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Jax Daily Record Friday, Sep. 7, 200112:00 PM EST

Political pollster shares insights

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by: Glenn Tschimpke

National political pollster John Zogby met with local Democratic notables Wednesday, including former mayor Tommy Hazouri and Duval Democratic party head Clyde Collins at The River Club. Talk invariably stuck to politics as Zogby fielded questions of local and national scope.

Zogby, whose polling company, Zogby International, accurately predicted the 2000 presidential election, added a follow-up to the Democrats’ passionate response to Florida’s dangling chad debacle.

“I think you have Democrats still going around waiving the flag of the 2000 election. It keeps them emotional,” he said. “But for the 2002 elections, they need to move on.”

The Florida governor’s seat is up for grabs next year, with incumbent Jeb Bush intent on maintaining his spot as leader of the Sunshine State.

“It’s Bush’s race to lose,” noted Zogby. “Does he deserve reelection? The numbers are mixed. Though he leads the race right now against [Janet] Reno, it’s not a majority that says he deserves reelection.”

He drew parallels between Reno and Hillary Clinton, citing high-intensity support for Reno among her followers. Although her reputation was marred by incidents like the Branch Davidians fiery end in Waco, Tex. while she was U.S. attorney general, Zogby noted her strengths in Florida.

“She is known in parts of Florida before she was attorney general, she has high name recognition. She will draw support from women and liberal Democrats,” he said.

Zogby also dropped hints about the possible look of the presidency in 2004. Even if President George W. Bush finds a replacement for ailing Vice President Dick Cheney, the pollster believes a certain New York Senator will be elected president — for two terms.

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