Notes For Thursday, October 31, 2002

McBride Poll: Bush 48%, McBride 45%

The race has closed to within the margin of error based on a McBride campaign survey taken on Monday and Tuesday nights of this week, with Jeb Bush getting 48% of the vote and Bill McBride receiving 45% of the vote (these proportions include voters who lean toward the candidates), and the remaining 7% of voters saying that they are undecided. The gap that had been seven percentage points in McBride's survey taken over the weekend has closed to just three points with less than a week to go.

McBride is holding a strong lead among the core Democratic constituencies (he leads among Democrats by 85% to 7% and among African Americans by 84% to 8%) and, for the first time, he has opened up a double-digit lead among independent voters (48% to 38%).

(Garin–Hart–Yang Research interviewed 608 likely Florida voters on October 26 and 27 and an additional 604 likely Florida voters on October 28 and 29. Each survey has a standard statistical margin of sampling error of ±4.1%). 11:33 AM

From the UK's Telegraph: "To win, Bill McBride must re-build that angry Jewish-black-immigrant coalition of 2000. But time is fast running out." 6:05 AM

An interesting piece on where the national parties have put their money. For the Dems, it hasn't been Florida. 6:02 AM

Oct 28 - 29 Poll: Bush 51%, McBride 43%, 5% undecided; 3.5% margin of error. Conducted Mason Dixon. 5:57 AM

Notes For Tuesday, October 29, 2002

"Bush woos Christian Coalition" 6:02 AM

Cognitive Dissonance: On one hand, the Herald endorses Bush. Yet, on the other hand endorses Amendment No. 6, observing that it would be a cinch to fund: "Even if lawmakers eliminated just a tenth of the [sales tax] exemptions, there would be ample funds to pay for the initiative, particularly if the state uses bonds for long-term debt as it does with big-ticket items such as highway and school construction. Isn't educational improvement preferable to exemptions for ostrich feed and stadium skyboxes?"

Go figure. 5:18 AM

Notes For Monday, October 28, 2002

The Margin of Error:

Florida Today reports the following under the headline "Governor increases lead over McBride in new poll" (emphasis supplied):

"Bush leads McBride 52 percent to 45 percent, according to a poll conducted Oct. 22-24 by SurveyUSA for television stations WTLV/WJXX in Jacksonville and Gannett newspapers in Florida. The margin of error is 4 percent. Compared with a similar survey two weeks ago, Bush gained two points and McBride dropped two points. That poll showed Bush with 50 percent and McBride with 47 percent."

The headline "Governor Increases Lead" misrepresents what is meant by the "margin of error" and erroneously credits Bush with increasing his "lead". The percentage of people who say they support Bush is within 4 points of the percentage who said they supported Bush in the previous poll (52% to 50). Same goes for McBride ( 47%) So statistically, there is no change from the previous poll. Bush has made no measurable improvement on his lead over McBride.

More on the margin of error here, as well as in a more lengthy pdf piece here.
6:05 AM

Oct 22 - 24 Poll: Bush 52%, McBride 45%, 3% undecided; 4% margin of error. Conducted by SurveyUSA 6:02 AM

Trotting out crime victims was one of "a string of Bush campaign events this month that offered existing ideas as new proposals." Article. 5:32 AM

More Newspaper Endorsements: The News Chief of Winter Haven and The Ledger of Lakeland endorsed John Ellis Bush.

McBride was endorsed by Florida Today. the Bradenton Herald and The Gainesville Sun.

As of Sunday, McBride had ten endorsements to Bush's eight. 5:21 AM

Notes For Sunday, October 27, 2002

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A software company run by Neil Bush, a younger brother of Gov. Jeb Bush, hopes to sell a program to Florida schools that students would use to prepare for the test that is key to the governor's education policy. . . . Neil Bush gained notoriety as director of the Silverado Savings & Loan in Colorado, whose failure cost taxpayers $1 billion and led to a grand jury investigation during the term of his father, President George H.W. Bush. Neil Bush was never charged." 3:44 PM

Palm Beach Post endorses McBride. Strong stuff:

"When candidate Jeb Bush campaigned in 1998, he said, 'lorida can do better.'Thanks to the work of his Democratic predecessor, he inherited a budget surplus of roughly $2 billion. Florida was poised to do better, even to do great things. Instead, Gov. Bush squandered the surplus on tax cuts that have returned nothing for the state. Having made lower taxes for a few corporations and the wealthiest 4.5 percent of Floridians his priority, the governor provided slogans and gimmicks that he hoped would fulfill his campaign pledge." 9:19 AM

A Surprise: Sarasota Herald Tribune endorses McBride. 9:12 AM

The I-4 Corridor Thing: Although today's St Petersburg Times and Sentinel polls are not great news for McBride (he remains 6 to 8% behind), there is an interesting disparity in the polls about what is going on in the I-4 corridor. The St Petersburg poll has Bush ahead by 15 points in the "bay area" and by 18% in central Florida (with undecideds at 5 and 8% respectively). The Sentinel poll, however, has Bush ahead by only 5% in central Florida. Hence, although the polls reach roughly similar results statewide (a 6 to 8& Bush lead), it is significant that in the swing I-4 corridor the polls' numbers are so different: a substantial 15 to 18% Bush lead (St Pete Times) or a mere 5% Bush lead (Sentinel); the radical difference suggests a sample difference and otherwise shows the difficulty of spot polling in Florida with its diverse regions. In any event, one suspects the McBride camp would be pleased by the 5% central Florida number. 7:18 AM

Marquez: Bush has no right to complain about McBride's ads. 7:11 AM

Oct 22 - 25 Poll: Bush 49%, McBride 43%, 7% undecided; 4% margin of error. Conducted by Florida Voter. 7:09 AM

Oct 23 - 25 Poll: Bush 51%, McBride 43%, 6% undecided; 3.5% margin of error. Conducted by Schroth & Associates. 7:04 AM

Bush Endorsed By Republican Party Stalwarts: The Sun Sentinel joins The Tampa Tribune and the Miami Herald in endorsing Bush. Ne real surprise with these endorsements; these editorial boards are always in the Rebublican camp. However, disappointing to the McBride camp will be today's Orlando Sentinel endorsement of Bush; it was perhaps too much to hope that the Orlando paper would be any different than its Tampa, Broward and Miami bretheren. 6:48 AM

Notes For Saturday, October 26, 2002

"Statement about Paul Wellstone

Paul Wellstone was one of a kind. He was a man of principle and conviction, in a world that has too little of either. He was dedicated to helping the little guy, in a business dominated by the big guys. We who had the privilege of working with him hope that he will be remembered as he lived every day: as a champion for people." 9:07 AM

McBride launches "Devious Plans" Ad. The Tampa Tribune doesn't care . . . and endorses Bush because they "worry about his wide range of liberal preferences." This was hardly a surprise from the newspaper that lives in the shadow of the St Petersburg Times. 9:05 AM

"Dramatic New Ad" by McBride:

"McBride, the Democratic nominee for governor, launched a dramatic new ad statewide on Friday. It presents footage of the governor praising McBride, videotaped for a 1999 awards ceremony at McBride's former law firm.

'He is one of the great Floridians of our time,' Bush said then of McBride." 9:02 AM

Curry comment backlash? 9:00 AM

Bush: McBride a threat to the enviroment. 8:57 AM

Panhandle Bill. 8:55 AM

Double Entendre: "The John Ellis Bush Revocable Trust". 8:52 AM

Independent Voters: "The survey underscores how important it is for Bush to hold onto his GOP base and independent voters — and for McBride to convince Democrats to show up at the polls on Nov. 5, said Joseph Shipman, director of election polling for the New Jersey-based SurveyUSA.

Bush is “doing well with the Republican base and independents, but a good Democrat turnout could shave off points,” Shipman said Friday.

Of Florida’s 8.7 million registered voters, 1.5 million are independent. SurveyUSA polls over the last month show wavering support for both Bush and McBride among independent voters.

In this most recent poll, McBride led among independent voters, 48 percent to 46 percent." 8:47 AM

Oct 22 - 24 Poll: Bush 52, McBride 45, remainder undecided; 4% margin of error. Conducted by SurveyUSA. 8:43 AM

Is McBride a "Bubba" or a Mr. Mom?

"On the day before Tuesday's last debate, the McBrides' housekeeper called in sick. With [his wife, Alex] Sink campaigning in Tallahassee, guess who had to load the dishwasher, pick up his son from school, and fight the rush hour traffic in Tampa to take his daughter to basketball practice?

Bubba McBride. That's who." 8:34 AM

Notes For Friday, October 25, 2002

Mike Thomas: McBride "Genuine". The Orlando Sentinel columnist says he "sat down in a room with Bill McBride for 90 minutes. He comes off better than when giving 90-second responses in a debate while Jeb Bush rolls his eyes in disbelief and makes finger horns behind his head."

Will (or did) the majority of the Sentinel editorial board have the same reaction?

Thomas continues: "If everyone in Florida sat down for a chat with him, McBride might win. . . .The problem is that people have grown cynical about packaged, political advertisements that portray candidates as sincere, honest, caring -- all things they obviously are not.

You can disagree with McBride and zing him for a lack of specifics -- as I've often done. But you can't deny he is one of the more genuine candidates we've had in a while.

Whether or not McBride pulls an upset depends somewhat on whether his campaign can convince cynical voters that what they are seeing is not a marketing image." 5:44 AM

About paying for the class size amandment, "I don't have to say," Bush insisted. "However, he [McBride] most certainly does.". Troxler. 5:38 AM

Taxes headline news about the McBride - Bush race in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.. 5:34 AM

John Ellis Bush stiffs veterans. 5:28 AM

Notes For Thursday, October 24, 2002

Oh Pleeeez . . . go back to your bunker. 7:11 PM

"Bush has big money lead over McBride"; hardly a surprise. More. 7:09 PM

"Voters who make up their minds at the last minute traditionally go for the challenger by about two to one." From The Economist, which has a lengthy article about the McBride - Bush race. 7:04 PM

Russert, as expected, was pathetic. 9:37 AM

The Sound and the Fury: Herald columnist Jim DeFede observes that "Curry's remarks not all wrong". 9:36 AM

MIAMI HERALD HIPOCRISY ALERT: About paying for the class size amendment, "Bush, at the same time, refused to say what taxes he would raise if the amendment passes -- although he is accusing McBride of misleading voters by not outlining a plan of his own." 9:32 AM

The Sentinel's "liberal" columnist, Myriam Marquez, always a John Ellis Bush supporter, tags McBride for not being "specific". Marquez, reading from the GOP playbook, as she so frequently does, is unfairly criticizing McBride for not being “specific” about how he would fund the class size amendment if it were approved by the Florida electorate. Although McBride says he will personally vote for the amendment, the amendment itself is not and never has been part of McBride’s education platform. Indeed, the distinguishing feature of McBride’s candidacy is that he, alone among the candidates, has specifically explained how he would fund his education proposals. And what is John Ellis Bush's answer (when he is being candid) about what he would do if the amendment passes: "devious" plans to subvert the will of the people. Heck, even the Miami Herald has noted the hipocrisy. 9:25 AM

Another piece on McBride "homespun" strategy. If this letter to the editor is any indication, the strategy is working:

"Character education

A lesson in character education was given to our "education governor" during the Tuesday night debate. I learned that Bill McBride may not score many points as a polished public figure, but he goes to the head of the class as a man to trust.

McBride says he trusts our teachers and is proud of their support; Jeb Bush touts skewed FCAT test results and cries union influence. Both candidates say the issue is leadership.

After last year's legislative clash of the Titan egos between men of the same party, we got to see firsthand how our governor leads, or hides. I also have seen the results of high-stakes testing in Florida schools. This is one Floridian ready for a change.

For the record, I am an Orange County teacher of 25 years. I am a native Floridian -- born and educated in the Sunshine State. I am not affiliated with any "union." And, for the record, I am not one of the five state teachers of the year Bush proudly brings up who support him.

R. E.
1988 Orange County Teacher of the Year
Orlando" 9:21 AM

"Grim GOP Poll": Republican party internal polling shows the following:

60 percent of voters favor the class-size initiative even when told it might cost
$30 billion.

65 percent believed Florida spends too little on schools.

32 percent believed Bush has cut school funding while in office. He claims spending on schools has increased $3 billion during his term. 9:18 AM

Notes For Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Orlando Sentinel: “McBride Hits a Solid stride in Final Debate”

Orlando Sentinel Political Editor Mark Silva's analysis of the debate leads with the following:

"Democrat Bill McBride delivered a forceful case for election as governor, coming at a critical juncture in his contest with Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, during a campaign-summing debate that placed two able contenders on an even footing.

In their third and final debate, McBride faced two crucial challenges -- both key to averting calamity in the face of the governor's apparent narrow advantage in the remaining two weeks of a nationally watched campaign.

The first was making a case that Bush doesn't deserve a second term, and that McBride, a Tampa-area attorney new to the political arena, is a worthy successor.

McBride delivered the message. Exuding a personal confidence and strength lacking in their first televised encounter, the Democrat succinctly staked his claim as a contender. . . .

But McBride pressed forward. And McBride needed this performance, a dramatic upgrade from his showing in their first televised debate Sept. 27.

. . . . Bush's most pointed assaults were deftly deflected by a ready rival." 8:18 AM

The Sun Sentinel Sentinel on the "Real Winner": But experts said McBride might have been the real winner because he held his own against Bush, performing as well or better than many had expected, using the debate to display his folksiness, military background and willingness to stand up for the average Floridian." 8:16 AM

Other Debate:Coverage:

- "With latest polls showing McBride narrowly trailing Bush, most pundits believed McBride needed a knockout punch last night to overtake the governor. That didn't happen, said Jeff Butler, associate professor of communications and longtime coach of the UCF debate team." Florida Times Union

- "McBride had his strongest performance of his three debates with Bush, said J.F. Butler, an associate professor of communications at the University of Central Florida. But the debate expert said Bush did a better job in non-verbal signals - such as eye contact and smiling at the appropriate times - and exhibited more specificity in his answers than McBride." Gainesville Sun.

- "Bill McBride bumbled a big opportunity Tuesday night." Miami Herald

- The Tampa Tribune, Tallahassee Democrat, Palm Beach Post and St Petersburg Times ran neutral articles.

- SPT times political editor Adam Smith writes that"The debate produced neither major gaffes nor big body blows." 7:22 AM

Notes For Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Political Blogs: Aside from the standards on the left (like Tapped, Altercation and Joe Conason's Journal) and the right (Andrew Sullivan), there are some worthwhile political blogs out there; it has been pointed out, however, that the left is as usual behind the curve. In any event, let's start with this progressive political blog: The Daily Kos. 3:45 PM

They Couldn't Resist: From the makers of Bush Watch, we have Jeb Watch. 3:38 PM

New Poll: Bush 49, McBride 44, remainder undecided. Conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research. 5:46 AM

Recent columns by Wallsten, Ruth, Nevins, and Hasterok on the Governor's race. 5:24 AM

Notes For Monday, October 21, 2002

There's something about Tim . . . unfortunately, its too late for McBride to decline Tim Russert's "moderation" of the next debate. Hopefully he'll do better than Putney did in the first debate. 8:05 PM

Joe Conason tells us "who, besides the candidate, is responsible for the missteps that are allowing McBride to catch Bush in Florida?" 8:02 PM

Tyler Bridges: McBride bristles at a Bush ad as he campaigns in Broward. 7:58 PM

Did They Watch The Same Debate? "McBride has acute grasp of issues", according to a Daytona Beach News-Journal headline. As usual, McBride comes off best in a small group setting (say, in speaking to an editorial board). 5:13 PM

More Newspaper Endorsements: As reported in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, the Vero Beach Press has endorsed John Ellis Bush, and the Tribune of Fort Pierce has endorsed McBride; the Fort Pierce endorsement is significant because it is the leading paper in St Lucie County, which was described today in the Miami Herald as a bellwether which "year after year, election after election, governor after governor, president after president, . . . [has] proven itself a winner." McBride has a clear lead in the endorsement race thus far, with three majors endorsing him (the St Petersburg Times, Tallahassee Democrat, and The Daytona-Beach News-Journal), as well as his childhood home town local paper, the Leesburg Daily Commercial and now the Fort Pierce Tribune. Bush, by contrast, has endorsements from two small newspapers, the Stuart News and the Vero Beach Press Journal. Bush can probably expect the Florida Times Union (Jax), the Miami Herald, the Pensacola News Journal and other, smaller, papers; the Palm Beach post may be leaning toward McBride. The remainder (particularly the Tampa Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel and the Sun Sentinel are toss ups).
4:56 PM

About Bush's Income Tax Threat: We will be closely monitoring the media's reaction (or non-reaction) to the propriety of Bush's recent advertisements wherein he suggests, to put it mildly, that McBride will create an income tax. Putting aside the absurdity of the claim - both politically and mechanically (there would have to be a referendum and change to the State constitution) - it will be interesting to see if Bush pays any price in the media for such a misleading claim. 8:53 AM

Newspapers Begin To Weigh In: McBride was endorsed this weekend by the first three major newspapers to endorse thus far: the St. Petersburg Times, the Tallahassee Democrat and The Daytona Beach News-Journal. McBride earlier received the endorsement of The Daily Commercial of Leesburg, his native city. Bush received the endorsement of the Stuart News. 8:49 AM

Notes For Saturday, October 19, 2002

Florida Republican Party to play the "busing" card in fighting the class size amendment. Not wanting to offend, Democrats respond with an apple pie contest. 9:13 AM

John Ellis Bush's style is to assert firm control. 9:08 AM

No wonder the Republicans are running things. Democrats just can't bring themselves to play hardball, with some quaking in their boots about calling Jerry Regier's appointment "radical right politics". I guess its OK for John Ellis Bush to refer to critics of Regier as bigots", as in "soft bigoty". Yet to refer to Bush's policies as "radical right" is off limits for some reason? 9:06 AM

DCF is back as a political issue, at least in the Palm Beach Post. 8:57 AM

Brogan: "Florida's economy is stable". Does that nean "the economy is funadamentally sound."? 8:55 AM

ABC's "The Note" is invaluable, if you can find the time to read it. ABC moves "the Florida governor race from Incumbent Party Favored to Toss-up." ABC's Governors Race ratings are here. 8:46 AM

Joe Conason writes aboutJohn Ellis Bush 8:37 AM

The Links page has been restructured; it now starts with an index (to Florida newspapers andd Florida pundits, with other categories to be added soon). Please advise of any sites worth linking. As far as Florida pundits go, the anonymous Grapefruit site, although infrequently updated, is always worth a look. 7:00 AM

Notes For Friday, October 18, 2002

Someone Had To Ask: "Why Was Jeb Not At Hearing" For Noelle? 7:17 AM

Misplaced Priorities: "Jeb Bush laid the foundation for his political vulnerability shortly after his election. He went into his first legislative session in 1999 with $3 billion in extra cash, thanks primarily to a robust economy and Florida's settlement with the tobacco companies. His priority was clear. He wanted a $1.25 billion tax cut, aimed mainly at businesses and wealthier residents." Read the complete Mike Thomas column. A list of Thomas' columns in the Orlando Sentinel is available here. 7:15 AM

Home Cooking? McBride receives the first newspaper endorsement 6:51 AM

"More worrisome for Bush, pollster John Zogby said in a television interview, was that when asked if their governor deserved a second term, only 45% of the Florida voters surveyed said yes, while 48% said they preferred 'someone new'", the LA Times reports. These numbers (apparently) come frim the previously reported October 8-10 Zogby poll. 6:36 AM

Notes For Thursday, October 17, 2002

From today's "The Note", from ABC, "McBride, whose quest to unseat the president's brother on Nov. 5 is gaining increasing attention across the nation, heads to Washington tonight for a fundraiser at the home of Georgetown socialite Elizabeth Bagley. Friday, he will collect more of the unregulated, unlimited contributions known as 'soft money' at a breakfast with former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey and a lunch with former President Bill Clinton." 5:41 PM

The National Media Is Waking Up: Washington Post writer David Von Drehle has a lengthy piece on McBride: "In Fla., McBride Is Down-Home, Up in the Polls". Howard Kurtz writes today that there is "A Bush On the Defensive", and notes that even John Ellis Bush's cousin, "John Ellis the former Fox News analyst, isn't optimistic". This on top of Howard Fineman's "Can Bush Resuciate Little Brother", among other articles, shows increasing national media interest in the Florida race. 9:29 AM

Give Him a Break, He's Not Dead Yet: Howard Fineman's mini-political bio of Jeb Bush reads like a funeral eulogy. The piece, titled "Can Bush Resuscitate Little Brother?", describes Mcbride as the Democrats' "dream candidate". 6:04 AM

Judicial Watch, a conservative "watchdog" group, sues Jeb Bush for alleged failure to turn over documents about DCF and Cuba. In its press release, Judicial Watch claims it is seeking to expose "hipocrisy" in that "[t]he Bush Brothers have long talked about strengthening restrictions on Cuba, yet both have looked the other way as U.S. agribusiness corporations, many of them big campaign contributors, sell millions of dollars worth of food to Communist Dictator and terrorist Fidel Castro." 5:51 AM

Notes For Monday, October 14, 2002

"A MSNBC/Zogby Poll released over the weekend showed Bush has the support of 48 percent of voters while McBride has the support of 45 percent. Seven percent of the 500 likely voters who were surveyed between Oct. 8 and Oct. 10 said they were undecided. The survey had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points, which places the race in a statistical dead heat. A poll taken last month by Zogby International had Bush leading McBride by 10 points." Full story. 9:01 PM

John Nichols' "Could Turnout Turn Jeb Out?" is worth a read. 8:49 AM

Notes For Sunday, October 13, 2002

Daniel Ruth's hypothetical question for John Ellis Bush: ""McBride's class reduction size proposal is pure phooey . . . just another typical, tax-and-spend, left-wing, pinko, commie, liberal attack on peace-loving Americans . . . because he thought it up, while yours is a stroke of enlightened statesmanship because, well, you say so"? More. 7:26 PM

Lucy Morgan writes sympathetically about Noelle Bush. 7:18 PM

According to national pundit Robert Novak, "[t]he endorsement by the Teamsters Wednesday of Democratic lawyer Bill McBride against the reelection of Republican Gov. Jeb Bush was a setback in the evolving political relationship between President Bush and Teamsters president James P. Hoffa." Read the story in the Manchester Union Leader. Jeb Bush had greater success with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, and its Florida affilliates, which endorsed Bush the week before last. The Carpenters, which recently left the AFL-CIO, and the Teamsters, which rejoined the AFL-CIO several years ago, have been flirting with the Republican party since W took office.
6:53 PM

Who's on first? 7:36 AM

Notes For Saturday, October 12, 2002

Recent polling shows the race tightening and trending in McBride's favor. Several weeks ago, several polls had McBride 6 points behind. An October 2-5 poll by Insider Advantage showed McBride closing the gap to 5% (Bush 47%, Mcbride 42%). The most recent numbers (Oct 8-7), a Survey USA poll, show McBride behind by 3 points (Bush 50%, Mcbride 47%). Mcbride has cut Bush's 6% lead in half, and is well within the margin of error. 10:27 AM

Oct 8-7 Poll: Bush 50, McBride 47, remainder undecided; 4.0% margin of error. 10:20 AM

Charley Reese, a retired Orlando Sentinel columnist, who was nationally syndicated, provides one conservative's view on the president and the looming war with Iraq. 7:13 AM

Notes For Friday, October 11, 2002

It is unclear what the Orlando Sentinel meant when Brogan was described in a piece today about the Brogan-Rossin debate as "Bush's first choice". Tom Feeney was Bush's first running mate (in the Chiles race), and Sandy Mortham was Bush's initial Lt Gov choice in the McKay race. Doesn't that make Brogan "Bush's third choice"? 7:14 AM

Notes For Thursday, October 10, 2002

Dyckman: Jeb Bush = Huey Long? 10:24 AM

Oct 2-5 Poll: Bush 47, McBride 42, remainder undecided; 4.5% margin of error. 8:49 AM

Site redesign. 7:15 AM

Notes For Friday, October 04, 2002

Charley Reese, a retired Orlando Sentinel columnist, who was nationally syndicated, provides one conservative's view on the looming war with Iraq. 7:36 PM