Chamber Poll Shows McCollum Leading, Crist Still Popular
Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum leads Democratic Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink among likely voters for the 2010 governor’s race, according to a poll paid for by the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
But Democrats are wary of the poll’s findings, noting the polling company that conducted the survey has strong ties to the Republican Party.
McCollum leads Sink 43 percent to 34 percent for Sink among likely voters, according to the poll, conducted by Cherry Communications, a Tallahassee-based communications firm that promotes conservative causes, and bills itself as a GOP polling firm.
The poll, which has a margin of error of 4 percent, comes 16 months before Election Day for the seat vacated by Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running for the U.S. Senate. Most telling may be the fact that 23 percent are undecided.
“Though both candidates have similar name identification ratings, Attorney General McCollum continues to hold the lead in this race, partly because of the significant crossover appeal among Democrats,” said Marian Johnson, Vice President of Political Affairs for the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
The same poll shows Governor Charlie Crist holding an extremely strong 67% approval rating.
The chamber-backed poll was completed Aug. 5. Surveyors took input from 605 randomly selected respondents who identified themselves as likely voters.
A Democratic spokesman dismissed the poll, saying it comes more than a year before the election and voters are focusing their attentions elsewhere. In addition, Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jottkoff said the poll finding should be viewed skeptically, given the pollster’s close ties to the GOP.
“Right now it doesn’t matter,” Jottkoff said. “In 2010, Floridians are going to have a clear choice.”
Established in 1990, Cherry Communications says its goal is to promote Republican principles by providing voter contact and other phone services to the Republican community.”
“Since then, Cherry Communications has served the direct contact needs of thousands of Republican candidates, party organizations, and conservative groups throughout the country,” the company's web site states.
In June, a Ron Sachs Mason-Dixon poll found McCollum ahead of Sink in the governor’s race 41 to 35 percent, but with 24 percent undecided.
But that same month a Quinnipiac University poll showed Democrat Sink holding a 38-34 percent lead over McCollum. Quinnipiac is expected to release its latest 2010 gubernatorial poll later this week.