TAMPA — Vice President Joe Biden was in South Florida Friday to appear at a Democratic fundraiser and to campaign for Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek. Next Friday the Very Most Reverend Al Gore, Archbishop of the First Church of Climate Hysteria, will be in Tampa to give Meek his blessing.
Kendrick, running third in all polls behind conservative Republican Marco Rubio and all-things-to-all-voters Florida Governor Charlie Crist (I-Charlie), must really be desperate. Perhaps Meek and his handlers actually think having a guy who thinks FDR addressed the nation on television and another guy who thinks the sea will soon cover Florida again will help win votes for Meek.
Meek did get a bump when the still popular (with Democrats) former President Billy Bob Clinton campaigned for him a few weeks back. (Win one for The Groper.) But it’s hard to imagine that these last two B-list bunglers will win the hearts of any but aged-in-the-barrel leftists, a minority of voters in Florida. And these guys and gals were already on Team Meek.
Across the board the conservative cause looks solid in Florida a month and change from Election Day. Rubio, who has run on the platform of pushing for a conservative revival in national politics, enjoys leads of between 10 and 16 percent in polls that survey likely voters. Republican candidates for the state’s cabinet offices — attorney general, CFO, and commissioner of agriculture — all are more conservative than their Democratic opponents. And they all hold small poll leads, though there are a large number of undecideds in each of these races. Republicans hold large majorities in both houses of the Florida Legislature, and this won’t change after November.
Only in the governor’s race is the Democratic candidate making a serious challenge. Even here a Rasmussen Poll of likely voters shows conservative Republican Rick Scott with a six-point lead. Mason-Dixon gives Democrat Alex Sink a seven-point lead. Until she was in a state-wide race in center-right Florida, Sink, a former banker, was fond of talking about how comprehensively wonderful Barack Obama’s ideas were for the nation.
We haven’t heard much about the wisdom of Obama lately from Sink. No surprise as Obama’s approval ratings in Florida fight to stay above 40 percent. ObamaCare is nearly as popular in Florida as trench foot. Scott’s campaign features conservative themes of government frugality and tough immigration measures. His TV ads tie Sink to Obama and his programs. Rasmussen, who has done well in calling Florida elections, calls the Florida governor’s race a “leans Republican.”
Looking at all the numbers in the last Rasmussen poll, released September 15, will give some idea on how difficult it would be for Crist to overtake Rubio. The headline numbers are 41 percent say they will vote for Rubio Nov. 2, 30 percent for Crist, and 21 percent for Meek. The situation may be worse for Crist than these number imply.
Fully 80 percent of respondents who favor Rubio say they’re sure he will be their man on Nov. 2. Of those who favor Meek, 69 percent they are sure he will be their choice, up from 48 percent from the previous survey. But only 45 percent of Crist backers say they are certain he will still be their choice on Nov. 2. Apparently Crist supporters are nearly as likely to change candidates as Crist is to change his positions on major issues.
Other findings in the poll, with an error margin of four percent, conclude Rubio has the support of 72 percent of Republicans while only 45 percent of Democrats support Meek. Crist has support from 33 percent of Democrats and 19 percent of Republicans. Only among independents, fewer than one in five voters in Florida, did Crist enjoy an edge at mid-month. Rasmussen showed Crist with the support of 42 percent of unaligned voters, Rubio 27 percent, and Meek 24.
A more recent Mason Dixon poll, released Saturday, shows Rubio ahead of Crist 38 to 27 even among independents. Meek gets 20 percent of the unpartied. The “I would vote for” numbers in the new Mason Dixon are Rubio 40 percent, Crist 28, and Meek 23. There’s no run-off in this race, so the guy with the most votes wins, even if he receives less than a majority. This year, Rubio is almost certainly that guy.
Rubio holds a commanding lead in polls because he’s tapped into the indignation of Floridians against an over-reaching federal government presided over by a dreamy, leftist president and an aggressive Democratic Congress that holds public opinion in contempt. In 2008 Floridians voted for a guy who promised hope and change with few specifics. The way that turned out, they aren’t likely to do it again.
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