Poll: Obama, Dems Poised to Lose Grayson House Seat

Republican Dan Webster jumps to a 7-point lead
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: September 29, 2010 4:05 AM
Sunshine State News Poll--Alan Grayson and Daniel Webster

In one of the most closely watched U.S. House races in the nation, Republican Daniel Webster now holds a 7-point lead over Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson in Central Florida's 8th Congressional District, according to a new Sunshine State News Poll.

Webster, a former state senator, leads the freshman congressman 43-36 in the survey of 559 likely voters conducted Sept. 25-27. TEA ("Taxed Enough Already") Party candidate Peg Dunmire drew 6 percent and NPA hopeful George Metcalfe garnered 3 percent, while 9 percent remained undecided (2 percent cited "other" and 1 percent refused to state). Digging deeper, the numbers look even worse for Grayson as 51 percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable view of the Orlando-area congressman.

"Grayson has real problems here," said Jim Lee, president of Voter Survey Service, which conducted the poll for Sunshine State News. "He’s even more unpopular than the president, which is not surprising given how controversial he has been with his rhetoric, overall style and TV ads." Lee added, "It’s fascinating that both Grayson and the president have virtually the same image (a positive/negative ratio of 34/51), but Grayson is actually disliked more by independents (36/47 favorable/unfavorable) while Obama is only 36/37." Andy Sere, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee in Washington, D.C., said the Central Florida district "is ripe for a Republican pick-up, even if we weren't running against Alan Grayson." Calling Grayson's views "so far outside the maintstream," Sere predicted that "a large swath of independents and conservative Democrats will hand him a resounding defeat in November." Tom Gaitens, Florida director for FreedomWorks, said the Washington, D.C-based tea group has focused on the CD8 race "from the beginning."

"Grayson is an obnoxious antagonist to tea partiers and raised the ire of the movement," Gaitens said. "He's probably the biggest lightning rod-type candidate in the nation."

With controversial TV ads like "Taliban Dan," in which the Democrat tried to portray the Baptist Webster as a religious extremist, "Grayson put himself in the crosshairs," Gaitens said.

"It's his character to say foolish things, and he doesn't handle stress well. He'll see this poll and get more desperate," said Gaitens, who predicts a 10-point victory for Webster.

But Webster has challenges, as well. Though the SSN poll shows him getting 72 percent of the GOP vote, Dunmire picks off 10 percent of Republicans and Metcalfe gets 1 percent.

"They have the potential to be real spoilers in this race and could allow Grayson to squeak through," Lee said.

The key appears to be what happens with the remaining 10 percent of Republicans who are undecided (47 percent of all undecided voters remaining).

Metcalfe appears to be a factor with independents, attracting 10 percent of that vote (vs. Webster at 33 percent, Grayson at 42 percent and Dunmire at 2 percent).

Among poll respondents who said their chances of voting this fall were "excellent," Webster retains a 7-point advantage over Grayson, 44-37.

Lee said it will be key whether the "third-party" vote evaporates closer to Election Day. 

"A good reference point is last year's New Jersey governor’s race when Chris Christie defeated incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine," Lee observed.

"There was an independent candidate getting double-digit support in all the polling (including ours), but by the time Election Day rolled around voters realized it was a wasted vote and he only got 7 percent, which meant Christie was able to defeat Corzine with less than 50 percent of the vote. If I were Webster, I would be trying to convince conservative Republicans that a vote for Dunmire/Metcalfe is a vote for the incumbent."

Webster’s image with Republicans is healthy (58/4 favorable to unfavorable) but 30 percent still don’t have an opinion of him and 7 percent still don’t know him.

Female voters are anything but ambivalent about Grayson -- "They really loathe him," Lee reported. With Grayson's 33/53 favorable/unfavorable rating among women, Webster’s lead among females is much stronger (45/33 over Grayson) compared to a statistical tie (41/40 Webster) among males. 

"This is important, because we usually see a gender gap in polling where females tend to vote more Democrat than males, but it’s the reverse in this poll," Lee said.

Grayson's campaign manager Susannah Randolph agrees that the female vote is crucial -- noting that 53 percent of CD 8's registered voters are women -- but she predicted that Webster's support will erode.

"Webster's record on women is starting to get out there. As soon as they realize he sponsored a bill to outlaw divorce, opposes abortion in cases of rape and incest, and voted for cuts in funding to domestic violence shelters, they'll see he's incredibly anti-women," Randolph said.

"Alan Grayson is a champion for women's rights, and we will be in a commanding lead," she predicted.

The Democratic Party also is banking that the district's relatively high percentage of minority voters (34.4 percent) will come out again for Grayson on Nov. 2. Grayson knocked off GOP incumbent Ric Keller with 52 percent of the vote in 2008.

Webster spokesman Brian Graham said Grayson's attack-dog style of campaigning will catch up with him this time around.

"Alan Grayson has been caught misleading voters in four different ads this month -- and it's backfiring," Graham said.

"The people of Central Florida deserve better than Alan Grayson's lies and extreme liberal positions. Daniel Webster is the leader Central Florida needs to create jobs and balance our budgets."

Metcalfe says the Republican-Democrat bickering is self-defeating.

"Voters are disgusted with both parties and will support my election in growing numbers. I could not hold my nose and vote GOP just to be betrayed again," Metcalfe said.

And Dunmire believes that the poll vastly understated TEA's power at the polling booth.

"All the polls to date that involved 'tea party' candidates have shown similar results in the weeks and months leading up to the election. Every one of those polls has undervalued tea-supported candidates and this race will be no different," Dunmire said.

Jerry Dorchuck, a Florida-based political consultant, forecast that Webster will "eke out a small victory, thanks to independent voters.

"The tea party activists will, I think, sit back and look at supporting one of their own vs. the prospect of giving the race back to Grayson, and they'll close their eyes and vote for Webster," said Dorchuck, who operates PMI Polling, a non-partisan research and voter-contact firm.

While the Cook and Rothenberg political reports have rated CD8 a "toss-up" and "toss-up/tilt Republican," Grayson still has an edge in personal wealth and campaign cash.

Sere said NRCC has committed $817,000 for advertising and "will do whatever we can to elect Dan Webster."

"The way Grayson is spending money has negated his advantage," Sere added. "His over-the-top and, in some cases, despicable ads have been deemed false. Even left-wing bloggers are coming out against him.

"Dan Webster is the perfect contrast -- a respected statesman."

As for the tea party effect, FreedomWorks, which has pledged to support Webster with yard signs and a get-out-the-vote drive, cautioned that no Republican should take tea movement for granted.

"You will stay in the office by honoring the Constitution, fiscal discipline and free markets. If you stray, we'll come after you too, just like we did with Charlie Crist," Gaitens warned.

The Sunshine State News poll was conducted by Voter Survey Service, a division of Pennsylvania-based Susquehanna Polling and Research. Live calls were made from the VSS telephone call center in Harrisburg, Pa., and the survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.14 percent.


Contact Kenric Ward at kward@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 801-5341.

Comments (100)

9:44AM SEP 30TH 2010
talking about idiots...if you think that big corporations and the private sector are not going to exploit the workers and make the consumer miserable with their price hikes or false promises of services and opportunities....,I think you are the Idiot.....I believe in big government I think it is the best way to go I do not trust entrepenuers I trust the government much more....hey you can call me all you want to call me but there are always good things in all philosophies whether it is captialism or marxism....there is a lot of good in more radical socialism such as nationalizing say the public utilities...which I think would be a great idea!!!!!!!!! so keep the names to yourself it has no imact, we will still be VOTING REPUBLICANS AND CONSERVATIVES OUT OF POWER
11:44AM OCT 7TH 2010
Most successful people in America started with very little and through hard work and perseverance they established a productive and happy life, the American dream. That is the key, hard work pays. It is obvious the few nay sayers are not aware of what has transpired in Eastern Europe. Since the fall of communism/socialism the populations there have grasped the prospects of capitialism and are now working their way out of the miserable life style thye previously lived.
10:48PM SEP 30TH 2010
My last reply to you.
Not to be too condescending, but you really haven't thought through your belief in government. Absolute power corrupts. It always will. Just as you say the powerful (monopoly) will abuse the customers, that is basically true. You need free enterprise to counter those who would abuse customers and give them choices. That competition leads to better products and more responsive businesses.
To me you appear to either be too young to have enough experience or you've shaped a rigid opinion and ideology such that you can no longer reason with yourself on these issues.
I am right with you on the govt serving a role to protect us from abuses of power, but believe me, we do NOT want to give the govt the power over all things because then we have no alternatives to our abuse.
1:39AM OCT 1ST 2010
I am not young and a grown up woman....a business woman and manager....I believe in free but carefully regulated enterprise system...I have enough experience with the abuses of owners and shareholders....I do not know how experience you are Phil...but I rather have Grayson and the Democrats anytime,...I trust government more than capitalists. but of course government with checks and balances as well
12:23AM SEP 30TH 2010
There are already out polls showing the opposite of this article, wait and see, Grayson will suprise
anyways who believes in Polls...they are generally wrong....and biased as well, who knows what the interviewer does in the poll? what are the interviewe biases?
11:47AM OCT 7TH 2010
Please! Keep living in a dream world. As Obama once said, elections have consequences. We'll see what happens after Nov 2. Grayson is a disgrace as a politician and person.
12:12AM SEP 30TH 2010
to alangrayson@graysonforcongress.com
Dear Sir,
We, Democrats of Florida will stand behind you and vote for you in the November election. You have shown great courage in standing up for the weak and standing up against the strong careless do nothing Republicans...we highly respect you and project you the WINNER IN NOVEMBER!!! do not worry the Democrats will get out the vote we are already doing so and
voting for you as well with the absentee ballots now and early election soon

Florida Registered Voter .....
12:06AM SEP 30TH 2010
Grayson is the most honest politician I have ever met....Florida is basically Democrat and
we believe in effective government, not a do nothing Republican/Tea Party type
government....we believe in helping those in need not letting them die as Grayson has said
and has been proven correct, the conservative crap with fiscal responsibility and constitutional government is just a bunch of crap....in comparison to all of those now poor in America that
need to government to survive the Financial crisis caused by the unregulated market....and careless Republicans only favoring deregulation making the rich richer and the poor poorer
4:08PM OCT 4TH 2010
Grayson is a fool and your thought about him being honest is also a joke. Good luck because this fool will need it.
10:53PM SEP 30TH 2010
I couldn't limit myself. I am a democrat and have been all my life. I campaigned for democrats in the last election and I will again (for some) this time around. (Yes, I am a less than happy, former Hillary Clinton supporter).
But, Grayson is a slimeball lawyer and a terrible symbol for our party. We cannot allow him to stay in congress. I wish we could have gotten another democrat to run successfully against him, but we didn't. The best thing for everyone is for Grayson to just go away.
6:29AM OCT 1ST 2010
I agree with you. He's a slimeball that uses dirty politics. He should have stuck to issues with his ads. I don't want him representing my state.
2:20AM OCT 1ST 2010
Look at Grayson in the Health Care debate....the Republcians lying all over the place....making stipulations and statements totally false about what was being considered, no room for negotiation with Republicans....Grayson told the truth, Republicans want the uninsured to die....see the other party cares less about anything other than providing support to the private industry......Grayson and I see it different....we look at the other party as assasins....whom you have to fight hard agains and not negotiate...in fact if Republicans do win some majority we have to be prepared to block them and not negotiate with them every step of the way....the Conservative strong hold that has been destroying America has to stop, and has to be crushed
11:26AM OCT 27TH 2010
I love this line. "no room for negotiation with Republicans." It would be nice if mahilena would get educated. It would also be nice if Democrats included Republicans in negotiations. Where has this clown been?
11:25AM OCT 27TH 2010
I love this line. "no room for negotiation with Republicans." It would be nice if mahilena would get educated. It would also be nice if Democrats included Republicans in negotiations. Where has this clown been?
11:25AM OCT 27TH 2010
I love this line. "no room for negotiation with Republicans." It would be nice if this mahilena would get educated. It would also be nice if Democrats included Republicans in negotiations. Where hs this clown been?
11:54AM OCT 7TH 2010
The only thing that has the potential to destroy this country is the left wing leanings of this administration. I have worked for everything I have and I like it that way. I do not want a government handout nor do I want them to interfere in my life. It comes down to the party of food stamps versus the party of pay checks. Hard works does pay, that is the key "hard work". Look at what welfare has bred, even Bill Clinton had the sense to limit this program so you would not perpetuate a society dependent on government.
1:48AM OCT 1ST 2010
I do not believe you are a true Democrat...Grayson has stood up for the abuses of power which you claim you have done yourselff, it is impossible for you to be a Democrat and not vote for Grayson....give me a break....
8:56PM SEP 29TH 2010
A repug poll for a repug rag, this has no credibility.
Eagle D
8:42PM SEP 29TH 2010
Don't worry, folks. As soon as Webster crushes Grayson this November, Grayson can just get a new job as a MSNBC host.
11:59AM OCT 7TH 2010
Good point! Did you know that in the Rolling Stones article Obama cites Obleman and Maddow as credible journalists. That says it all.
12:16AM SEP 30TH 2010
That won't happen, we are now mobilizing forces to get Grayson elected...he will crush your Republican do nothing guy
8:39PM SEP 29TH 2010
It's fun listening to the teabaggers whine about Grayson. It's not his bluntness they don't like; it's that he's right. Teabaggers are as rude and vicious as they come, but they don't mind when it's coming from one of their own.
As for shooting Grayson for treason--we see the teabaggers love them some violence. But that fits the "Taliban" description too, doesn't it.
12:20AM SEP 30TH 2010
Do not worry, Grayson knows how to defend himself, the TeaBaggers are traitors themselves to humanity what do they stand for small gov? fiscal responsibility? crap....they want to do away with all the advances in 20th century civil rights, dismantle all of Social Security, Medicare, the VA care, they could care less about the uninsured and poor in America, these TeaBaggers are well positioned seniors just trying to look for their selfish needs rather than try to help out those honest, hard working Americans who have encountered bad times with no fault of their own...wait until the same fate hits some of these teabaggers
8:26PM SEP 29TH 2010
To the Republicans
Why do you hate America and why do you hate the troops
1:36AM SEP 30TH 2010
Because Republicans only care about the private sector and how to get rich with the contributions of the rich, they have no heart, they careless about this country they only care about themselves....if people die they do not care if people do not eat they do not care if people lose their home they do not care and in fact they spend all their time insulting those who suffer and kissing the rear of those who give them money....
8:06PM SEP 29TH 2010
I don't understand all the hatred here. Aside from just saying how evil Obama and Grayson are, could anyone at all provide one piece of evidence that demonstrates that vile opinion? The Republicans all stood up against protecting American jobs from overseas outsourcing yesterday. Where were you dimwits when that happened? Oh yeah, somehow that was Obama's fault too, he's really really really evil, right?
Mitch Pawl
7:35PM SEP 29TH 2010
Watching Grayson on the different television adds and shows, he is a real Douche Bag. He has no class and he should have never been elected in the first place.
Bill Brewer
4:16PM SEP 29TH 2010
Here is what I just sent to alangrayson@graysonforcongress.com


I find your juvenile campaign tactics and childlike TV ads to be repulsive and
unacceptable conduct from a person who claims to represent the people of the
Great State of Florida. We can all only hope that the voters will do the right
thing and vote you out of office.

Registered Florida voter

10:12PM OCT 3RD 2010
Good for you! You have written down what the masses think of Grayson. Your letter will probaly end up in the shredder. Grayson and Obama does not live in the same world as us!
1:32AM SEP 30TH 2010
funny...I wrote the exact opposite to Grayson, in fact we will work hard to get him reelected!!!

We need more Democrats in Congress like him to put the do nothing cruel Republicans in their place...we need more Democrats to defend the weaker and not the strong rich enteprenuer
there is too much abuse on the part of the private sector ruining our country and economy we need Democrats to defend the nation against Republican destruction also what would be the destruction to our nation that will occur with the Tea Party people trying to destroy a century of civil rights progress
2:29PM SEP 29TH 2010
After her loses, take him out and put a bullet in the back of his brain.
9:03AM SEP 30TH 2010
Every since you were released from Prison in April, you have been writing some very violent things and I think
you need to see your parole office soon.
1:33AM SEP 30TH 2010
a bullet behind yours seems more appropiate.....
2:30PM SEP 29TH 2010
Of course, only if convicted of treason. But odds are that he would be.
8:32PM SEP 29TH 2010
Nice to see you understand what this country is all about. Exactly what artice in the constitution are you basing your opinion on. Have you read the constitution? Our troops are fighting and dying to keep us safe. You directly contracdict what they are fighting for. Why do you hate the troops.
2:22PM SEP 29TH 2010
Just to make sure everyone understands - Dunmire does not represent the Grass Roots Tea Party Organization. She represents the group who hijacked the TEA Party name to confuse voters into thinking she has been endorsed by the Grassroots organization and make you think she holds the same core values of smaller government and fiscal responsibility that the Tea Party Organization stands for. The Tea Party Political Party is funded by the Democrates to pull votes from Republican Dan Webster. Don't be confused by a sheep in wolves clothing!
Sarah Wahlquist
5:16PM SEP 29TH 2010
Don't know where you get your information, but I went with Peg Dunmire to Washington on 9/12/09 and she's about as tea party as you can get.
You don't know anything about that you speak!
And Doug Guetzloe is as Republican and Red, White and Blue as you can get. Thirty years fighting for us against new taxes.
Peg Dunmire is more about the tea party movement than anyone in Florida.
Don't know where you've been but Dan is pro-tax; 28 year professional politician.
I'm voting Dunmire and so are all of my neighbors!
9:48AM OCT 2ND 2010
Peg Dunmire is as much a part of the tea party movement as Charlie Crist is a conservative. As for the postings under the name Sarah Wahlquist, this is a well known Guetzloe pseudonym that is used to carry forth his propaganda. By design, a vote for Dunmire is a vote for Grayson.
11:22PM SEP 29TH 2010
From todays Orlando Sentinal:
"Sept. 29--Tea party activists say they'll try to serve subpoenas today on Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and Orlando political consultant Doug Guetzloe in an attempt to prove they conspired to create the Florida Tea Party and field a spoiler candidate in Grayson's race.
Members of the tea party movement point to ties between Grayson, a liberal Democrat, and Guetzloe, a Republican consultant and one of the founders of the Florida Tea Party political party. Among those ties: Grayson's campaign has paid Victoria Torres, a little known Republican pollster, for campaign polling. She's worked with Guetzloe for years, and has since signed on as a Florida Tea Party candidate in another district."

My recollection of the story on WESH is that Grayson has funnelled about $40,000 to Torres. The tea party has been successful in the primaries in ridding us of Rinos like Christ. A Third party challenge only plays to the advantage of scum like Grayson and Harry Reid. If you insist on voting for Dunmire you are helping to return this idiot to congress. Be honest to yourself and just vote for Grayson outright. If Dunmire is legitimate she can run and do well in the primaries 2 years from now.
I attended tea party rallies in Orlando and Deland and do not recall Guetzloe being there. He is simply hijacking the tea party name.
8:58PM SEP 29TH 2010
I don't know where he gets his spelling. You repugs should stay awake in school.
1:48PM SEP 29TH 2010
He should go to jail for treason!
Like his friend Obama!
9:05AM SEP 30TH 2010
We know you did 30 years for your affair with that 9 year old boy but this congressman violated no law. You seem as bitter as you were when you were released from Prison.
12:21PM SEP 29TH 2010
Alan Grayson is a complete liar. Even liberal MSNBC to him to the woodshed for his lying television ads. I think the Grayson maybe crazy or at least those who work for his campaign are.
11:45AM SEP 29TH 2010
grayson is a vile vulgar nasty man and deserves to lose
10:31AM SEP 29TH 2010
Why don't House ethics rules apply to member's campaign tactics? This Grayson character is an embarrassment. The fine people of his district deserve better, MUCH better.
9:23PM SEP 29TH 2010
Because repugs would never allow it, they love "swift boating" people too damn much. The phrase was literally coined to discribe repug tactics! Repug candidates have been smearing their way into office for years, but heaven for fend if a Democrat has the temerity to do it. That being said, he shouldn't have sunk to their level. I don't agree with it, but the indignation from the right is unbelieveable, but shouldn't be unexpected by this low low point.
10:13AM SEP 29TH 2010
Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson has been nothing more then an embarrassment to Central FL time to flush this terd
8:10AM SEP 29TH 2010
Hope my TV survives this political ad season. Grayson's despicable lies and creepy ads make me sick.
7:51AM SEP 29TH 2010
Alan Grayson brought his Brooklyn Street Bully Attitude to Florida and it is not appreciated. Grayson is despicable, offensive, rude, and arrogant, he is also a proven liar. He is not suited to be a Floridian, much less a Representative of Florida.

Grayson is circling the the toilet and he will not be missed.
8:28PM SEP 29TH 2010
Why do you hate America?

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