By the Numbers

Experts ponder the possibilities for winning or losing the Miami mayor's race

Ferré basically needs to hang on to a significant percentage of the Cuban-American vote. He's doing very well among Anglo voters. He's doing very well among what I call Latin-American voters, non-Cuban Hispanic voters. But they're a minority in the City of Miami. The Cuban-American vote dominates. So for Maurice to be able to do well in the first round -- and for that matter to win in a runoff -- he has to appeal to a significant percentage of the Cuban-American vote, and that is his challenge. He needs to get twenty percent to get into the runoff.

His other big challenge is turnout. He needs Anglo and African-American voters to participate. But to win the runoff he'd better get at least 40 percent [of Cuban Americans], and that's tough when you're running against a Cuban candidate, although I don't think it would be very tough against Carollo.

Carollo I think is a lost cause. I don't know that he has much chance to win this election, although in the past he's proven people wrong who have written his obituary. He basically has no support among Anglos. Zero. He's got marginal support among blacks, about ten percent. And he's getting a lot less of the Cuban-American vote than he has in the past. He is doing a lot better among Cuban-American men than among Cuban-American women. You figure out why. I did not ask questions about his personal life, and I refuse to do so.

This is a municipal race in which personalities are much more important than ideologies, although obviously Carollo has tried to appeal to what you call the hard-liners. I think there are a lot of hard-liners who just don't like Carollo and don't like the way that he's run the city and don't like the image he portrays for the city.

For Carollo to win, he needs very low turnout among non-Cubans, similar to the election back in 1996, when [Mayor] Steve Clark died. That year it was 70 to 75 percent Cuban American. He needs that to have a chance to win. He needs basically for African Americans and Anglos to stay home and leave this election to Cuban Americans. If he gets that, then he's got a shot.

Diaz has gone from five percent back in June to fifteen percent. What Diaz needs to do is to convert the Carrie Meek endorsement into black votes and convert his support from SAVE Dade into Anglo votes. If he does those two things, he might just edge Carollo out and make it into the second round. He's not showing much of that yet. He's basically showing nothing among blacks, but you just have to think the endorsement from Carrie Meek has to mean something. Diaz is doing okay among Anglos. He's showing up. He's got some level of support. Right now he's at around ten among Anglos and at zero among blacks. He needs to get close to twenty percent in [both] the black and Anglo communities." Ric Katz, president of Communikatz

To win in the non-Latin white district, people need to think that you, the candidate, are not part of the past. That you're honest. That you're not corrupt. And beyond the good-government clean candidate, that you are going to be able to move the city forward in a positive direction. Get us out of the rut. The message is that you are capable of doing that.

It goes back to the high school report-card thing: "Plays well with others." In the English-speaking sector, people are paying attention to how well will this person get along with other members of the city commission, because this is not really a strong-mayor government at all. The commission has a lot of authority here. And for the mayor to do important things, he is going to have to have a good relationship with this commission. People in the Anglo or English-speaking white corridor are basically saying it's time for the city to move on. We're tired of being stuck in neutral. I think Carollo had that community once upon a time. I think he's lost it for this election. Now you've got to concentrate on what your base is, and his base is in low-income, older Cuban voters.

The political thought going into this election was that Carollo had about twenty percent of the overall vote, primarily from low-income Cuban Americans. If it hadn't been for Elian, I think Carollo would have had a lock on that portion of the vote. Not that Carollo did anything wrong with Elian or the Grammys, but two guys came along who also had made deep inroads in the community [Diaz and Garcia-Pedrosa]. I'm not sure Garcia-Pedrosa was able to capitalize, but Diaz did. That's the battleground right now. And also the African-American vote is the battleground.

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