Two polls out this morning from Florida:
St Pete Times:
Kerry 46, Bush 46, Nader 1
Kerry 48, Bush 47
Bush has not cracked 50 since shortly after the first debate. But there are two other reasons to be optimistic, beyond the polls. The St Pete Times this week did a great new story about the increase in voter registration since 2000. This should be widely read - its implications are critical to understand why the underlying dynamic down here is better than appears.
Here is a link:
The keys are this:
The number of independent voters increased by 532,582, or 39 percent, since the last presidential election
Republicans increased by 462,254, or 13 percent, and Democrats by 458,168, or 12 percent.
The rise in independants is good news for Kerry - the St Pete Times poll shows Kerry ahead among independants 46 - 37. Much of the increase in independents is among the young - where Kerry leads 49-41.
Equally important is the makeup of the new Democrats being registered. African American registration is up 36% over 2000. Please read that line again. The new Democrats are not DLC types. These are Democrats who will vote for Kerry.
What's the bottom line: the figures on registration suggest that the electorate has changed, and done so in a way that helps the Democrats. Moreover, it is very likely the positive trends will not be caught in polling. In short, Bush's support is probably being overestimated, and what he has now is not enought to win.
There has been one more key change since 2000 - the Hispanic vote. In 2000 it split. Since then, two things have happened:
Bush made a mess of the travel ban - angering his base among Cubans
Non-Cuban growth continues to exceed the growth in the Cuban community. As a result, Kerry has built an advantage - the St Pete Times poll has Kerry leading 54-34. Not the high undecided in that group - which must worry the President.
All in all, I think Florida looks better for us than Wisc. or even Iowa. And we may have this thing won.