The Political Pulse: Romney back on top? Gov. Walker Leads Dem Recall. Jeb Bush Counsels Republicans on the Hispanic Vote

| January 26 2012

No one ever said politics is not interesting. After leading by a substantial margin prior to South Carolina and then trailing Newt Gingrich after South Carolina, Mitt Romney looks to be back in the lead in Florida. Romney gained 7-points from the last Rasmussen survey.

Mitt Romney has jumped back ahead in the fevered Florida Republican Primary race with his support back to where it was before Newt Gingrich’s big win Saturday in South Carolina.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Florida Republican Primary Voters, taken Wednesday night, shows Romney with 39% support to Gingrich’s 31%. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum earns 12%, and Texas Congressman Ron Paul runs last with nine percent (9%). Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided.

It cannot be considered an outlier either, the latest Suffolk poll confirms Rasmussen’s results.

Despite Newt Gingrich’s momentum within the Republican Party, he would be a weaker contender than Mitt Romney in a general election contest against President Barack Obama, according to a Suffolk University/7NEWS (WSVN-Miami) poll of likely voters in Florida.

Romney led Obama by 47 percent to 42 percent in the Florida survey, while Obama topped Gingrich by 9 points, 49 percent to 40 percent. Among independents, Obama led Romney 44 percent to 38 percent and opened up a 56 percent to 29 percent advantage over Gingrich. Gingrich grabbed 12 percent of registered Democrats, while Romney secured 18 percent of registered Democrats.

“Newt Gingrich is weak among Florida independents and likely Democratic voters compared to Romney,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “If Florida is one of six key states that swings the national election, independents in Florida hold that key, and this poll suggests that Newt won’t be able to secure Florida for his party.”

People have speculated that the swing has occurred because of a lackluster debate performance by Gingrich in the last debate along with a soft attack by conservative icon Senator Marco Rubio.

As I type this, Monmouth has released a poll showing the same results.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker also holds leads of 6 to 10-points over 4 possible Democratic contenders. The Democrat’s recall, trying to capitalize on Ohio’s referendum their Issue 2, looks to be lagging, despite the money labor unions have thrown into the race.

The poll finds Walker ahead of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin. Walker leads the only announced Democratic candidate, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, with a 49 percent to 42 percent margin. Walker leads former Congressman David Obey by 49 percent to 43 percent. Janesville Democratic State Senator Tim Cullen receives 40 percent to Walker’s 50 percent. While Walker consistently leads his Democratic opponents, the size of the lead is within the poll’s margin of error for all but Cullen.

The Wisconsin recall race is going to be close and therefore conservative efforts are crucial.

The former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has also penned an op-ed counseling Republicans on how to win the Hispanic vote.

First, we need to recognize this is not a monochromatic community but, rather, a deeply diverse one. Hispanics in this country include Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans and many others. Some came here 50 years ago to make a better life; others came last year. Some have lots of education, some have none. The traditional Republican emphasis on the importance of the individual has never been more relevant. [. . .]

Second, we should echo the aspirations of these voters. The American immigrant experience is the most aspirational story ever told. Immigrants left all that was familiar to them to come here and make a better life for their families. That they believe this is possible only in America is the best expression of American exceptionalism I know. And on this score, Republicans have a winning message and record as the party of the entrepreneur. We are the party of the family business, and the family business is the economic heart of Hispanic communities.

Third, we should press for an overhaul of our education system. Republicans have the field to themselves on this issue. Teachers unions and education bureaucrats have blocked Democrats from serious reform — it will happen only with Republican political leadership. But we have to move beyond simplistic plans to “get rid of the Department of Education” and focus on substantive, broad-based reform that includes school choice, robust accountability for underperforming schools and the elimination of social promotion, in which kids are passed along without mastering grade-level skills. Such improvements, it was noted in 2009, plus efforts to embrace digital learning, helped Hispanic students in Florida lead the nation among their peers. And Hispanic voters, who often feel their children are trapped in failing schools, notice.

Finally, we need to think of immigration reform as an economic issue, not just a border security issue. Numerous polls show that Hispanics agree with Republicans on the necessity of a secure border and enforceable and fair immigration laws to reduce illegal immigration and strengthen legal immigration.

There is a lot more to Governor Bush’s article. Arizonan politicos would be wise to take a gander.

We have a debate tonight, could everything be different tomorrow? The answer is yes.

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