NEW GOVERNOR'S POLLS RELEASED; CRIST, DAVIS ON TOP BUT LARGE NUMBER STILL UNDECIDED
The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute released it's latest Florida poll this week, and it shows some possible close general election matchups but a lot of Sunshine State voters remain undecided six months before the primaries.
Attorney General Charlie Crist is on top of both Democratic primary hopefuls, Congressman Jim Davis (40-36 percent) and State Senator Rod Smith (42-32 percent), while GOP opponent Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher shows closer numbers against the pair: 37-36 percent against Davis, 38-34 percent vs. Smith.
Among Republicans, Crist leads Gallagher 40-31 percent with 27 percent undecided. Among Democrats, Davis leads Smith 29-13 with a huge 53 percent still undecided.
It's clear the Democratic candidates have to really begin getting their message out. Crist is the best known of the four major gubernatorial candidates, but 47 percent have not heard enough to form a favourable or unfavourable opinion of him. That jumps to 49 percent in Gallagher's case, but skyrockets to 77 percent for Davis and 82 percent for Smith.
In addition, the new Strategic Vision poll came out with similar numbers: Among Republicans, Crist beats Gallagher 46-37 percent with 17 percent undecided. Davis still beats Smith among Democrats 38-20 percent with 42 percent undecided. In a general election matchup, Crist wins by similar numbers (46-39 against Davis, 47-36 against Smith). Gallagher also wins against both Democrats (45-38 vs. Davis, 46-35 vs. Smith). Remember that Strategic Vision is a Republican-leaning organization.
One other issue in the Strategic Vision poll: It asked it's respondents about several possible matchups in the U.S. Senate race between incumbant Democrat Bill Nelson and various well known GOP politicians. Nelson wins all handy...except for against Charlie Crist (46-45 percent, in the margin of error) and Governor Jeb Bush (52-38 percent).
And here's something for the candidates and legislators to pay close attention to, especially with the new legislative session beginning soon: The QU poll shows by a 60-33 percent margin that Floridians want to see their state budget surplus funds used to address state needs rather than for tax breaks. Needless to say, GOP respondants favour tax breaks 53-40 percent while Democrats want to address other needs 75-17 percent. The likely make-or-break vote, independents, favour addressing other needs by a margin of 64-30 percent.
The QU poll was conducted February 15-20 among 1,076 Florida registered voters (429 Democrats, 443 Republicans, 204 independents/others). The margin of error is =/- 3 points for questions asked of all respondents, and =/- 4.7 percent for those asked strictly by party affiliation.
The SV poll was conducted by phone with 1,200 likely Florida voters 18+ on February 17-19. The margin of error is =/- 3.0 percent.