Last-Minute Spike Boosting Rick Scott, Poll Shows

Alex Sink still 'in with a chance'
By: Nancy Smith | Posted: November 2, 2010 11:39 AM
Rick Scott and Alex Sink -- Sunshine State News Poll (11-2)

As the last voters make their way to voting booths Tuesday, a Sunshine State News Poll of the previously tick-tight gubernatorial race shows Rick Scott leading Alex Sink in pull-away fashion, 49-45 among likely voters, and 50-44 among those with an “excellent” chance of voting.

The statewide poll of 1,526 likely voters was conducted Oct. 31 - Nov. 1.

Rick Scott and Alex Sink -- Sunshine State News Poll Table (11-2)

Jim Lee, president of Voter Survey Service of Harrisburg, Pa., which conducts all Sunshine State News Polls, explained Tuesday morning that even though "Scott has to be considered the favorite," Sink is “still in with a chance.”

“Among all those who voted early,” Lee said, “the candidates are virtually split (47-47). So, if Scott doesn’t lead in early votes, he’s still not in the clear.”

Getting away from the daily tracking surveys, which tend to be over-analyzed because on most days leads for both candidates usually fell within the margin of error, and looking instead at the long-term view from the first Labor Day poll to the current one, the aggregate of polls shows this: Scott has increased 7 points, from 42 percent, while Sink has increased only 1 percent, from 44 percent.

Even more telling is that Scott’s positive name ID has increased dramatically from the Labor Day poll, where he now has a net +1 positive rating (46 percent favorable to 45 percent unfavorable). That’s a 16-point jump in positive name ID from his inverted 46-30 ratio in September.

Meanwhile, Sink, who is upside down at 42-49 fav/unfav, has gone in the opposite direction. Her negatives have climbed a staggering 21 points since September, while her positives have only grown 7 points.

“This is very significant,” Lee said, “because it shows a clear shift in momentum to Scott, and that Scott has largely succeeded in rehabilitating his weak image after the bruising battle with (Attorney General Bill) McCollum.

“This is particularly true with Republicans, where he has gone from a 49-28 ratio in favorable/unfavorable name ID in September, to a 75-20 ratio in the current poll. That’s a 26-point jump.”

Rick Scott spokesman Joe Kildea was cautiously optimistic after learning the poll results. "This is going to be a very close race," he said, "but this poll shows that as voters approach Election Day, they trust Rick Scott to be the candidate to create jobs, not Obama liberal Alex Sink."

The key for Scott to win, polling experts agree, is to hold his base and to “not get killed” with independents. Currently, Scott is winning Republicans 80-14, which could be enough, given the enthusiasm gap that favors the higher turnout among GOP voters this year.

“Plus,” said Lee, “even though independents have a largely unfavorable opinion of Scott – he has a negative 52-36 margin – he’s only losing by a 48-40 margin to Sink. And that’s essentially a dead heat, because it’s within the margin of error.”

Ed Moore, president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida and a noted political analyst, believes media reporting of the early voting for the last two weeks has been benefiting Scott.

“It’s usually the Democrats who vote early,” Moore said. “Not this time. That’s why you’ve seen so many get-out-the-vote efforts among the Democrats the last week. You have to look at what’s happening and see a Republican advantage.”

A spokesperson at Sink’s campaign headquarters declined comment on the poll.

Regionally, the poll still shows Scott with big margins in the North, Sink leading in the South, and Central Florida still neck-and-neck, although Scott leads narrowly, 49-44 – a statistical tossup.

The Sunshine State News Poll's margin of error is +/- 2.51 percent.

For a look at the poll’s crosstabs, click below.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.


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1:33PM NOV 2ND 2010
When are you brain-dead political hacks going to understand. He had the lead but the liberal polls scurry around in the last minute to be accurate so the can look legitimate. Rick Scott 52% no change in outcome only in polling.
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2:45PM NOV 2ND 2010
What a shame for our wonderful state should Mr. Scott get elected. If he is the best that the Republican party has to offer, it bodes poorly for the Republicans, and I feel so sorry for them. On the other hand, Mrs. Sink is no piece of gold either and if she is the best that the Democrats have, I feel equally sorry for them.

This points out the sad state of Florida's politics, that good, honest men and women with integrity, honor, and values are not running for office anymore. Therefore we, the electorate, have to choose between the bad and the worst. In the governor's race, I took the bad, Mrs. Sink, over the worst possible candidate that possibly could have run. I am so glad that I'm an independent.
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4:42PM NOV 2ND 2010
Thank You, whether you are a republican or democrat the right choice this election will be Alex Sink. Rick Scott is the worse possible choice for a republican candidate and people should have known this from the tactics he use in defeating Bill Mccollum, this man simply treats people as if they are stupid, do you seriously think he will be a good governor to you. From his track record and from what you have already seen it should have become aware to you that he will use you for his own profitable gain. Don't put this man in power over you. Do the right thing and vote Alex Sink before it's too late.
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6:17PM NOV 2ND 2010
The best choice for Florida is obviously Rick Scott. Good for jobs, good for preventing illegal Mexicans from destroying our country and especially good for preventing the Obama liberal Alex Sink from bringing her Obama destroying policies to Florida. Bye Bye Charlie Christ, be a man not a fake politician.

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