The Washington Post reports on a Florida poll it conducted (with Univision and the Tomas Rivera Institute). Note that while the article protrays a "deeply divided" and "deadlocked" state headed for another "photo finish," I am not persuaded that it is that simple. The poll says that it is 48-48 among likely voters. And then as you read on you discover that Bush’s job approval is at 51% (while Gov. Jeb Bush’s is 69%!), and terrorism and Iraq and the economy top the issues; "Bush is judged better able to handle terrorism and Iraq, but he and Kerry are statistically even on the issue of the economy. Asked which candidate they trust to handle the major issues facing the country over the next four years, Bush has a 49-to-47 percent edge among likely voters." And also note that Bush "holds a double-digit lead over Kerry on who is a stronger leader and trusted in a crisis, and has a smaller advantage on the question of who is more likeable." Then on to Latinos: Bush leads 61-32 and "Bush received 81 percent of the Cuban American vote, while Kerry captured 42 percent among Puerto Ricans, the second-largest Hispanic group in the state, and about 48 percent among Hispanics of all other nationalities." And yet, the impression the piece wants to leave is that Kerry is making inroads to Hispanic votes (rather than merely Cuban). Also note that WaPo claims that Cuban-Americans were underrepresented in the Survey "because the polling consortium missed predominantly Cuban neighborhoods when it selected its sample of precincts." Ooops, sorry about that! The article continues to give a false impression, yet, it eventually concedes that "The president has generally solid approval ratings among Florida Hispanics, with more than two in three saying they approve of the job he has done on terrorism. He receives just over 50 percent support for his handling of the economy, Iraq, immigration and relations with Cuba. In all cases, his ratings among Cuban Americans are significantly higher than among non-Cubans, although his ratings on terrorism top 60 percent with the latter group.
Bush holds a large advantage over Kerry among Cuban Americans and a smaller lead among non-Cuban Hispanics in Florida on who is trusted more to handle terrorism, Iraq, education, Cuban relations, immigration, abortion and same-sex marriage." And they are split even on the economy. By the way, in 2000, Bush won 32% of the Latino votes nation-wide, while Gore won 61%. Today, Kerry gets 54% of the Latino vote, while Bush 37%. I remind you that Karl Rove said a few years ago that if Bush could increase the nation-wide Latino vote by just 3% he couldn’t be beaten.
Rasmussen, by the way, has Bush up 49-46% in Florida and Mason-Dixon has Bush leading 48-44% (likely voters).