New Poll: McCollum Leading Sink, Crist Leading Rubio
Shifting position from a poll released in June, Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum leads Democrat Alex Sink, 38 - 34 percent among registered voters in the 2010 Governor's race in a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday.
The poll, which has a margin of error of 2.9 percent, reverses a 38 - 34 percent for Sink, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer. Pollsters attributed the change to independent voters who shifted from 32 - 27 percent for McCollum in June to 38 - 23 percent in the latest poll.
In the race for the U.S. Senate, Gov. Charlie Crist leads former state House Speaker Marco Rubio 55 - 26 percent for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. The margin was virtually unchanged from June, when Crist led the Miami Republican by a 54 - 23 percent margin.
The poll found the potential Democratic U.S. Senate candidates, U.S. Reps. Kendrick Meek, Ron Klein and Corrine Brown, “largely unknown” to most Floridians, only 20 percent of whom have any preference on the Democratic race.
With 15 months to go before the general election, both McCollum and Sink are highly favored by voters who know them. While both candidates are viewed favorably by 3-to-1 margins, many more voters know McCollum, a former Congressman who has run previous statewide campaigns. In contrast, more than two-thirds of respondents said they did not have enough information on Sink to form an opinion.
“It’s not just that more people know him, more people know him and most of them like him,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute, told reporters in Tallahassee. “…Clearly, he’s made a very good first impression on the voters of Florida.”
Sink’s dip in the polls may also be caused by external events including the simmering health care debate and disagreement over the success of President Barack Obama’s federal stimulus package. The president’s popularity, historically, has been a factor. Poll findings on those issues are expected Thursday.
“Politics is a team game and those who are on the same team tend to benefit when the team is doing well,” Brown said.
Looking at the U.S. Senate race, Crist has maintained his lead over Rubio despite less-than stellar economic news that has hindered other sitting governors. Crist’s favorable ratings within Republican ranks -- 66 percent approve of his job performance – will make it difficult for Rubio to overtake Crist in the Republican primary.
“Charlie Crist has politically survived the political tides of a bad economy much better - much better - than most any governor in a two-party state in the country, certainly in a big two-party state,” Brown said.
An unrelated Republican Primary poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports showed Crist holding a slightly slimmer lead over Rubio, putting the governor up 53 percent to 31 percent. The telephone survey of 470 likely Republican Primary voters was taken Monday and has a margin-of-error of 5 percent.