Alex Sink and Rick Scott in Tight Race as Florida Votes
Around the State
With a flurry of new polls showing the gubernatorial race extremely close, state CFO and Democratic candidate Alex Sink and Republican nominee businessman Rick Scott crossed the state Monday, beating the drums to rally their supporters to the polls.
Sink started her day in Fort Myers, attending a breakfast event with her running mate, former Sen. Rod Smith, and Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. Also in attendance was Bob Graham, the former governor and U.S. senator who remains popular in the Sunshine State.
After attending a phone bank, Sink and Smith headed up to his political home-base with a rally in Gainesville. The Democrats then headed to Sarasota before attending a rally in Tampa. They held a final rally with former President Bill Clinton and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek in Orlando late on Monday night.
Scott also started Monday in Lee County, attending a breakfast in Fort Myers before focusing on South Florida with appearances in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Davie. Scott closed the day with a rally in his home base of Naples.
Three polls released on Monday showed how close the battle was.
In a poll of 1,527 likely voters, Voter Survey Service for Sunshine State News found Sink taking 49 percent with Scott at 46 percent. The poll, which was taken on Oct. 29 - 31, had a margin of error of +/- 2.49 percent.
Quinnipiac University released a poll on Monday and, like the poll Sunshine State News released, it had Sink leading by the skin of her teeth. The poll of likely voters had Sink taking 44 percent with Scott right behind her with 43 percent. The poll of 925 likely voters was taken between Oct. 25-31 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points.
“It is a dead heat and either candidate could be the state's next governor,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute
"In the governor's race, the victor will be whoever wins a majority of the 9 percent of likely voters who remain undecided at this late date," added Brown.
Public Policy Polling (PPP) released a poll on Monday -- its final look at the race -- and, like the other two polls, showed Sink ahead by the slimmest of margins. Sink took 48 percent in the poll with Scott right behind her at 47 percent. The poll found Attorney General Bill McCollum, whom Scott defeated in the primary, would have trailed Sink by the same margin -- with the Democrat leading the hypothetical matchup 46 percent to 45 percent. The poll of 773 likely voters was taken on Oct. 30-31 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.
Both camps were aware of how close the race was.
“Tomorrow, we will decide the future of our state,” wrote Sink to supporters on Monday afternoon. “Millions of Floridians have already voted, and millions more will vote tomorrow. This is one of the tightest races in the country.”
The Sink team unveiled a poll locator on their website and encouraged backers to forward it to their contacts.
The Scott campaign also noted how close the race was when they informed voters about a hotline they had set up, insisting the Democrats could commit voter fraud.
“Given the tightness of the polls, all examples of fraud must be addressed to preserve the integrity of the election,” said Rob Jakubik, a spokesman for Scott.
Nor do the candidates show any sign of letting up. On Tuesday, after voting in Naples, Scott heads to Jacksonville and then to Tampa to continue campaigning.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.