Saturday, August 14, 2010

If Florida is a “bellwether/swing” state, it has some bad news for Democrats

Is Florida seen as a bellwether state?  Could you reasonably say that, as Florida goes, so goes the nation?  If so, it's not providing encouraging news for Democrats. A new poll from Mason-Dixon Polling & Research provides even more evidence of 1994-ish hope and change:

The state's sagging economy and skepticism over the effects of the federal stimulus plan are resulting in the worst ever approval ratings for Gov. Charlie Crist -- a hit to his independent bid for Senate, according to a new poll released Friday.

It's the lowest job rating posted by a Florida governor in 16 years.

The same slide is evident for President Barack Obama -- who arrives in Panama City beach Saturday on his latest Gulf oil spill visit. The poll shows Obama's job approval rating dropping ``significantly'' to 41 percent.

Just 44 percent of the 625 registered voters in the Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey gave Crist “excellent'' or “good'' ratings -- the first time the perennially popular governor has hit below 50 percent, pollster Brad Coker said. Crist's positive rating slid from 51 percent in May.

Crist's ratings are still above the last gubernatorial low point: then-Gov. Lawton Chiles had a 38 percent job rating in July 1994.

Generally speaking, a favorability ranking below 50% is a harbinger of peril for incumbents.  But Crist isn’t seeking reelection—he’s seeking a Senate seat as an Independent, and he was elected to the Governor’s Mansion as a Republican. 

While garnering only 44% of those surveyed doesn’t bode well for Charlie, the prognosis for November could get even worse. There are still party primaries to be held, and once those are done the party bases will solidify behind party candidates. The mushy middle is the battleground, and they are split right down the middle.  A likely scenario in Florida is that Democrats rally around their eventual candidate; Republicans rally around Marco Rubio, and independents go for the candidate most reflective of their views.  And on the major policy issues of the day, The M-D poll shows Crist is on the wrong side of almost every one of them. 

So why does this bode poorly for Democrats?  Because Florida’s support for Barack Obama and the numbers to Crist are almost identical. Despite the state run media’s naysaying, the 2010 election is absolutely shaping up to be a referendum on Obama and his agenda.  Crist supported the abominable stimulus, which has failed Florida as badly as it failed the rest of the nation.  Crist spoke out against the Arizona Immigration Law.  Independents support it.

As Florida goes, so goes the nation, and it’s not going well for the Democrats.

Gimme some feedback in the comments.