More from my contribution to this week’s Human Events magazine:
Voters dig in for tight race as candidates turn attention to polls, Cuban exiles
As candidates Mitt Romney and President Obama continue to rack up frequent flier miles across the Sunshine State in the last few weeks of the campaign, the focus now has turned to two very different groups of people: the exiled Cuban community and public opinion pollsters.
In addressing a Cuban-heavy crowd in Miami on Sept. 22, vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan voiced his newly “educated” stance on the Cuban embargo, admitting that Florida U.S. Reps. Ilena Ros-Lehtinen and David Rivera showed him “just how brutal the Castro regime is, just how this president’s policy of appeasement is not working.”
This marks a change for the Wisconsin congressman, who told his hometown newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, in 2002 “the embargo doesn’t work. It is a failed policy. It was probably justified when the Soviet Union existed and posed a threat through Cuba.”
Predictably, the Cuban exiles proved accommodating to his change of heart.
Poll Watch: Several newly released polls, on the other hand, have caused headaches for both camps, inciting a battle over the methodologies and political leanings of mainstream polling outfits that have themselves become campaign issues.
A CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac poll put Obama nine points ahead of Romney among likely voters, 53 percent to 44 percent, leading headlines across the state to paint the race as finally leaning Democrat. A Florida Times Union/Insider Advantage poll released days later closes that gap, however, showing Obama ahead by 49-46, within the margin of error.
The Quinnipiac poll met the ire of Florida Republican Party chairman Lenny Curry and several editorial writers across the state, leading them to criticize the poll’s methodology and its assumption of a heavy Democratic turnout in November. The Tampa Bay Times, writing on its on blog site, seconded Curry’s remarks on polling data, still advocating caution declaring any winner before the fall election.
— Yaël Ossowski
Read more: Human Events