**UPDATE: Fla Clicks: Murphy gets out early against West, Obama and Nelson in good shape, latest GOP outrages

Allen West and Patrick Murphy ... kinda similar hair, very different outlooks.

Patrick Murphy isn’t waiting on redistricting (to see if FL22 will still be FL22) or to see how much money Lois Frankel vacuums up from her donor list. He’s out early against Allen West, using as his chief prosecution witness … Allen West.

From the in-box yesterday, a glimpse of how Murphy plans to go after West:

Allen West, 2011: We are not extremists!

Allen West, 2010: Proud to be a right-wing extremist.

Fort Lauderdale, FL -  Today, in an email to supporters, Allen West cries foul at our claims of his extremism, stating “We are not extremists!.” However, even before any of his radical votes in Congress, Allen West called himself an extremist multiple times.

West said:

“I guess I am a radical and an extremist:” [Fort Lauderdale Independence Day Tea Party, 7/3/10]

I am just honored to be here today with all of my fellow right wing extremists. ” [Fourth of July Tea Party Rally, 2009]

Video Here:

West has also stated he “is tired of hearing the words moderate and moderation”.

Audio here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN8n1xPGEzQ&feature=player_embedded

Since taking office, West has irresponsibly voted in the most extremist positions, including voting to remove protections on food, toys, and drinking water, voting to pull away protections for pre-existing conditions and senior drug coverage, voting to reduce funding for women’s healthcare, to end public funding for public broadcasting, and to shut down the government.  He’s supported draconian funding cuts to teachers, police officers, scientists, regulators of Wall Street, and even homeless services.  He has previously expressed support in abolishing both the Department of Energy and Department of Education.

Meanwhile, likely Democratic frontrunner Lois Frankel has been in office a really, really long time ...

To the polls, where Bill Nelson is doing quite well, thank you, against all Republican comers, real and imagined:

Florida’s Bill Nelson is in a little better shape now than in PPP’s last gauge of his 2012 re-election race last December, leading six potential opponents by anywhere from 13 to 19 points.

For someone who has been in office for ten years, Bill Nelson has a remarkably low profile. As yesterday’s release showed, newly elected junior colleague Marco Rubio is slightly better known already, and better liked. 28% of Floridians have no opinion about Nelson’s job performance, and as in PPP polls throughout 2010, the rest split pretty evenly, 38% approving and 34% disapproving. He is not hated by Republicans, but he is not loved by his own party either. Independents split down the middle.

But luckily for Nelson, none of the potential opponents tested against him are any better known or more popular; all of them have at least slightly net negative favorability ratings. 83% have no opinion of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, 77% of state Rep. Adam Hasner, 69% of former Sen. George LeMieux, 68% of state Sen. Mike Haridopolos, 65% of TV talk show host and former Rep. Joe Scarborough, and 57% of Rep. Connie Mack IV. Unlikely candidate Scarborough comes closest to Nelson, lagging 45-32, followed by LeMieux (48-33), Hasner (48-32), Haridopolos (50-34), and Wales (47-28). Mack announced he will not run after the poll was in the field. He would have fared little better than anyone else, trailing Nelson 47-34.

Two things Nelson has going for him is that he is winning 11-19% of Republican votes and losing only 4-8% of Democrats, while also
holding leads with independents of ten to 24 points. Scarborough and Wales were not tested in December, but the others were down only eight to 16 points overall then, versus 13-16 now.

“Bill Nelson’s approval numbers make him look vulnerable but they might be a little deceiving,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Democrats don’t love him but they would still vote for him in a general election and his better than average support across party lines from Republicans means his eventual opponent will be starting from behind.”

Nelson is at 38/34 favorability. His match-ups are as follows:

Bill Nelson………………………………………………. 50%
Mike Haridopolos …………………………………….. 34%
Undecided………………………………………………. 17%

Bill Nelson………………………………………………. 48%
Adam Hasner………………………………………….. 32%
Undecided………………………………………………. 20%

Bill Nelson………………………………………………. 48%
George LeMieux ……………………………………… 33%
Undecided………………………………………………. 19%

Bill Nelson………………………………………………. 47%
Connie Mack IV ………………………………………. 34% (not running)
Undecided………………………………………………. 18%

Bill Nelson………………………………………………. 45%
Joe Scarborough …………………………………….. 32% (says he’s not running)
Undecided………………………………………………. 22%

Bill Nelson………………………………………………. 47%
Jimmy Wales ………………………………………….. 28%
Undecided………………………………………………. 25%

Full poll here.

**UPDATE: PPP also polled President Obama’s re-elect, and it, too, looks pretty good:

48% of Florida voters approve of the job Obama’s doing to 47% who disapprove. His numbers break down predictably- 81% of Democrats like him, Republicans dislike him at an even higher rate of 85%, and allowing him to have slightly positive overall numbers is that he’s on positive ground with independents at 49/44.

Two potential Republican opponents- one quite plausible and the other a long shot- would start out virtually tied with the President. Mitt Romney does the best, trailing Obama 46-44. Given that there are two undecided Republicans for every Democrat in that match up you’re basically looking at an even match. It’s a sign of Romney’s appeal in the Sunshine State that he actually does a hair better than former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who trails Obama 48-45 in the state.

Obama would start out in a slightly healthier position against four other Republicans we tested. He leads Rudy Giuliani by 6 points at 48-42, Mike Huckabee by 7 at 50-43, Newt Gingrich by 8 at 50-42, and Sarah Palin by 13 at 52-39.

When it comes to the favorability numbers on the Republicans the figures for Giuliani might be most interesting. Only 37% of voters rate him favorably to 46% with a negative opinion. There’s been a lot of ink about whether he could muster the appeal to the GOP base to be a viable wild card candidate for the nomination but these numbers suggest his appeal has slipped quite a bit with the electorate as a whole too.

Three of the Republicans we looked at pretty much broke even on their favorability scores- Huckabee came out slightly ahead at 40/39, Romney’s at 39/39, and Bush is at 44/44. Florida voters have a much more charitable view of Romney and Huckabee than ones in other swing states like Ohio and Virginia- that could actually lead to Florida being less important than it has been in other recent elections because if Obama’s winning in those kinds of places he doesn’t really need Florida for any purpose other than building up the size of his victory.

Full results here.

And PPP gets a shout-out from the Reaganites here.

Meanwhile, more outrages out of Tallahassee:

The State Senate has killed a compromise plan that would have exempted the lowest wage state workers from the deepest salary cuts. They’re also ending defined benefit pensions in Florida except for “high risk” jobs, and killing a deferred retirement program called DROP. These quotes pretty much sum it up:

“Enough already,” said Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association, the teacher’s union. “People are frustrated…We are in the final days of preparation for the FCAT and you are destroying the moral of the people in this state who have brough it from 45th to 5th in the nation…We should not be balancing the budget on the back of the people of this state.”

He warned: “The changes to the retirement system guarantees that we will be poor until the day we die.”

Gov. Rick Scott is also looking for a way to take even more skin off the backs of the needy, by seeking deep cuts to an agency that aids the disabled:

TALLAHASSEE — Due to a shockingly large deficit, Gov. Rick Scott is planning to invoke his emergency powers and make deep cuts to the rates charged by group homes and case workers who help the developmentally disabled.

Scott could announce a 15 percent rate cut as early as Thursday to close the $170 million budget gap in the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, according to lawmakers who were briefed Wednesday.

The deficit — which exceeds the agency’s spending authority by nearly 20 percent — is partly the legacy of lawsuits, poor planning by the Legislature and a nearly $20 million veto by Scott’s predecessor, Charlie Crist, who starved the program of savings when he refused to trim provider rates last summer.

Those who provide services to the nearly 30,000 Floridians with cerebral palsy, autism and Down Syndrome said they aren’t concerned with the origin of the deficit as much as the effect of deep rate cuts.

“This would be a catastrophe,” said Kingsley Ross, an advocate and lobbyist for Sunrise Community, a Miami-based group home operator.

And how does Gollum celebrate his unilateral decision to cut the legs out from under people with disabilities (besides downing a raw fish whole)? He’s headed off to the Special Olympics torch run. How’s that for cruel irony?

So what is Peter Schorsch up to? Pulling together a “boo Scott” campaign.

Also at St. Petersblog, the Republican state legislature is very busy this week, killing affordable housing, redirecting $45 million to the governor’s economic development slush fund, and pulling out of a state commitment to fund cancer research.

Cutting cancer research? Most people would call that sickening. Or in GOP terminology: “Thursday.”

BTW, in case you missed it, Steve Schale breaks down the new Census math for Florida here. Three words: “Tampa, Tampa, Tampa…” Should’ve filled out those forms, Miami-Dade…

And note to Democrats: you can’t say the word “uterus” in the legislative chambers. Children may be listening. And children are scared of uteruses. Bad memories of near drowning, you know… Be warned

And last but not least: cue the coming primary wars.

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One Response to **UPDATE: Fla Clicks: Murphy gets out early against West, Obama and Nelson in good shape, latest GOP outrages

  1. Jeff Martin says:

    The best thing the Democrats have going for them is the same thing we had when Bush was in the white house and Cheney was president…

    It’s the right-wing, baby!

    Keep on, keepin’ on!

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