This week offered good news and bad for the Florida Republican Party. First the good news: The Bill McCollum gubernatorial campaign offered up internal polling that Democratic Alex Sink so far is showing more hype than momentum: McCollum not only leads Sink among likely Florida voters 41 percent to 33 percent, but voters said the had a more favorable opinion of McCollum (41 percent) than Sink (23 percent) and approved of his job performance (52 percent) as attorney general more than Sink as chief financial officer (38 percent).
It's wise to be skeptical of internal polls released by campaigns, but McCollum's pollster, John McLaughlin, is a respected veteran of Florida politics, and his numbers are similar to other recent public polls. He noted that even among the mere 25 percent of voters who knew enough about both candidates form an opinion of them, McCollum led Sink 46 percent to 41 percent.
"People had said, 'Well, she's not as well known, when she gets well known she will beat Bill.' Not with her current image. Bill is better known, better liked, and when they know both equally, Bill still has a decisive lead on her," McLaughlin told the Buzz.
GOP losing ground
Now the bad for Florida Republicans. In the increasingly diverse, melting pot that makes up the Florida electorate, Republicans continue losing ground among nonwhite voters in Florida. Of the voter registrations since November's election, Democrats had a three-to-one advantage with Hispanic voters and 25-to-one among African-Americans. Overall, nearly 40 percent of registrations since October were Democrats and 26 percent Republicans.
Republicans are touting an aggressive statewide voter registration and minority outreach push. But it looks likely they'll be fielding an all-white-male field at the top of the ticket while Democrats have a woman for governor and African-American for the Senate.
Nurse making nice
Karl Nurse used to be a frequent critic of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker — until Nurse was appointed to the City Council. What's changed? "It looked better on the inside," Nurse said of Baker's administration in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Adam Smith can be reached at email@example.com. Political junkies can follow Smith on Twitter. Just look up adamsmithtimes.