Mitch Perry Report 3-14-14: The case for voter intensity


What a difference a week makes. 

Last week at this time followers of the CD13 race were glued to their electronic reading devices devouring  a Politico piece about how David Jolly's campaign was a hot mess in a story titled, "National GOP turns on Florida candidate." This morning that troubled candidate was fielding questions from Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe.

Meanwhile, anecdotal reports are flowing from volunteers with the Sink campaign about how much that effort was in disarray. I guess that's what happens after you lose. Meanwhile, David Drucker in the Washington Examiner has the goods on the GOP ground game in Pinellas —  utilizing the skills in targeting voters that the Obama team employed with perfection in '08 and 12 and doing it better than their Democratic party counterparts.

And speaking of this contest, what about "voter intensity?" That's a term that was all the rage in 2010 when  political analysts discussed how all of the energy was on the political right, fueled predominantly that year by the Tea Party. And the way to gauge what was going to happen in November was to observe how people answered the question about how likely they were to vote that year.. 

As we all know, 2010 was a "shellacking" for Democrats, in the words of President Obama. That election year brought us Rick Scott and Marco Rubio and a most conservative Republican-led Legislature that in 2011 did some serious damage in a lot of places. 

While the Tea Party is still around and still strong in some regions, it's not the same force it was in 2010, but then again, Democrats find themselves in a defensive crouch like they were that year. Mr. Obama's approval numbers are among the lowest in his presidency, and that's a drag on Democrats not only running in tough re-election Senate campaigns such as in Arkansas and Louisiana, but could damage other areas — such as in Florida, when it comes to running for governor.

Unlike other pundits, I'm not laying this at the hands of Obamacare. Though you'd hardly know it, some people are being helped by the law. Perhaps those people would vote for Democrats, but it's time for them to start owning this law, as Nancy Pelosi said yesterday.

“Absolutely not," the House Minority Leader snapped at her weekly press conference in Washington yesterday when asked if she thought that Democrats should steer clear of talking about the ACA.

“I’m very proud of our House Democrats and how they have not only embraced the Affordable Care Act, because they helped create it, but how proud they are of it. I think the Republicans are wasting their time using that as their electoral issue, and they will find that out.”

You might say Pelosi is deluding herself, but I remain convinced that the ACA was not the giant-killer in the CD13 race, despite what your favorite cable news stars have been telling you on television all week. However, it could have been a driving factor in Republicans coming out to vote (not that they needed it), because voter turnout appears to be the single biggest thing the GOP had going for them in this race. Congratulations to those working with David Jolly for getting their people out to the polls. 

Then again, they're Republicans, and unless they have a major reason for being down and depressed, they will come out to vote. Democrats? In Florida they've been talking since Barack Obama barely squeezed by with a victory in 2012 that they to be able to learn from what the Obama team did in 2012 and use that coalition of young people, women, minorities and gays and get them out to the polls in strong numbers. That did not happen during this campaign. 

On my radio show on WMNF yesterday I heard familiar complaints from a number of Democrats, some of whom live in CD13, about how Alex Sink's lack of passion was a major turn-off for them. That doesn't augur well for her to run for re-election in the fall, though it's hard to say who could have done better when the GOP allegedly had a a plus-13-point advantage in terms of Republicans to Democrats voting in this race.

Yes on Greenlight issued a jam-packed press release announcing a whole host of officials who are now working for them in some capacity or another, all the better to get rid of their troubled opening last month.

Check out our feature on the proposed ferry service in Hillsborough County if you get a chance.

And did you know that the man the New York Times calls the founder of the Green Party USA is running for a school board position in Hillsborough County?

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