-If Democrats want to take back the House next year they're going to have to pick up some seats in Florida and there's good news for them on that front: right now Florida voters prefer the party by a 45-40 margin on the generic Congressional ballot over the Republicans.
Democrats have a registration advantage in the state and right now the party's voters are staying in line- the 82% of Democrats planning to vote Democratic for Congress is almost identical to the 81% of Republicans planning to vote Republican for Congress. That's a change from last year when GOP voters were a lot more unified around their party's candidates than Democrats were.
Republicans do have a 35-30 edge with independents but they were winning by much loftier margins than that in 2010. Who knows what Florida's House districts will end up looking like but these numbers suggest the potential for Democrats to pick up some seats next year.
-One thing that may be helping Democrats in Florida, as it did in the special House election in New York in May, is that voters are opposed to Paul Ryan's proposed changes to Medicare. 40% say they're against his plan to 24% in support of it and 36% with no opinion. Independents split against it by a 42/25 margin, and Democrats (58%) are a lot more unified in their opposition to it than Republicans (43%) are in their support. This is definitely not going to be a winning issue for the GOP in Florida.
-A majority of Florida voters still express opposition to gay marriage even as much of the country moves in support of it. 53% think it should be illegal to just 37% who think it should be permitted. There's a huge generational divide on the issue with voters under 45 thinking it should be legal but far outweighed by the 65% of seniors who don't think it should be.
Floridians may not be on board yet with full marriage rights for gay couples but 2/3rds do support some form of legal recognition for them. 33% support marriage and another 34% say civil unions are their first choice, with only 31% opposing any sort of rights for same sex couples.
-When it comes to Floridians' favorite professional sports team it's all about football. 17% of voters in the state say the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are their favorite to 16% each for the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars. The state's NBA teams come next in the pecking order with 14% saying the Miami Heat are their top team and 11% picking the Orlando Magic. Baseball teams come next with the Tampa Bay Rays tying the Magic at 11% and the Florida Marlins coming right behind at 10%. Bringing up the rear are the state's two hockey teams with the Tampa Bay Lightning at 4% and the Florida Panthers at 2%.
-There's a more clear leader when it comes to Florida's favorite college sports program. That's the Gators at 30%, followed by Florida State at 19%, Central Florida at 11%, Miami at 9%, South Florida at 6%, Florida Atlantic at 5%, and Florida International at just 1%. Pretty embarrassing numbers for the Hurricanes given the historic success of their athletic programs as opposed to Central Florida- of course the public vs. private nature of the schools and the Knights' comparatively massive student body and alumni base might have something to do with that.
-And finally Floridians don't like LeBron James, although they do like him better than Ohioans do. 22% of voters in the state see him in a favorable light to 24% with a negative opinion. That compares to 23% with a positive opinion and 49% with an unfavorable one when we polled his home state in May.
Full results here