Four in 1o veteran Florida politicos think Hurricane Michael will hurt Republican Ron DeSantis’ gubernatorial campaign, and nearly 30 percent expect the same for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson’s re-election prospects.
The candidates most in the spotlight before, during and after Michael hit north Florida, Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum overwhelmingly — especially Scott — drew strong marks for their response to the storm. Seventy-seven percent expected the storm to help Scott's campaign, and more than six in 10 expected it to help Gillum, at least somewhat.
"Rick Scott can thank Hurricane Michael for the boost he needed at just the right time," one Democrat said of the governor, who stopped overtly campaigning after Michael hit.
"Rick Scott will carry Ron DeSantis on his coat tails," predicted a Republican. "I think Floridians deeply appreciate basic competence in the Governor's mansion, and Hurricane Michael did a lot to remind voters that competence matters."
Florida Insider Polls are unscientific surveys of political professionals, money-raisers, political scientists and others closely involved in the political process. They reflect conventional wisdom among Florida's political elites rather than public opinion.
We allow anonymity to encourage honest assessments from people closely involved in the process or, in quite a few cases, actually working for the campaigns in question.
Fifty-six percent of the Insiders surveyed this week. expect Scott will unseat Sen. Bill Nelson, and 44 percent expect Nelson to win a fourth term.
"Rick Scott favorablity ratings historically increase after a natural disaster in Florida as he appears to have a well-oiled machine to respond to these crises, Nelson is at a definite disadvantage here," a Republican said.
Several Democrats and Republicans downplayed the significance of the storm on the race.
"This hurricane was a big one but impacts a small percentage of the population. Most Floridians aren't engaged," another Republican said. "The Supreme Court battle did more to move votes than the hurricane. That being said Gov Scott showed off his leadership skills during this hurricane. That and his money will push him across the line. In order for Gillum to win, he needs a plus 2 D turnout. That hasn't happened in decades. DeSantis wins in a squeaker and the Democrats are demoralized for another 20 years. "
Nearly 63 percent of the Insiders expected Gillum to win the governor's race, and 37 percent DeSantis.
"This election is difficult to poll," said a Democrat. : I've done tons of polls. We always poll the usual suspects that always vote. Gillum seems to be bringing out new voters. We don't poll them, so I'm arbitrarily and capriciously adding 1-2 points to all Democratic Statewide candidates."
Asked about the prospects of a "blue wave" helping Democrats up and down the ballot, nearly two thirds predicted a small one, 7 percent a big one, 24 percent none at all, and 3 percent a red wave helping Republicans
" IF there is a Blue Wave it will be mostly in large urban areas where Gillum won the Dem nomination," one Democrat said. But, we'll have to wait and see if the rural conservative Dem and Repub voters come out as well in retaliation to the Kavanaugh circus, the proposed $1 billion increase in taxes by Gillum, and the other radical concepts advanced by the Dem's like legalization of marijuana, which isn't yet a deciding wedge issue."
"Democrats blew it on Kavanaugh and showed abject ugly partisanship that nearly destroyed a man," a Republican said. "Rule of law still matters to most Americans. The hurricane may hurt GOP turnout, but that is the only danger or benefit any politician will get from Michael."
Two thirds expected the Amendment 4 ballot question restoring voting rights to many ex-felons will pass.
Three out of four expected Democrats to gain at least one state Senate seat.\
The participants in this Insider Poll included:
Sam Bell, Lester Abberger, Joseph Abruzzo, Erin Aebel, Tom Alte, Jason Altmire, Fernand Amandi, Donna Arduin, Dave Aronberg, Brad Ashwell, Brian Ballard, Ryan Banfill, Christina Barker, Scott Barnhart, Dick Batchelor, Ashley Bauman, Alan Becker, Geoffrey Becker, Wayne Bertsch, Ron Bilbao, David Bishop, Barney Bishop Iii, Greg Blair, Katie Bohnett, Rick Boylan, Paul Bradshaw, Dale Brill, Alex Burgos, Dominic M. Calabro, Christian Camara, Bernie Campbell, Kristy Campbell, Bill Carlson, Chip Case, Betty Castor, Chris Cate, Kevin Cate, Mitch Ceasar, Jill Chamberlin, Jim Cherry, Alan Clendenin, Brad Coker, David Colburn, Mike Colodny, Hunter Conrad, Gus Corbella, Brian Crowley, Husein Cumber, Darrick D. Mcghee, Jim Davis, Justin Day, Hayden Dempsey, Lourdes Diaz, Pablo Diaz, Víctor Dimaio, Doc Dockery, Brett Doster, John Dowless, Bob Doyle, Barry Edwards, Eric Eikenberg, Mike Fasano, Peter Feaman, Cesar Fernandez, Mark Ferrulo, Damien Filer, Marty Fiorentino, Mark Foley, Kirk Fordham, Pamela Burch Fort, Towson Fraser, Ellen Freidin, John French, Jack Furnari, Eduardo Gamarra, Wayne Garcia, Dan Gelber, Julia Gill Woodward, Susan Glickman, Alma Gonzalez, Adam Goodman, Pamela Goodman, Cindy Graves, Ron Greenstein, Joe Gruters, Ron Gunzburger, Mike Hamby, Marion Hammer, Mike Hanna, Abel Harding, Matt Harringer, Chris Hartline, Rich Heffley, Bill Helmich, Ann Herberger, Max Herrle, Mike Hightower, Jim Horne, Aubrey Jewett, Christina Johnson, David Johnson, Eric Johnson, Jeff Johnson, Ken Jones, Stafford Jones, Eric Jotkoff, Doug Kaplan, Henry Kelley, Omar Khan, John Konkus, Jeff Kottkamp, Kartik Krishnaiyer, Stephanie Kunkel, Bill Lee, Alan Levine, Tom Lewis, Jose Mallea, Al Maloof, Javier Manjarres, Roly Marante, William March, Beth Matuga, Stephanie McClung, Nancy McGowan, Susan McGrath, Clarence McKee, Seth McKee, Frank Mirabella, Paul Mitchell, Travis Moore, Samuel Neimeiser, Meredith O'Rourke, Stephanie Owens, Brandon Patty, Darryl Paulson, Anthony Pedicini, Juan Peñalosa, Kirk Pepper, Evelyn Perez-Verdia, Rachel Perrin Rogers, Joe Perry, Sean Phillippi, Fred Piccolo, Gretchen Picotte, Ron Pierce, Bob Poe, Evan Power, David Rancourt, Marc Reichelderfer, George Riley, Jim Rimes, Franco Ripple, Monica Rodriguez, Jason Roth, Sarah Rumpf, Ron Sachs, Steve Schale, Tangela Sears, Alex Setzer, Stephen Shiver, Bud Shorstein, Alex Sink, Patrick Slevin, Susan Smith, Sharon Smoley, John Stemberger, Alan Stonecipher, Kevin Sweeny, Jim Towey, Greg C. Truax, Frank Tsamoutales, Steve Uhlfelder, Jason Unger, Greg Ungru, Matthew Van Name, Steven Vancore, Anthony Verdugo, Ashley Walker, Peter Wallace, Nancy Watkins, Robert Watkins, Kevin Watson, John Wehrung, Andrew Weinstein, Susie Wiles, Rick Wilson, Zachariah Zachariah, Christian Ziegler, Anna Cruz, Chris Korge, Jackie Lee, Andy Ford, Rick Asnani, Fred Karlinsky, April Schiff, Jon M. Ausman, Joshua Karp, Steve Geller, Pat Neal, Rodney Barreto, Phillip Thompson, Jamie Wilson, Scott Peelen, Jack Levine, Screven Watson, Ron Greenstein, Reggie Cardozo, Slater Bayliss, Jamie Miller, Chris Hand, Matthew Isbell, Robert Wexler, Terrie Rizzo, Brad Herold, Richard Swann, Matthew Corrigan, Harold Mills, Pte Dunbar, Roger Austin, Caroline Rowland, Karl Koch, Cory Tilley