Activists calling themselves "Not in Our Name, Not on Our Dime" descend on Tallahassee today to unveil what they say will be a 60-foot petition signed by more than 7,300 Floridians opposed to the use of taxpayer dollars to be used in the lawsuit that Attorney General Bill McCollum is leading to try to stop the new federal health care reform legislation signed into law 4 weeks ago today.
(You can see the petition at the website of the group Progressive Florida). The action comes as the political winds seem to be shifting ever so slightly away from the stunning support that McCollum has held throughout this year in his race to succeed Charlie Crist and become the next Governor of Florida.
A Quinnipiac Poll released yesterday shows that a majority of Floridians (54%) do not support McCollum's high profile campaign to try to repeal at least parts of the new law by suggesting that it's unconstitutional by mandating that citizens have to buy insurance or be fined (40% do support it). That same poll also for the first time seemingly since she announced her candidacy last year, Alex Sink is formidable against McCollum, trailing him by just 4%, 40-36%.
To say this is good news for the Sink camp is the understatement of this still young year in Florida politics. And whether other reliable polls follow up on this survey is key, because right now it's somewhat of an outlier in terms of where the race has been all year long.
Then again, it is only April and name recognition has certainly been favorable to the Attorney General, running for statewide office for the fifth time in ten years against a candidate who has only done that once in that same period, when she defeated Tom Lee for Chief Financial Officer in 2006.
That same Quinnipiac poll shows that health care reform is still not a winner politically in Florida, by a 48-44% margin. It's why Sink has tried to stay away from the issue, but at times has been quite awkward in doing so. Over the weekend, Sink told the Miami Herald's Beth Reinhard that she's been attacked unfairly for failing to be clear about what she thinks about the health care reform legislation, only the biggest domestic issue of the past 12 months, saying:
"I don't know how much more decisive I could be than saying that we need healthcare reform,'' she said, repeating an obvious point that's been made by just about everybody on both sides of the debate. ``I need to be focused on my job and the things that I can control.''
Interestingly, in that same Miami Herald article, Reinhard writes that there has been such unhappiness in some Democratic party circles on Sink's candidacy that George Shelton, the head of the Department of Children and Families, says he's been contemplating getting into the race.
One would think that the new poll might decrease that possibility.