About Amendment 4 and being “influenced” by local media
Excerpt: More than one million Floridians won’t be able to cast a ballot this election year due to a felony conviction, and that needs to change, a panel of the state’s leading voices urged this week.
The latest survey of the Florida Influencers found near-unanimous support for a measure on the ballot this November that would restore voting rights for convicted felons who have fully completed their sentences, with exceptions for murder and sex offenders. All told, 95 percent of respondents said they backed Amendment 4.
As for the influencers themselves...
The Florida Influencers Series
This election year, the Miami Herald, the Bradenton Herald and El Nuevo Herald are driving a conversation on the important issues facing our state. We’ve assembled a panel of 50 influential Floridians to offer their views.
Bottom Line: Considering the source is always important for context. Throughout this cycle, the Miami Herald has been providing analysis on issues of the day from their “Influencers.” I’ve noticed a trend throughout their series. A solid majority seem to feel the same way about most issues. That doesn’t exactly resemble Florida’s political landscape which has long been closely divided. For that reason, I’ve been highly skeptical of the motivation of the “Influencer series.” For example, the prevailing thoughts on issues so far from these influencers are these:
- Prioritize public schools over charter schools
- Medicaid expansion should be the top health priority for Florida
- State politicians have failed on the environment
- Gun control should go further in Florida
- Teacher pay is a top education issue
- Mass transit funding is the key infrastructure issue for the state
- The state should do more to assist with medical marijuana normalization
Now, none of those issues are cut and dry and I’ve taken time to comprehensively address all of them over time. But in terms of general agreement, I find myself only agreeing with the prominent sentiment in one of those seven issues and with strong disagreements on three of them. In other words, there’s a clear political bend to the solid majority of their influencers, that’s not representative of Florida’s complex/mixed political environment. In the case of Amendment 4, I was able to illustrate a point using current polling.
Of the current available polling on Amendment 4, about 70% of Floridians polled in favor of the restoration of voting rights for felons. So, to the ballot issue itself, it appears as though it’s well positioned to pass. On the other hand, the Influencers are about 25% beyond the mainstream on this issue, or to put it another way, the Influencers haven’t appeared to include much diversity of political thought and that thought leans heavily to the left.
Photo by: THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images