Sunday, April 22, 2018
Politics

Poll shows Florida voters narrowly support destination resort casinos

TALLAHASSEE — A day after a Senate committee grudgingly passed a bill to bring destination resort casinos to Florida, the first independent statewide poll on the issue shows that Florida voters narrowly support the idea but an overwhelming majority believes casinos would be "good for Florida's economy."

The poll of 1,412 registered voters by Quinnipiac University was conducted Jan. 4-8 and has a margin of error of 2.6 percentage points. The casinos numbers: voters support the creation of "non-Indian casinos similar to those in Atlantic City and Las Vegas" by a slim 48-43 margin. A larger 61-33 percent margin believe casinos would improve the state's economy and voters do not think gambling is morally wrong by a 73-22 percent margin.

The poll also asked voters how they felt about the job being done by Gov. Rick Scott and the state Legislature. Scott remains overwhelmingly unpopular a year after his inauguration with only 38 percent of voters approving of the way he is doing his job, up 5 percentage points since December, and 50 percent disapproving. A similar majority disagree with his policies and are unhappy with the way he is handling the state budget.

The governor "has a long way to go to get into the voters' good graces and the high 40s percent range in job approval which is the minimum generally needed for re-election — and less than three years to get there,'' said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Scott needs to bring home more of his own party members and improve his standing among independents."

Pollsters also offered a glimpse into what voters think of Scott's suggestions for shearing $1 billion from Medicaid and local hospitals in order to free up money for education, opposing it by an overwhelming 67-24 percent. Voters, however, support the decision by legislative leaders to cut another $2 billion from the budget rather than increase taxes.

Legislators are even more unpopular than the governor with only 30 percent of voters approving of the job they are doing and 54 percent unhappy about it. Voters believe by a 48-39 percent margin that the state budget written by lawmakers is unfair to them and 56 percent of those surveyed are dissatisfied "with the way things are going in Florida today," while 42 percent are somewhat satisfied or satisfied.

The governor has never had an approval rating of over 38 percent since the Connecticut university began polling about him in May last year and he retains one of the lowest job approval ratings of any governor in the seven states in which Quinnipiac University conducts surveys, pollsters said.

Despite national numbers showing support for President Barack Obama wavering, 34 percent of Florida voters believe that the economy has gotten worse since Scott took office, 45 percent think it has stayed the same and 16 percent say it is better. They blame the governor, not Obama, by a 65 to 19 percent margin.

On a personal level, voters are a bit warmer about Scott, a first-time politician — with 39 percent saying they like the governor regardless of his policies, 34 percent saying they dislike him and 27 percent who say they don't know.

U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson seem to escape blame for the electorate's disposition. A majority of voters approves of the way each of them is handling his job: Rubio by a 50-29 percent margin and Nelson by a 47-30 percent margin.

Brown noted that while voters narrowly support creating Las Vegas-style casinos in Florida there are interesting partisan, gender and educational and age differences.

Republicans split 46-48 percent on casinos, while support is 51-40 percent among Democrats and 53-39 percent among independent voters. Women are divided 44-45 percent, while men favor casinos 53-40 percent.

Comments
Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

WEST PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump said Saturday that he doesn’t expect Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer and fixer, to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen’s business dealings. Trump, in a series of tweets fired from Florida o...
Published: 04/21/18

Vive la France: Trump hosts glitzy White House state dinner

WASHINGTON — Now it’s President Donald Trump’s turn to pull off the ultimate charm offensive. Wined and dined on multiple state visits during his tour of Asia last year, Trump is paying it forward and celebrating nearly 250 years of U.S.-French relat...
Published: 04/21/18
Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

The writer of the letter sounds hysterical. Perhaps a little desperate. And maybe that’s just who Marion Hammer is these days.Most of the world knows her as the take-no-prisoners maven of the National Rifle Association who directs Florida politicians...
Published: 04/21/18
Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

WASHINGTON — Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, is "very upset and disappointed" by comments made by his former boss James Comey that contradict his account of a disclosure to the news media, McCabe’s lawyer said Friday. "Andy has at all ...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

The one thing you can say for sure about electing a mayor in Tampa is you can’t really say anything for sure.Historical proof: A couple of elections ago, Harvard-educated hometown-boy-gone-to-Washington Frank Sanchez was going to be our next mayor, h...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Published: 04/20/18
Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

TAMPA — For months, Tampa political aficionados have speculated: Will she or won’t she?Does Jane Castor, the city’s first woman police chief and presumed heavyweight mayoral candidate, really want the job? Asked and answered. Castor filed paperwork T...
Published: 04/19/18
Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

TAMPA — President Donald Trump has tweeted "trade wars are good, and easy to win."Don’t believe it, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce told Tampa business and political leaders on Wednesday."We share more with you than with anybody els...
Published: 04/19/18
Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

BROOKSVILLE — Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Don Barbee this week submitted his resignation — effective Jan. 7 — to run for an open circuit judge seat.Barbee, who is in the middle of his second term, said he made the move "with a tremendo...
Published: 04/17/18
Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Democrats hold an advantage ahead of the midterm elections, but a Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that edge has narrowed since January, a signal to party leaders and strategists that they could be premature in anticipating a huge wave of victorie...
Published: 04/16/18