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Insider Poll: Republicans far more bullish on Rick Scott campaign after Obamacare mess

Exclusive Florida Insider Poll

Tampa Bay Times

Exclusive Florida Insider Poll



Rick Scott’s re-election prospects continue to improve, based on our latest Florida Insider Poll, and Republicans can sum it up in three words.

Thank you Obamacare.

While just over half of the 130 veteran Florida politicos participating in the Insider poll predicted this week that Republican Gov. Scott would beat Democrat Charlie Crist, 87 percent of Republicans expect a second term for Scott. Four months ago, 75 percent of Republicans expected Scott to win.

“Obamacare fiasco a total game changer - an unmitigated disaster for the Democrats that’s not going away,” said one Republican.

Three out of four participants in the poll said they expect Obamacare to remain a significant liability for Democrats through the November, 2014 election.

“The debacle that is the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is shaping up to be the perfect storm for Democrats,” another registered independent said. “And at this point, it is a huge liability for Charlie Crist because of his efforts to weld himself to President Obama’s coattails.”

Just one in 10 of our Florida Insiders said former state Sen. Nan Rich is a factor in the Democratic primary now dominated by Crist.

Democrat Alex Sink is favored to win the special election in Pinellas County to replace the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young by an overwhelming 80 percent of our insiders, but several savvy Insiders expect the troubled health care roll out will help elect a lesser known Republican.

“Alex Sink will be a victim of timing. The special election is to close to the botched health roll out,” said one Democrat. “That with the inability to turn out the Democratic base in a non presidential cycle will be tough for her to overcome.”

David Jolly, a lobbyist and former aide to Rep. Young, is the only significant Republican running so far, but another candidate such as state Rep. Kathleen Peters could get in by the time qualifying ends on Tuesday. Jolly is already working agressively to depict Sink as a carpetbagger since she has never lived in Pinellas County, but our Insider Poll participants are skeptical about the effectiveness of that attack.

Asked whether being from Hillsborough County or being a federal lobbyist is a greater political liability in that race, nearly eight in 10 participants said being a lobbyist is more problematic.

A ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Florida requires nearly 700,000 valid signatures by February - a tall order considering the state has only validated about 126,000 to date. Still, 60 percent of the Florida Insider expect it to make it on the ballot.

These surveys of campaign operatives, fundraisers, lobbyists, political scientists and the like are unscientific, but offer a good snapshot of current conventional wisdom among Florida’s political elites. Participants in this Insider poll included 67 Republicans, 54 Democrats, and nine people registered to neither major party. They are:

Bill Helmich; Carlos Curbelo; Alex Patton, Charlie Crist; Ellen Friedin; Kelly Cohen; Ben Pollara; John French; Caitlin Fishman; Gus Corbella; Bernie Campbell; Jeff Cohen; Kevin Cate; John Morgan; Greg Turbeville; Christina Johnson; Brian Hughes; Nancy Watkins; Andy Ford; James Harris; Rockie Pennington; Ron Sachs; Damien Filer; Chris Ingram; Meredith ORourke; Mark Ferrulo; Ken Jones; Sarah Bascom; Betty Castor; Tyler Hudson; Todd Wilder; Alan Clendenin; Cory Tilley; Jack Funari; Stephen Bittel; Kevin Akins; Screven Watson; Rick Wilson; Steve Schale; Jackie Lee; Frank Tsamoutales; Ryan Tyson; Tom Tillison; Clarence McKee; Eric Jotkoff; Aubrey Jewett; Mike Hightower; Don Hinkle; Sarah Rumpf; Susannah Randolph; Mac Stipanovich; Steve Uhlfelder; Jim Rimes; Paula Dockery; Hayden Dempsey’ Ron Greenstein; Thomas Eldon; Jason Roth; Kirk Pepper; Kevin King; Steve Geller; Richard Swann; Sally Bradshaw; Jeff Wright; Jeff Johnson; Scott Peelen; John Wehrung; Tony Hill; Stephen Shiver; John Dowless; Sandy Safley; Cindy Graves; David Custin; Robert Coker; Derek Newton; Arlene DiBenigno; Marion Hammer; Cynthia Henderson; Husein Cumber; Alia Faraj-Johnson; Kirk Fordham; Henry Kelley; Dan Krassner; Adam Goodman; Andrew Gillum; Bob Poe; Karen Unger; David Johnson; Darryl Paulson; Jamie Miller; Steve Yerrid; Abel Harding; Marty Fiorentino; Justin Day; Mike Hamby; Bud Shorstein; Towson Fraser; Ann Herberger; Al Cardenas; Greg Truax; Brett Doster; Richard Gentry; Nancy McGowan; Peter Wallace; Ana Cruz; Trey McCarley; Tim Baker; Joe Perry; Roger Stone; Joy-Ann Reid; Andrew Weinstein; Peter Schorsch; Dave Karvelas; Sam Bell; Ana Navarro; Susan MacManus; Ryan Duffy; Monica Russo; Scott Arceneaux; Tom Gaitens; Marc Reichelderfer; Ashley Walker; Vincent Harris; Erin VanSickle; Fred Cunningham; Seth McKee.

[Last modified: Friday, November 15, 2013 3:09pm]


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