Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida GOP insiders unsure of winning state in 2012 presidential election

President Barack Obama's poll numbers are grim, the economy is in the tank, and Republicans appear much more energized than four years ago. So we were a bit surprised by the results of our latest Florida Insider Poll taken one year before the election.

Among more than 100 of Florida's most plugged-in politicos, Democrats are more optimistic than Republicans about winning the White House next year. Nine percent of Democrats surveyed said they expect Obama to lose the election — and only if Mitt Romney is the GOP nominee — while nearly 29 percent of the Republicans predict Obama will win.

The Insider Poll relies on Florida's savviest politicos, including top campaign consultants, lobbyists, fundraisers and activists. One hundred fourteen people participated: 63 Republicans, 44 Democrats and seven independents.

The Democrats clearly fear Romney more than the other GOP prospects. More than one in three say Romney would beat Obama in Florida (even though several of them said the president would still win the national election without Florida), while only two Democrats said Rick Perry would beat Obama in Florida and just one Democrat said Herman Cain would win Florida's 29 electoral votes.

Among the Republicans, 49 said Romney would win Florida next November, 27 said Perry would beat Obama, and 19 said Cain. We did not ask about other Republican contenders far behind in the polls.

Romney is also the clear favorite to win Florida's Jan. 31 primary, with 82 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of Republicans and all the independents predicting the former Massachusetts governor will come out on top. Four Democrats and three Republicans said Perry will win the primary, while Cain was the choice of three Democrats and six Republicans. Two Republicans predicted Newt Gingrich will win Florida in January and one predicted Jon Huntsman.

Reasons for the Florida Republicans to be slightly more pessimistic about the GOP's chances next year? Insiders cited the power of the incumbency, a nominee damaged by the primary, and expectations that Romney would be relatively weak among Hispanic voters.

The list of the 114 survey participants can be found on The Buzz blog:

Iorio talks book, 2014

Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio is on Political Connections on Bay News 9 today talking about her new book, Straightforward: Ways to Live and Lead, and doing her best to avoid questions about running for governor in 2014. She does not rule it out. Political Connections airs at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Huntsman is in town

Huntsman is expected for a fundraising reception in Dunedin this afternoon at the home of Bruce and Deidra Living-ston, the parents of his son-in-law.

Rubio could seal deal

Why do Republicans want U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio on the presidential ticket? Fresh evidence came last week from a Suffolk University poll. If Rubio were a running mate, the Republican presidential candidate would secure 46 percent of the vote in Florida to President Barack Obama's 41 percent.

"We'll never know, will we?" Rubio responded, dismissing the VP chatter. "It's all very interesting, but I'm going to serve in the U.S. Senate."

The poll also asked voters about the controversy over Rubio's telling of his parents' immigration from Cuba. (They came to Miami before Fidel Castro took over, not after as his website said.) Forty-one percent of voters said Rubio exaggerated the story, while 26 percent said he told the truth.

Poll: Scott, Sink even

More bad polling news for Gov. Rick Scott: That same Suffolk University poll found just 26 percent of Florida voters rated his performance as "positive and productive," while 37 percent rated it "negative and damaging."

Even worse news for former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink: Despite Scott's lousy numbers, Suffolk found she was essentially tied with Scott, with 37 percent saying they would vote for her and 36 percent for Scott.

Constance Humburg and Alex Leary contributed to this week's Buzz. Follow Adam Smith on Twitter at @adamsmithtimes.

Winner of the week

Rick Scott. Congratulations to the governor, who last week learned the name of a major region in the state he governs. It's called Tampa Bay. There are even several pro sports teams that use the name. "Does the region call itself the Tampa Bay region? Is that what it calls itself?" Gov. Scott asked last week while discussing the St. Petersburg Times' forthcoming name change to the Tampa Bay Times. Next week's lesson? The Panhandle.

Losers of the week

Rick Baker, Kathleen Shanahan and the other prominent Republicans who jumped aboard the Herman Cain team just as sexual harassment allegations engulfed the campaign. They may have the last laugh, though, as Cain's fundraising and poll numbers so far remain undamaged.

Florida GOP insiders unsure of winning state in 2012 presidential election 11/05/11 [Last modified: Sunday, November 6, 2011 12:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. New 6.2 magnitude earthquake centered in southern Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — The U.S. Geological Survey says the new earthquake to strike Mexico had a magnitude of 6.2 and was centered in the southern state of Oaxaca.

  2. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018


    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    Catcher Wilson Ramos connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sept. 20, 2017.
  3. Buccaneers-Vikings Scouting Report: Watching Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen


    No matter how much film we study, no matter how much data we parse, we just don't know how an NFL season will unfold.

    Four of tight end Kyle Rudolph's seven catches this season have come on third down, including this 15-yard touchdown in the Vikings' opener against the Saints. [Getty Images]
  4. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Sue Carlton: Job or family when a hurricane's coming — a very Florida conundrum


    It must seem as foreign to Northerners as shoveling snow is to those of us raised in the Sunshine State: The very-Florida conundrum of having to choose between work and family — between paycheck and personal safety — when a hurricane comes.

    A hurricane helps the rest of us acknowledge the police officers, paramedics, hospital personnel, public works employees and others who stay on the job despite the storm.