Polls point to a nail-biter election again in Florida

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PHOTO VIA THE WHITE HOUSE/FLICKR
  • Photo via The White House/Flickr
With just under two months until the Nov. 3 general election, new polls show little to no space in Florida between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

“For the record, we didn’t believe the overly rosy summer polls for Biden – who can forget Quinnipiac’s 13 percent margin for Biden in highly competitive Florida, for example (the pollster’s more recent survey has it at Biden +3),” Larry Sabato, J. Miles Coleman and Kyle Kondik wrote Thursday for Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a political prognostication site from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “Trump has proven a hundred times that his base will stick with him through thick and thin, and so will other Republicans and GOP-leaning independents in this highly partisan and polarized era.”



On Wednesday, St. Petersburg-based St. Pete Polls found Biden up 49.6 percent to 47.1 percent.

Meanwhile, an NBC News/Marist College poll out Tuesday had Trump and Biden each at 48 percent among likely voters and Trump up 48 percent to 47 percent among registered voters.
Trump and Biden were both viewed slightly more unfavorably than favorably by voters, according to NBC News/Marist. Trump got better marks on handing the economy, while Biden was given more favorable marks on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and race relations.



Last week, Quinnipiac University rolled out a poll that showed Biden ahead in the race by a margin of 48 percent to 45 percent. However, with a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points, the contest was virtually a statistical dead heat.

EARLY VOTING GAMES

Miami-Dade County voters won’t get a chance to perform their civic duty where the Miami Heat play, while Hillsborough and Orange counties have added pro stadiums to their early voting locations.

Orange County, Orlando and Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles agreed last week to open the Amway Center, used by the Orlando Magic, for early voting.

“With the NBA, they’re so influential in the lives of our young adults and our teens,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said in a prepared statement. “With some of our young adults, this is going to be the first time they’ve ever voted in a presidential election.”

Before the county’s Oct. 19 through Nov. 1 early voting period, the center will be opened Sept. 22 for a voter registration drive.

The Miami Heat also sought to make AmericanAirlines Arena part of the voting process, but Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a Republican running against Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, favored the nearby Frost Science Museum because of easier access to a public transit station.

The Heat and Magic had offered their facilities as part of an NBA campaign to use team venues for voting sites in the 2020 elections. The offers are part of a larger effort focused on increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement and advocating for criminal-justice reform.

“To say we are disappointed is a huge understatement,” the Heat said in a statement after Gimenez’s decision.

“The arena is clearly a better site, with more visibility, more space, and more parking,” the statement said. “But to the extent that forces involved in making this decision think this will quiet our voice on the critical importance of voting, they should know that we will not be deterred. The Miami Heat stand with the NBA and NBPA in their efforts surrounding voting. We will continue to make our voices heard and encourage Heat fans everywhere to vote.”

While Tampa doesn’t have an NBA team, Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer partnered Tuesday with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tampa Sports Authority to make Raymond James Stadium the 26th site where county residents can cast ballots early.

“Increasing voter registration and participation is an essential part of our player-led social justice initiative and we look forward to playing a vital role in helping our community exercise its right to vote,” Tampa Bay Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford said in a statement.

PASS THE HAT

Against a coronavirus pandemic backdrop, Gov. Ron DeSantis and members of the Florida Cabinet have been mostly quiet in fundraising this summer.

But Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s Florida Consumers First political committee is hoping to draw some more attention and dollars for her party.

An email to Fried’s supporters on Tuesday said all money raised by the committee in September will go to Democratic candidates “up and down the ballot.”

“To turn Florida blue, we have to vote for Democrats at every level of government —- from Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris to our mayoral and state legislative candidates who are committed to the same Democratic values we are,” Fried, who has been dangling the prospect of a gubernatorial run in 2022, said in the email.

Fried drew $21,780 in donations in August after raising $20,370 in July.

Treasure Florida, the committee of Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, raised $22,050 in August.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s committee, Friends of Ashley Moody, raised $13,000 in the month.

DeSantis’ committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, brought in only $276.18 —- all from interest on a bank account —- in August.

TWEET OF THE WEEK: “Meanwhile, Gov. DeSantis, a supposed constitutional originalist who often blasts ‘activist’ interpretations of the Constitution, is calling a Democratic lawmaker a hypocrite for suing to make sure he nominates to the Supreme Court someone who is constitutionally eligible.” – Tampa Bay Times political reporter Steve Contorno (@scontorno), referring to a legal battle about DeSantis’ appointment of Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Renatha Francis to the Supreme Court.

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