don't trust her.  It will be interesting, if in the end, voters go with the person who they trust what he says but don't like what he says, or the person they simply don't believe a word that comes out of her mouth.

D: At this point this race is Hillary's to lose.  However, the irony is that Marco will probably carry Trump in November, instead of vice versa, making the race closer then it might be if he weren't on the ballot. 

D: Even with the damage Marco has sustained he is a better more experienced politician than anyone else in the race. Murphy has shown his inexperience lately in repsonding to resume attacks and not responding well.

R: It's likely you'll see some idiosyncratic down-ballot results this election.  While many people (including some prominent Republicans) are indicating they will not vote for Trump, I don't believe this bias will completely spill over and punish other (more normal) GOP candidates at the bottom of the ticket.  In short, look for a lot of split-ticket voting this cycle.

R: Maybe it's a sense of pity for the embarrassment he suffered at the hands of Donald Trump, but Marco Rubio, the former "savior of the GOP," appears to be the new Teflon candidate. He hated the U.S. Senate, something he signaled frequently during his disappointing first term, but after being "inspired" to run for re-election after witnessing violence against the LGBT community, he's gone back to his old ways. He's key noting an anti-gay conference and telling women they should carry Zika-infected children to full term. And yet, he'll likely win comfortably. The question will be whether his family finances allow him to serve a full second term. 

R: In the end, Clinton will never pass that critical "Who do you trust?" question in voters' minds.

R: If Trump can stick with the issues he can win. He just can't learn at this point to quit taking Hillary's bait and shut up!

R: This should have been a Republican year.  But it turned into a circus.  Yes much of the blame goes to Trump, but I also blame leadership in the Republican Party.  ... Or should I say "lack of leadership".

R: Its a real shame the Democrats don't have a deep bench to put up candidates who could beat Marco Rubio. Then again its also a real shame the Republicans don't have candidates who will challenge Rubio in a primary after he all but abandoned Florida for his own political aspirations.

R: The one thing that is common in both the presidential and Florida senate race is the weakness of the candidates.  A majority of Americans are unhappy with both Clinton and Trump and, in the Florida senate race, Grayson and Murphy are taking turns seeing who can be the most rediculous candidate.  A lot of voters will be plugging their nose on Election Day.

D: Rubio probably will win, but the Dems may upset him using his gyrations about Trump.  "He's unfit.  On second thought, I endorse him."  His third position will be something like "I'm not saying who I'm going to vote for, but it won't be Hillary." 

NPA: Much like the strident Sen. Barry Goldwater in '64, Trump's bombast and daily loose talk will move a sizable  percentage of alarmed  R women to  Hillary’s column, helping  her to win Florida. But down ballot R women and other R voting groups  will enthusiastically stick with  Marco, who will eclipse D Patrick Murphy, an attractive challenger.

D: Trump has gone so far off the deep end that his damage to the Republican brand is going to be much less than many of us had hoped.  He is his own brand and is so out of step that I don't think we'll be able to link as many down ballot races as we had anticipated two months ago.  Clearly he's going to be a liability but I don't think we can count on him to be the thing that carries other races across the finish line.

R: Trump needs to quit slipping on his ding dong. He got away with it in the primaries because the media wanted him to win, knowing they would turn against him in the General....Beruff will not duplicate what Scott did in 2010. Scott put $75 million in and ran against Myron Milktoast. Beruff is putting in maybe $15 million, and running against a great orator. Murphy is being exposed for what he really is- a spoiled rich kid. 

R: Floridians, particularly Independents, are not going to vote for 4 more years of failed economic policy from Hillary Clinton who will carry on same socialist policies of Obama which strangle economic growth. With almost 100

million Americans out of work; robbing men and women of their innate dignity, to hope, as well as the opportunity to get ahead financially. ... Additionally, the failed open borders policy from both sides of the isle, encouraging illegal immigration has depressed American middle class wages by 8 percent over the past 7 years and is also a serious national security threat...For these reasons Donald Trump will win Florida. He is the only candidate of the two that can create the environment for a prosperous economy and a safer America. 

D: It is August and there is a long way to go... every time I and all the other "insiders" have thought Trump will implode he recovers or does better and he wins! Stupidity is repeating the same mistake over and over and over again. Professional insiders have refused to learn that the Donald  continues to prove them stupid. He is proving he is better at politics than all the "insiders".

D: It appears Trump, Murphy, and Grayson can't get out of their own way.

D: Donald Trump - the Democratic gift that keeps on giving

R: I'm betting very few of the GOP insiders participating in this poll will be casting a vote for their party's presidential nominee--certainly not the Rubio operatives who are already preparing the 2020 campaign against Hillary!

D: Patrick's success depends on Hillary's success in Florida. I think Hillary wins Florida but it will a close contest, as usual.

R: Regardless of all the noise now, and polling now, the vast majority of the voting public will get engaged after labor day, and September 26th when the first debate will air.

D: Voting for Marco gives Never Trump Republicans the opportunity to feel good about themselves and their party. A strong enough Hillary wave could pull Murphy over the finish line, but it's unlikely that he pulls this off on his own. 

D: It continues to amaze me how Donald Trump finds new lows. I feel especially bad for my Republican friends. While I have plenty of outrage at the bombastic, violence inciting rhetoric that has permeated the Republican nominee's message, I can only imagine that's better than the shame they must feel. 

R: Florida's not going to be pretty for The Donald, but Rubio will ride high without the carny.

D: The Trump juggernaut has become a train out of control. The wreck that is occurring now will drag down other Republicans and hand the White House to the Dems. Trump's motivation is becoming clearer by the day. He only cares about burnishing his brand so that he can capitalize on it financially after his catastrophic loss.The only thing I believe coming out of his mouth is that he will be the only person in American history to make money off running for President. He will accomplish that goal, and laugh all the way to the bank while stepping over the carcass of the American democratic process.

[Last modified: Friday, August 12, 2016 7:08pm]

    

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