Last Call for 7.8.24 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

President Joe Biden’s poll numbers have been in free fall for the better part of two weeks.

The New York Times/Sienna College survey gave him five points back from former President Donald Trump. CBS/YouGov gives Trump a six-point lead.

Reuters/Ipsos did find the two presumptive nominees tied 40%-40%. Still, optimism in Biden World was likely muted by a hypothetical head-to-head further down the polling memo: First Lady Michelle Obama would defeat Trump in a 47%-35% rout — the last time a presidential candidate won so decisively, store shelves were teeming with Betamax players.

Morning Consult’s weekly tracking poll has been an exception recently, but the tide has slowly been turning. The Monday update shows Trump up 44%-42%, a one-point climb from last week and a two-point increase from the outlet’s pre-debate measure.

Biden also lost his favorability edge, which had been durable for months despite questions surrounding his mental acuity.

Those concerns are doubtless responsible for his slump in the top-line numbers — voters were far more likely to have seen, read or heard something negative about Biden (63%) than something positive (18%).

A two-point gap is far from insurmountable, but the crowd of elected Democrats openly questioning Biden’s mental fitness is growing by the day, and believing that train will stop on a dime is the definition of wishcasting.

Morning Consult’s polling was conducted July 5-7 and thus doesn’t fully reflect the impact of Biden’s 22-minute interview with ABCs George Stephanopoulos. It’s unclear whether that’s good for the embattled Democratic standard-bearer — by all accounts, he performed better in the one-on-one than he did on the debate stage. Still, the aggregate review was between “meh” and “too little, too late.”

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Florida has been on the front lines of the opioid epidemic for years, and a report rolling out tomorrow will help to elucidate whether we’re any closer to V-Day.

Attorney General Ashley Moody will introduce the 2023 Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons Interim Report during a 10 a.m. news conference at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center.

The AG’s office said Moody will be joined by FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass, Longwood Deputy Mayor Matt Morgan and various local law enforcement officials.

The annual report compiles data from Florida’s medical examiners, providing a count of how many Floridians died with one or more toxic substances in their bodies and whether it caused the death or was merely present.

While the list runs the gamut from alcohol and pot to benzodiazepines and meth, opioids have long accounted for the preponderance of Florida overdose deaths — there were 8,012 opioid-related deaths in 2022, or about 51% of the 15,592 cases in that year’s report.

In addition to the new data, Moody’s office said the news conference will detail the “statewide efforts to combat the national opioid crisis that is fueling the record 100,000 plus drug overdose deaths every year.”

Bill Day’s Latest

Evening Reads

Latino voters aren’t all in for Joe Biden. They’re not sure about Kamala Harris, either.” via Sabrina Rodriguez of The Washington Post

Florida officials urged not to pass up millions in food assistance again” via Jeffrey Schweers of the Orlando Sentinel

RNC committee approves dropping national limits on abortion from party platform” via Megan Messerly, Natalie Allison and Irie Sentner of POLITICO Magazine

Biden tells Democrats he is ‘running this race to the end’” via Catherine Lucey of The Wall Street Journal

Florida records drop in doctor residency applicants post-Roe v. Wade” via Sam Ogozalek of the Tampa Bay Times

Biden’s strategy to make the race about Donald Trump is suddenly in doubt” via Reid J. Epstein of The New York Times

—“Biden is ‘all in’ on run for President, First Lady says in Tampa” via Nina Moske of the Tampa Bay Times

Textbook authors told climate change references must be cut to get Florida’s OK via Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel

U.S. allies are already worried about another round of Trump” via Michael Fulilove

Making a mark: FSU launches new academic logo, reserves Seminole head for sports” via Tarah Jean of the Tallahassee Democrat

Stilt houses and scallops: A dive into old Florida’s hidden gems via Carrie Honaker of Flamingo Magazine

Quote of the Day

“Even if it’s a right, it does not mean the government has to do anything. So, we have a proposed amendment to give a right to hunting and fishing in Florida. I don’t think anybody is here saying, ‘Oh, we have to buy a fishing pole for everyone and a rifle for everyone because we have this new right to hunting and fishing.’”

— State economist Amy Baker, on Amendment 4’s financial impact statement.

Put It on the Tab

Look to your left, then look to your right. If you see one of these people at your happy hour haunt, flag down the bartender and put one of these on your tab. Recipes included, just in case the Cocktail Codex fell into the well.

Could Democrats hold an entire Presidential Primary season in six weeks? Maybe, maybe not. But party operatives have prepared a game plan involving a Proper Blitz.

Attorney General Ashley Moody isn’t a fan of the federal government’s foray into washing machine regs, but she would probably enjoy a Dirty Laundry nonetheless.

We’re pretty sure a Gatorade Margarita defeats the purpose of drinking Gatorade, but go ahead and raise a glass for the new crop of Florida Sports Hall of Fame inductees, one of whom helped refine the iconic beverage’s packaging and flavor options.

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

Re-live Florida State’s overtime classic against Clemson

It’s a thin night of sports on television. With the NBA, NHL and all college sports completed for the season and the Rays and Marlins opening series tomorrow, why not enjoy some football?

Tonight at 7 p.m. ET, the ACC Network is re-airing last year’s Florida State-Clemson game. The traditional conference rivalry was (spoiler alert) an overtime thriller.

Florida State came into the game having lost seven straight to the Tigers, but FSU was undefeated when the two teams met. For those who remember the outcome (or those who can’t help but search for the final score), seeing the NFL talent on the field is also worth watching.

Ten Seminoles who played in the game were drafted in April, including first-round pick Jared Verse. The defensive end was the Los Angeles Rams’ 19th selection in the first round, becoming the 33rd top-20 pick in program history.

Cornerback Jarrian Jones was the Jacksonville Jaguars’ third-round pick.

Clemson had six players taken in the draft, including cornerback Nate Wiggins, the Baltimore Ravens’ first-round selection and the 30th pick overall.

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Last Call is published by Peter Schorsch, assembled and edited by Phil Ammann and Drew Wilson, with contributions from the staff of Florida Politics.

Staff Reports



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