The Florida and Ohio primaries on March 15 will determine whether Trump will be able to win the nomination outright, and at least in Florida it appears that he isn’t going to be stopped. A new PPP survey from Florida not only found that Trump is leading Rubio by 20 points (45-25%), but that he has surpassed Rubio’s favorability ratings in the state. Trump is now viewed favorably by 64% of Florida Republicans compared to Rubio’s 60%. Trump’s lead is consistent with what other recent Florida polls have found, and Trump’s lead in the RCP average is 18 points. According to PPP, Rubio’s overall approval rating as senator has dropped to a dismal 31%, and disapproval has shot up to 55%. His approval ratings have gone down 10 points since September, and more Floridians want him to drop out of the race (44%) than want him to stay in (40%). It seems that neglecting to do his job and running a presidential campaign most Floridians didn’t want him to run have taken their toll.
Perhaps most remarkable of all is that Trump beats Rubio in a hypothetical one-on-one match-up 52-38%. For all the complaining about Kasich’s continued presence in the race from the senator’s fans, Rubio couldn’t win his home state against the front-runner even if all of the other candidates were out of the race. If the poll is correct, it wouldn’t even be close. Kasich may be able to beat Trump in Ohio even with the other candidates staying in. That’s the difference between being the popular governor of Ohio who has actually done something for his constituents, and an unpopular, no-show senator from Florida who has accomplished nothing for his. Naturally, many party leaders want to rally behind the latter, which is more evidence of the sort of judgment that got them into their current mess. It is fitting that the candidate so many anti-Trump Republicans have worked so hard to prop up and cheer on won’t be able to deliver his own state when it is absolutely necessary in order to thwart a Trump nomination.
Florida Mayors Challenge Candidates on Climate
March 5, 2016
Florida has emerged as a key battleground state in any national election, if not a “must win” for any Republican who hopes to win the White House. That’s why this news is interesting.
Mayors of 21 cities in Florida on Friday called on the moderators of next week’s presidential debates in Miami to ask candidates how they would deal with rising sea levels caused by climate change, a concern of the state’s coastal communities.
“It would be unconscionable for these issues of grave concern for the people of Florida to not be addressed in the upcoming debate you will be hosting in the state,” the mayors wrote in an letter to CNN, The Washington Post, Univision and the other media outlets hosting the Democratic and Republican debates on March 9 and March 10 in Miami.
The bipartisan group of mayors, who represent coastal cities and towns from Miami to Tampa, have complained that the issue of climate change has not been raised in the dozens of televised debates held to date.
Of the four remaining Republican candidates, none say they believe that anything should be done to address climate change and all have called for federal environmental rules to be scaled back.
One of the letter’s signatories, Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner, traveled to New Hampshire in February to press Florida Republican candidate Senator Marco Rubio to discuss the issue.
Rubio has said that the climate has always been changing and that he will not support policies to combat climate change that will “destroy our economy.”
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has called climate change a conspiracy invented by China, while Texas Senator Ted Cruz called climate science “pseudoscientific theory.” Ohio Governor John Kasich has said climate change is a problem but has not proposed a plan to address it.
Democratic hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders have made climate change a top-tier issue that needs to be addressed.
Southeast Florida is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels. Four counties in the region formed the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact six years ago to coordinate their response and pool funding to deal with its impact.
The issue has gotten little attention in the national presidential debates.
To help gauge the depth of the problem, check out this piece in “The American Conservative” – which gets it that the GOP has a problem in Florida, but thinks the problem ends with Donald Trump: