Exclusive Poll: Presidential Politics and the Broward Sheriff’s Race

By  Jim Kane, The Florida Voter


With the Barack Obama campaign poised for a big win in Broward County, most political observers have assumed that The Democratic ticket’s coattails could sweep Scott Israel into the Sheriff’s office, even though he pales in comparison to Sheriff Al Lamberti in both name recognition and campaign cash.

This is not a new phenomenon in American politics. “Coattail effects usually occur in elections that are classified as electoral landslides.

But the coattail effects may not be helping Israel as much as he would hope, a new exclusive poll found this week.

Coattails have affected Broward politics in the past.  Even Republican coattails.

In 1980, for instance, many Broward Democrats were caught by surprise by the surge of Republican sentiment in a county usually considered safe for Democrats. Then County Commissioner Howard Forman was almost defeated by an unknown Republican challenger in what turned out to be a landslide election for Ronald Reagan
In addition, the county has also experienced a surge of new registered voters in the past year, most of whom have chosen Democrat as their party. Consequently, such opinions about the power of Obama’s coattails to derail Lamberti first election are not without foundation.

I have been hesitant to make such a conclusion concerning the Sheriff’s race because of its importance to the Broward electorate.


The Sheriff’s office is the most visible political institution on Broward. Without a county-wide strong mayor, the Sheriff has become the titular head of the Broward’s political establishment.
In a survey of 402 likely voters (sampling error +/-4.9%)  conducted October 26-28 , including newly registered voters who indicate their intention to vote in the presidential election, we attempted to see if there are any significant signs that the Democrats will choose a lesser known candidate based on party alone.
First, we look at how Obama is fairing in his contest against John McCain. A large lead here could bode well for any Democrat running county wide.

In the head to head match-up, we found the Obama/Biden team leading the McCain/Palin team 64% to 31%, with 6% undecided. This would suggest that Obama could reach the high sixty-percent mark. That kind of lead could indicate that a Democrat on the county-wide ballot would also benefit.


Surprisingly, this lead does not seem to be helping Israel.


Even though Obama has a 33 percent lead, Al Lamberti has over a 10 point advantage over Scott Israel, with less than a week to go.

Our survey shows that Lamberti has 46% to Israel’s 36%, with 18% still undecided.


There maybe several reasons for this double-digit lead. First, Lamberti’s cash advantage has enabled him to advertise on network television, including attack ads. This apparently allowed him to establish his own credibility while creating some negativity toward Israel. 
What we found in the survey is what little difference there is in “true name recognition between the two sheriff’s candidates.

Lamberti was known by  58 percent of those answering the survey, while Israel was known by 49 percent.

Considering that Lamberti has held office for a year and has had the ability to gain media attention before the campaign, this is somewhat surprising.

But it also points out the attention that voters are paying to this office. But whatever reason, only 8 point difference in true name recognition does not give Lamberti much of an advantage.
What does make a significant difference are the unfavorable ratings Israel has accumulated.

Israel has a total of 23% in unfavorable ratings, compared to Lamberti’s 13%. Some of these negatives for Israel, of course, are due to his tough fight in the Democratic Primary. Certainly, it also reflects the attack advertising Lambderti has thrown at him.
Now we can look at how the presidential race is effecting the Sheriff’s campaign.
Some 53% of the Obama vote is also choosing Israel. But he is also losing 27% of Obama voters to Lamberti.

Contrast that with the McCain vote: Lamberti swamps his challenger with over 81% of McCain supporters.

Admittedly, there are far more Democrats in the county, but the defection of so many Democrats is dragging Israel’s campaign down.

Finally, I looked at the “new voter and their choice for Sheriff. Here, as you would expect, Israel does has his best chance at winning the election on Tuesday.


By over a two to one margin, Israel wins this potentially important group. If there is a coattail effect in this race, it is certainly in this sector of the electorate. 

If new voters show up in overwhelming numbers, it could make this race close.

On Tuesday, we will all find out together.

16 Responses to “Exclusive Poll: Presidential Politics and the Broward Sheriff’s Race”

  1. Matt Hanson says:

    Good writing. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed my Google News Reader..

    Matt Hanson

    FROM BUDDY: Thank you so much.

  2. Leo says:

    The little flags of Israel aren’t helping you, are they Scott? You aren’t even Jewish, are you?

  3. Groundgame says:

    Not sure what poll you are using and would like to know the internals and who conducted the empirical analysis? What is the sample demographics? What were the questions asked and how were they asked? I am concerned that there may be a problem with a poll of this kind asking someone whether they will vote for the incumbant Sheriff, knowing that the caller has the voters phone number and knows who they are (especially after Lamberti is actively and unlawfully campaigning in his uniform). The numbers seem extremely off and are probably are significant outliers. If Lamberti is relying on this poll he has bigger problems than his inept volunteer staff that have not been at the polls as the previous blog entry on this race stated. I would like to know what the polling results are on dems voting the entire ticket? Seems like that would be more accurate.

  4. Judy Sperm says:

    I can’t save you with all my dirty tricks. The voters have seen through the politics and picked a clean, honest law enforcement leader — Al Lamberti. Now I’ll have to crawl back under the rock, with the rest of your campaign team.

  5. black and white says:

    Nevins and Kane will be sorry on Wednesday when Scott Israel is the new sheriff. This poll is nothing but lies by supporters of Lamberti. Hasn’t Kane been at Lamberti fund raisers carrying money for the “clean” sheriff? Lies won’t change the outcome next Tuesday — Scott Israel for sheriff.

  6. Carol says:

    Mr. Kane, I’m ashamed of you. I used to have respect for you, but you let yourself be bought. Why would you put your long standing reputation in the toliet? You will never be able to bounce back from this. When Mr. Israel wins by a landslide, how will you defend your actions and credibility? I hope they paid you an incredible amount of money for this so you won’t have to rely on local pols (politicians) next cycle to put food on your table. I am very, very diappointed.

    Buddy: Please don’t be dragged down by these guys. I find your blog so refreshing from the nonsense in the mainsteam media. However, you too are now being led like a faithful sheep.

  7. Ron Gunzburger says:

    I’m not buying these numbers as anywhere close to accurate.  All I can guess is that Jim Kane has lost his touch for hitting the right universe.  First, in an election with an estimated 80% turnout in Broward, EVERY registered voter is a likely voter.  Second, this is one of the most hyper-partisan political years (for the Democrats, especially in Broward) I can ever recall.  Third, unless the polling also included cell phones, you are likely missing many of the younger first-time voters who use cell phones in lieu of having any traditional home land-line phone.  Fourth, you need to give greater weight to black voters as they will vote disproportionately higher numbers than ever seen before.  Finally, the Democrats could have nominated a yellow dog for sheriff in these current conditions — hell, even a dead yellow dog — and so long as it reads DEM on the ballot next to the dog’s name, that dog would defeat Republican Al Lamberti. 
    My predictions: Obama wins roughly 65% in Broward … and Israel wins roughly 57-59%.  And, in five days, we’ll see whether Jim or I was more correct.

  8. wiley thompson says:

    Wiley Thompson says:

    October 29th, 2008 at 5:54 pm
    This is Wiley Thompson. As a former assistant director of the FBI and former Democratic candidate for Sheriff, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you why I crossed party lines and am voting to keep Al Lamberti as Sheriff of Broward County. From community leaders such as city mayors, commissioners, and state legislators – to media outlets such as the Sun-Sentinel and the Miami Herald, to other civic organizations including the Police Benevolent Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Firefighters, the Teamsters Local 769, and the Broward 10-13 Club, we collectively believe that Sheriff Al Lamberti is the most qualified candidate to lead the 6300 employee agency in a full term of office.

    When Al Lamberti was appointed Sheriff last year, history was made at the Broward Sheriff’s Office. For the first time in its 93-year history, a Sheriff came up through the ranks. Al Lamberti started as a Detention Deputy in the jail and worked his way through the agency in various positions before being appointed Sheriff by the Governor last year. Coupled with his experience in almost every department within the agency, Al Lamberti’s three decade plus career at the Broward Sheriff’s Office gives him a much stronger advantage than that of his opponent – an outsider – who recently resigned as police chief of North Bay Village, a twenty-man plus agency in North East Miami-Dade County.

    The Sun-Sentinel says that if voters choose along party lines in the race for Sheriff, they would be making a mistake since partisan politics has no place in law enforcement. Professionalism over politics is why the Sun-Sentinel endorsed Al Lamberti for a full term as Sheriff stating “it’s about competence and integrity.” In support of professionalism over politics, Al Lamberti’s opponent was a lifelong Republican until he switched parties when passed over by Governor Crist for an appointment as Sheriff. The Miami Herald – in endorsing Sheriff Al Lamberti – stated that his opponent “would have a steep learning curve in directing a multifaceted agency with a $700 million budget and 6,300 employees.”

    If you draw comparisons, you will realize there are none between Sheriff Al Lamberti and that of his opponent. Change for change sake is irresponsible. The size and multi-faceted complexities of the Broward Sheriff’s Office demands the most seasoned and experienced on-the-job professional, not someone who switched his lifelong party affiliation to advance a career. With that said, I hope you will join me in supporting Sheriff Al Lamberti and vote to retain him as Sheriff of Broward County on November 4th.

    Wiley Thompson

  9. I am confused says:


    Were you not the one who campaigned on the platform that if you were Sheriff you would use a big broom and sweep the corruption out of BSO? You claimed to be a life long democrat (which was not true) yet now for sour grapes you support Lamberti. As well didnt you say at the forum at Century Village that as a good democrat you would support the dem candidate for Sheriff?

    Sure looks to me like now that you cant find a job anywhere that you are Lamberti’s new best friend.

  10. Groundgame says:

    Is that the same Wiley that received about 7 more votes than that Shak fellow in the primary. I am sure that Lamberti can’t afford your endorsement. No diversity on Lamberti’s senior staff. Your endorsement fails like you did at BSO. Why do people vote against their interest?

  11. Ariel Robbins says:

    I am not afraid to leave my name. The truth will set you free!

    Scott Israel was much luckier than Judge Eugene Garrett of the 4th District Court of Appeal. Judge Garrett was removed from the bench for stealing a remote control from Target around the same time Chief Scott Israel was caught shoplifting at the Galleria Mall. It seems as though the witness in Chief Israel’s case developed amnesia because of his own “personal issues” and could not be contacted by investigators. For you naysayers out there, why not contact retired Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt. Jim Farrell in Zephryhills. Jim is enjoying retirement and drives a school bus to make a few extra dollars. NBC 6 did a great interview last week with Chief Scott Israel. No one believed Chief Israel’s denial of the theft allegations.

  12. Mike Taylor says:

    Did anyone catch the Governor this morning on AM 1470 WWNN endorsing Lamberti in the election Tuesday? Wiley Thompson was on deck first at 8:30 with Sheriff Al joining them at 9:00. Followed by Charlie Crist and numerous callers proclaiming support up until 10 a.m. Eljin Jones endorsed Obama but refused to endorse any candidate in the race for Sheriff. According to Steve Kane, the show will rebroadcast Saturday at 3 p.m. on AM 740 WSBR and on Sunday at 1 p.m. on AM 1470 WWNN.

  13. Tyronne Steele says:

    Does Scott Israel remember this Miami Herald article from 1996 on an investigation into officers at the Fort Lauderdale Police Department?

    July 30, 1996
    Page: 2B


    CONNIE PRATER Herald Staff Writer

    Fort Lauderdale detective Don McCawley wasn’t the only law enforcement officer disciplined for bad behavior at the controversial Good Ol’ Boy Roundups.

    The off-duty gathering of local, state and federal law enforcement officers and guests became the center of a federal probe that found instances of lewd and racist skits and offensive signs and T-shirts at the annual camp-out in the Tennessee hills.

    An FBI agent who repeatedly attended the rally and allegedly made a racist remark at one of them was suspended for five days without pay, placed on probation for six months and ordered to take sensitivity training.

    A Boone County, Ky., sergeant got a five-day suspension for being the master of ceremonies at a 1990 skit in which a dog was traded for a man in blackface who pretended to perform oral sex on a person in mock Ku Klux Klan garments. The police chief in Florence, Ky., recommended firing the man who played the Klansman, a sergeant from his department who had a prior record of misconduct and problems. “I didn’t feel he should be a police officer any longer,” said Florence Chief Paul Buelterman. “Police officers are held to a higher standard. Some may argue that point but it’s a fact.”

    But the officer appealed to the city council and the punishment was reduced to a six-month suspension without pay and demotion to patrol officer. He’s scheduled to return to road patrol Aug. 11.

    U.S. Treasury Department officials recommended that 31 of the agency’s workers, including agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, be reviewed for possible discipline or counseling. A Treasury spokesman said last week the agency’s bureaus are reviewing each case to determine what actions will be taken against the employees.

    McCawley was suspended for 20 days without pay last month and agreed not to file suit against the city of Fort Lauderdale if he were allowed to retire on Sept. 12. He returned to work July 15 to brief his supervisors on his pending burglary cases and then left for a 43-day vacation that will end on his retirement date.

    Chief Michael Brasfield and the Citizen Review Board had recommended firing the 23-year veteran because they said he could no longer effectively do his job.

    The white detective was assigned to the burglary division covering the city’s predominantly black northwest section. Roosevelt Walters, the head of the local NAACP chapter, and Carlton Moore, the city’s lone black commissioner, had publicly called for his dismissal.

    McCawley and his attorney argued the city was attempting to make a “sacrificial lamb” out of the detective because as many as 46 other current and former Fort Lauderdale officers had attended the rally over the years.

    Brasfield recommended that no action be taken against those other officers because an internal investigation revealed nothing to support disciplining them. He said that mere attendance at the event did not warrant punishment.

  14. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    Dyed in the wool Dem, I crossed party lines for this one seat. And Wiley I also think you would have been a great sheriff but you need to support Lamberti to also stay employed.

  15. ALERT says:

    A year later and Broward County lost

  16. Lamberti is garbage says:

    Three years later and Broward County continues to be sodomized by Lamberti and his shill Thompson.