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Rick Scott Opens Commanding Lead Over Bill McCollum

A statewide media blitz by gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott, a political unknown until a few months ago, has catapulted the South Florida businessman to the front of the race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

Scott, who announced his candidacy for governor in April, is leading Attorney General Bill McCollum among likely Republican primary voters 44 percent to 31 percent, according to the poll, which surveyed 814 likely GOP primary voters with a margin of error of 3.4 percent. A separate poll released earlier this week also showed Scott leading likely Democratic nominee Alex Sink if the general election were held today.

“It would be naive not to understand that has a lot to do with television,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “There's nothing wrong with that. That's how the game is played.”

Scott's campaign has thus far relied on the candidate's deep pockets to flood the airwaves with a massive television ad campaign to introduce him to the public. He has aired biographical commercials plus ones that specifically target immigration and health care issues. He's also tried to position himself as an outsider in what is perceived an anti-incumbent year where many long time politicians are being booted from office.

“Rick’s conservative outsider message of fiscal responsibility, smaller government and accountability to taxpayers is clearly resonating with voters,” said Scott spokesman Jennifer Baker in a press release.

McCollum may be suffering from a low-key approach so far, even some of his supporters acknowledge.
McCollum has had a minor television presence with its most prominent feature being an ad in which McCollum is largely the secondary character, overshadowed by former Gov. Jeb Bush who is endorsing McCollum in the ad.

"I don't think Bill (McCollum) is known for shucking and jiving and being the life of the cocktail party," said Mac Stipanovich, a McCollum supporter who has served as a campaign advisor for Republican candidates including former Gov. Bob Martinez and Gov. Charlie Crist. "But voters still don't really know much about Scott."

Quinnipiac has found that a relatively high portion of the electorate say they don't know enough about either candidate. According to the poll, 36 percent of likely GOP primary voters surveyed haven't heard enough about McCollum and 46 percent said they didn't know enough about Scott.

Stipanovich said other polls he had seen put the two in a virtual dead heat but that he expects Scott's support to erode when voters learn more about his controversial business background.

Scott, who lives in Naples, is the former chief executive of Columbia/HCA health care, and quit the company under pressure from its board as a fraud investigation loomed in the 1990s, but he was never charged.

In a separate race also featuring a virtual political unknown, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, and Palm Beach millionaire Jeff Greene are in a statistical dead heat for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, according to the poll, which surveyed 785 likely Democratic primary voters and had a margin of error of 3.5 percent..

The poll put Meek at 29 percent and Greene at 27 percent; however, both are still unknown to many Floridians with 59 percent saying they don't know enough about Meek and 64 percent saying they don't know enough about Greene.

7 Responses »

  1. Bill McCollum is a Bush RINO. If that's not enough to vote for Rick Scott, then knowing RINO McCollum is for appeasing the millions of illegal aliens should be sufficient for any sane person to vote for Scott.

    • Rick Perry is the man to vote for. He has admitted the problems with the business and has come clean. McCullum has said nothing about what he stands for, but we know he is against checking for illegals. This is the deciding factor for me when I cast my vote. It will definitely be for Scott.

  2. I'll vote for him simply because I think that business people with proven track records are what we need in office.

  3. Only in Florida could a guy who bilked the U.S. taxpayer out of millions of dollars and get canned as a result of billions in fines switch to politics...and be successful because he can't comprehend something as simple as the difference between getting arrested subject to being checked and being checked subject to getting arrested. Amazing.

  4. Barnum knew that the people like to be humbugged, or as "Tricky Ricky" might say "There's a sucker born every minute".

    The DEMS voted a community organizer and part-time legislator with Marxist Bomber (Bill Ayers), Mafia (Tony Rezko), far-left (Joyce Foundation), connections, and no executive experience at all into the White House. (Smart thinking!)

    Us REPS should have an equal opportunity to elect a flim-flam man too!! "Tricky Ricky", largely self-financed with $15 mill of his own money gained from his hospital adventure (Columbia Scandal) is loose on his quest to buy himself a Senate seat. Odd how he claims total ignorance of the Medicare scams. Lately courting the religious right with his anti-abortion talk. Perhaps equally ignorant of abortions performed in his hospitals? (Kinda like Obama statements: "That wasn't the Bill Ayers, I knew" and "That wasn't the Tony Rezko I knew".) Like the talk, and forget about substance? Go "Tricky Ricky"!! Remember we elected the clowns in D.C. - let's do it again!!

    Need some "Politico 101" ? Go check out Kurt Waldheim. (Past President of that "Sound of Music" country Austria, formerly head of the United Nations and admirer of the "Non-aligned socialist nations like Cuba, He began his career as a Nazi Party member and intelligence officer who later claimed ignorance of what was going on and/or forgot what happened.)

    Suggest you consider McCollum for Senate and Rubio for Governor. (They might be the "good guys" and , at worst the lesser of the evils running.)

  5. " Coming Clean", if he did, doesn't, or shouldn't, obviate the fact that Scott was forced to resign by his own board of directors. This is, as Joe Biden might say, " a big f****** deal". Boards of directors do not jettison CEO's without reason. Having met Bill McCollum, I'll admit he's not a guy that easily excites anyone. However, the least that can be said is that it is strongly suspected that he's honest! Reason enough in my mind to make him the choice over Mr. Scott.

  6. Rick Scott sneaking into politics just like he sneaked into buying hospitals. WAKE UP FL !!!!!!

    Doesn't matter his party. It's the man !!!! He screwed you with hospital buy outs and hid out so he escaped prosecution.

    My nursing rate goes down, down while the Muslim President turns USA over to those who want to deplete us. NOW you put a SNEAK in FL.

    There's no where to turn !!!