New Florida Chamber of Commerce Statewide Poll Shows Presidential Race Too Close to Call in Florida

 

Rubio/Murphy Locked in a Tight Race; Amendments Would Pass if Election Were Today

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (September 26, 2016) – As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump make final preparations for their first presidential debate tonight, the latest Florida Chamber Political Institute (FCPI) statewide poll shows the presidential race too close to call. Florida remains a tossup state between Clinton and Trump.

“Floridians don’t like either candidate at the top of the ticket, therefore it’s important that both candidates work to connect with voters tonight when they will have the nation’s attention during the presidential debate,” said MARIAN JOHNSON, Senior Vice President of Political Operations. “Presidential debates offer candidates an opportunity to make solid gains and to improve their outcome at the ballot box. I believe Floridians will be watching the candidates closely to learn more about them, and to help determine which way they will vote.”

In addition to their dislike of Clinton and Trump, Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy are locked in a tight race, while political parties and billboard trial lawyers continue to be disliked by voters.

 

Politicians, Parties, and Plaintiff Trial Lawyers are Mostly Disliked:

poling_092616

 

Key Facts About Florida Voters:

  • Jobs and the economy remain the number one concern among Florida voters at 19 percent, followed by education and schools at 12 percent.
  • Florida voters are more optimistic that Florida is moving in the right direction – 44 percent right direction and 36 percent wrong direction.

 

Head-to-Head Matchups:

Presidential Election:
While Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 45 percent to 42 percent in the head-to-head General Election matchup, the Florida Chamber Political Institute statewide poll shows Clinton’s lead shrinks when third party candidates are added to the mix. Clinton leads Trump 43 percent to 41 percent with Libertarian Gary Johnson pulling 8 percent of the vote.

 

Presidential Ticket:

  • Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine 43%
  • Donald Trump/Mike Pence 41%
  • Gary Johnson/Bill Weld 8%
  • Someone Else 2%
  • Undecided 5%
  • Refused 1%

 

South Florida Problem:

  • Trump continues to struggle in South Florida, trailing nearly 20 points in each media market.
    • In a head-to-head race, Clinton leads Trump 56 percent to 25 percent in Miami, while in a three-way race including Gary Johnson, Clinton leads 56 percent to 31 percent for Trump and 3 percent for Gary Johnson.
    • In a head-to-head race, Clinton leads Trump 53 percent to 32 percent in West Palm Beach, while in a three-way race including Gary Johnson, Clinton leads 52 percent to 34 percent for Trump and 5 percent for Johnson.

 

Demographics:

  • Hillary Clinton is helped with her commanding lead among Hispanic voters.
    • In a head-to-head race with Trump, Clinton leads among Hispanic voters 53 percent to 30 percent.
    • In a three-way race including Gary Johnson the Libertarian, Clinton leads among Hispanic voters 49 percent to 30 percent for Trump and 12 percent for Johnson.
  • Hilary Clinton has an impressive lead among African American voters.
    • In a head-to-head race with Trump, Clinton leads among African American voters 89 percent to 4 percent.
    • In a three-way race including Gary Johnson the Libertarian, Clinton leads among African American voters 88 percent to 4 percent for Trump and 1 percent for Johnson.
  • Donald Trump has a strong lead among White voters and it does not move much when adding a third party
    • In a head-to-head race with Clinton, Trump leads among White voters 51 percent to 35 percent.
    • In a three-way race including Gary Johnson the Libertarian, Trump leads among White voters 51 percent to 34 percent for Clinton and 8 percent for Johnson.
  • A gender gap still exists – Trump leads among men and Clinton is dominating among women
    • In a head-to-head race with Clinton, Trump leads among men 47 percent to 42 percent, and in a three-way race he leads with men 45 percent to 41 percent to 9 percent for Gary Johnson.
    • In a head-to-head race with Trump, Clinton leads among women 47 percent to 37 percent, and in a three-way race, Clinton leads with women 46 percent to 38 percent to 7 percent for Johnson.
  • Clinton and Trump each do equally well with their bases
    • Clinton earns the support of 78 percent of Democrats in a head-to-head with Trump and 76 percent of Democrats in a three-way contest with Gary Johnson.
    • Trump earns the support of 76 percent of Republicans in a head-to-head with Clinton and 76 percent of the vote in a three-way contest with Gary Johnson.
  • Clinton leads Trump among voters from minor parties or who are unaffiliated
    • In a head-to-head race with Trump, Clinton leads among other parties 47 percent to 38 percent.
    • Clinton increases her lead slightly among other parties 45 percent to 35 percent over Trump, with Gary Johnson receiving 9 percent among voters from minor parties or who have no party affiliation.

 

U.S. Senate:
Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy are locked in a race that will be tight until Election Day.

  • Marco Rubio 46%
  • Patrick Murphy 42%
  • Undecided 11%
  • Refused 1%

 

Demographics:

  • Marco Rubio continues to lead Patrick Murphy as he has in every FCPI poll – a credit to his strength among demographic groups.
    • Rubio leads Murphy 46 percent to 43 percent among Hispanic voters
    • Murphy leads Rubio 79 percent to 11 percent among African American voters
    • Rubio leads Murphy 53 percent to 35 percent among White voters
    • Rubio leads Murphy with men and barely trails him among women
      • Rubio leads Murphy 49 percent to 41 percent among men.
      • Murphy only leads Rubio by 2 points among women, 44 percent to 42 percent.
    • Rubio’s lead among votes from other parties mirrors his lead in the general election (4 percent). Rubio leads Murphy 42 percent to 38 percent among voters from minor parties or who have no party affiliation.

 

Amendment 1:

If the election were held today, it appears more than 65 percent of voters would support the passage of Amendment 1 which protects the rights of electricity consumers regarding solar energy choice.

  • Yes 66%
  • No 16%

 

“The Florida Chamber supports the solar energy policies in Amendment 1 and it appears Florida voters do too,” said MARK WILSON, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

 

Amendment 2:

If the election were held today, it appears more than 70 percent of voters would support the passage of Amendment 2 which permits the use of marijuana for debilitating medical conditions.

  • Yes 73%
  • No 22%

 

Amendment 3:

If the election were held today, it appears more than 85 percent of voters would support the passage of Amendment 3 which provides a tax exemption for totally and permanently disabled first responders.

  • Yes 85%
  • No 7%

 

Amendment 5:

If the election were held today, it appears 80 percent of voters would support the passage of Amendment 5 which provides a homestead tax exemption for certain senior low income, long term residents.

  • Yes 80%
  • No 9%

 

 

ABOUT THIS POLL:
The Florida Chamber of Commerce political poll was conducted on September 15-20, 2016 by Cherry Communications during live telephone interviews of likely voters, and has a margin of error of +/-4 percent. The sample size included 263 Democrats, 250 Republicans and 104 Others for a total of 617 respondents statewide. The samples for the polls conducted by the Florida Chamber are consistently drawn from likely voters and newly registered voters, meaning those voters who have the propensity and past performance of voting in elections, rather than simply including registered voters.  Voters are again screened for likelihood of voting.

 

 

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Florida Supreme Court Approves Marijuana Amendment

Just minutes ago, the Florida Supreme Court issued their ruling on what is commonly referred to as the “John Morgan Marijuana Amendment.” The Florida Supreme Court ruled the initiative petition, ballot title and summary satisfy the legal requirement and is therefore constitutional, which means the amendment can be placed on the 2016 ballot, providing other requirements are met.

The amendment “Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions” still must reach the threshold of 683,149 verified signatures from 14 of Florida’s congressional district by February 1, 2016.  Currently, the effort has 400,032 of those verified signatures; however, they have reached their quota in only three congressional districts.

The significance of having this amendment on the 2016 ballot is huge. Our polling shows this amendment will most likely pass as Florida voters are compassionate about this issue and want people with debilitating diseases to have relief. And when we dissect the crosstabs, we find voters between the ages of 18-29, those over 65 and Democrats are most likely to vote for this amendment.

Let’s face it; Florida is the gateway to the White House. In presidential election years, voter turnout is approximately 25 percent higher than in non-presidential years, increasing from 45 percent to more than 70 percent. In the past, the younger voters have needed a reason to go to the polls. What better reason in a presidential year to turn out the younger voters and increase the 65+ voters than to have a constitutional amendment on the ballot?  You broke the code:  it is a voter turnout mechanism.

Should this amendment make it on the 2016 ballot, it will change the dynamics of the elections.

We are in for quite a ride.  So stay tuned and take care,

Marian

Medical Marijuana in Florida?

BY SUSAN REVELLO

Is the grass greener on the other side of Amendment 2?

Florida, a hot state to begin with, will be even hotter come Nov. 4.

Voters will be deciding whether to approve an amendment to the constitution legalizing medical marijuana. Known as Amendment 2 it has proponents and opponents in an expensive and heated campaign. There are also ramifications for the gubernatorial race based on “get out the vote” strategies for those wanting victory and those wanting to defeat the amendment.

Proponents cite compassion for the patients suffering from chronic diseases the bill is designed to help. Opponents proffer views this will lead to widespread misuse of medical marijuana and loopholes big enough to drive a car through.

What everyone can agree on is this is a complex issue and while polling tends to favor passage of the amendment Ñ it most likely will be close. Since it is a constitutional amendment, its approval requires 60 percent of the vote.

Currently, 22 states permit medical marijuana. Interestingly, the Florida Legislature last spring passed legislation (SB 1030) known as Charlotte’s Web, which Gov. Rick Scott signed into law in June. It provides limited use of medical marijuana, the strains high in cannabidiol, or CBD, but low in THC, to help children and adults with epilepsy. It may be accessed through oil or vapor form, but not smoked.

That law has drawn criticism for how it has been handled by the Florida Department of Health. A lottery system will be used to select five companies as medical marijuana dispensaries licensed to sell low-THC cannabis. Only nurseries that have been in business in Florida for 30 continuous years and that have at least 400,000 plants are eligible to apply.

The biggest complaint to date has come from the Legislature’s own oversight committee. A Sept. 3 article in the Tampa Bay Times outlines the 19-page complaint sent to the Department of Health by Marjorie Holladay, chief attorney for the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee.

In essence, a law passed in the spring for a narrow use of medical marijuana is fraught with issues in its implementation.

Amendment 2 is broader in scope and that worries both supporters and critics.

In navigating the hyperbole surrounding Amendment 2, it boils down to some core elements. Many sick people with debilitating illnesses will be helped from medical marijuana. It also will most likely create many unintended consequences in the process.

John Morgan, the face of Amendment 2, is a successful Orlando-based trial lawyer, who founded the multimillion dollar Morgan & Morgan business empire. His political committee, People United for Medical Marijuana, has raised millions. Its United for Care campaign is responsible for getting the amendment on the ballot through a well-organized petition drive.

Morgan has a compelling personal story about medical marijuana. His late father used marijuana in his cancer battle and his brother Tim, a quadriplegic as a result of a lifeguarding accident, uses marijuana to ease his pain.

A successful litigator, Morgan lays out his views very succinctly. “Disease does not pick political parties.” His response to critics’ concerns about widespread use of marijuana: “The gateway drug this leads to is morphine and the hospice center.” Morgan went on to discuss the fact that OxyContin kills 60,000 people a year. “There’s never been one overdosed death from marijuana ever.”

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has spoken out against the amendment. David Hart, executive vice president of government affairs and political operations was troubled with the fact this was an amendment to the constitution.

“Most of us believe that a constitution is a pretty sacred foundational governing document that’s supposed to direct human rights and how we’re going to frame our system of government, whether at a federal or a state level,” he says.

Hart continued, “This constitutional amendment 2 is not necessary, but beyond that we see numerous, what I would describe as fatal flaws.

“Amendment 2 uses the phrase ‘caregivers’ to dispense medical marijuana, but it doesn’t define who or what a ‘caregiver’ is. Doesn’t define what kind of training they need. In fact, under the amendment they could even be a felon. That’s a pretty broad loophole to not have clarity around.

“I think the Florida Chamber and our board wanted to be a voice: this amendment’s not necessary, it’s been dealt with by the Legislature appropriately in a more narrow and responsible fashion. We hope this isn’t the direction Florida voters want to go,” says Hart.

More common ground for proponents and critics are the examples of Colorado and California and their respective marijuana laws. Both sides agree these states do not embody what is proposed for Florida.

One common misperception: Colorado allows the sale of cannabis for recreational use, meaning it is legal there to buy, possess and consume marijuana for recreational use. It is not what Florida is contemplating with medical marijuana. Hart discussed the ramifications in Colorado for business owners with employee use and the negative impact on new companies relocating there.

Morgan stated California should be viewed as a case study as to what we should not do.

California was the first state to legalize cannabis in 1996 and the state has yet to establish a set of standards guiding the cultivation, production and sale of the plant. California currently leaves it up to local governments to decide how they want to implement the state’s medical marijuana law.

However, from a federal standpoint, cannabis is still illegal and remains a Schedule 1 drug (meaning it has no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse). The federal government will not get involved as the Department of Justice published the Cole memorandum (Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole) in August 2013, laying out eight “enforcement priorities” beyond which it will defer to state and local law enforcement agencies to “address marijuana enforcement of their own narcotics laws.”

Florida voters should educate themselves on the amendment and our democracy will take care of the rest. There are eloquent and impassioned voices on the merits and problems with medical marijuana.

On Nov. 4 we will learn which side prevailed.

Jeb Bush: ‘I Strongly Urge’ Floridians to Vote Against Medical Marijuana

Alex Leary, Times Washington Bureau Chief
Jeb Bush is adding his influential voice to the medical marijuana debate in Florida, saying the ballot initiative could harm Florida’s reputation.

“Florida leaders and citizens have worked for years to make the Sunshine State a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism and a desirable place to raise a family or retire,” Bush said in a statement. “Allowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all of these efforts. I believe it is the right of states to decide this issue, and I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November.”

Bush joined the the Florida Chamber, Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida and the Florida Trucking Association in the coalition fighting the initiative.

“Normally we focus on creating jobs, improving education and making Florida more competitive, but this is the type of business Florida can do without,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.  “I find it curious that the largest funder of this push to legalize pot is a personal injury trial lawyer firm, yet such measures are overwhelmingly opposed by Florida’s medical and law enforcement community.  Florida voters are smart and when the facts are on the table, I believe they will say no to drugs in Florida.”

Wilson also raised concerns that growers, transporters, sellers, doctors, patients and caregivers involved in the transfer and administration of potent marijuana products will be given complete civil and criminal immunity under the amendment.  “That,” he said, “is a huge red flag for Amendment 2.”

Sen. Marco Rubio also says he opposes the medical marijuana voters will decide in November, but Rubio said he supports the use of noneuphoric strains.

Jeb Bush: ‘I Strongly Urge’ Floridians to Vote Against Medical Marijuana

By Alex Leary, Times Washington Bureau Chief

Jeb Bush is adding his influential voice to the medical marijuana debate in Florida, saying the ballot initiative could harm Florida’s reputation.

“Florida leaders and citizens have worked for years to make the Sunshine State a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism and a desirable place to raise a family or retire,” Bush said in a statement. “Allowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all of these efforts. I believe it is the right of states to decide this issue, and I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November.”

Bush joined the the Florida Chamber, Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida and the Florida Trucking Association in the coalition fighting the initiative.

“Normally we focus on creating jobs, improving education and making Florida more competitive, but this is the type of business Florida can do without,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “I find it curious that the largest funder of this push to legalize pot is a personal injury trial lawyer firm, yet such measures are overwhelmingly opposed by Florida’s medical and law enforcement community. Florida voters are smart and when the facts are on the table, I believe they will say no to drugs in Florida.”

Wilson also raised concerns that growers, transporters, sellers, doctors, patients and caregivers involved in the transfer and administration of potent marijuana products will be given complete civil and criminal immunity under the amendment. “That,” he said, “is a huge red flag for Amendment 2.”

Sen. Marco Rubio also says he opposes the medical marijuana voters will decide in November, but Rubio said he supports the use of noneuphoric strains.