Poll: Scott and Sink Locked in Dead Heat
The most reliable voters favor GOP candidate, but 'McCollum factor' looms
Around the State
The Oct. 20 survey shows Scott and Sink tied at 45-45, with 8 percent favoring "someone else/other" and 2 percent undecided.
A breakdown of the data offers hope for both candidates, says Jim Lee, president of Voter Survey Service, which conducted the poll of likely voters.
"When you look at respondents who say there's an 'excellent' chance of voting, Scott leads 46-44, compared to the 'good/fair' voters, which is Sink winning 53-26.
"This says to me that Scott is still the favorite, since 95 percent of Republicans have an 'excellent' chance of voting, compared to 89 percent of Democrats," Lee said.
On the other hand, Sunshine State News' nightly tracking poll shows a decided shift toward Sink by independent voters in the past two weeks.
"This is really where all the movement has occurred because they are still winning their respective bases by the same margins now that they were getting back on Oct. 6," Lee noted.
If the turnout by independents comes close to their registration level -- 22 percent of Florida voters -- this could give Sink the winning edge on Election Day.
When the nightly tracking polls began Oct. 6, Scott held a slim 48-46 lead.
"At this stage in the race, with voters locked in, the contest shifts to who does a better job of turning out their vote," Lee said.
So far, Republicans are turning out in higher percentages than Democrats during early voting, but with 11 days to go until Nov. 2, it's not known if that advantage will hold up.
Another variable is the Bill McCollum factor.
"Currently, 9 percent of Republicans are voting for 'someone else' compared to 6 percent of Democrats, so theoretically this could hurt Scott more particularly if some of these are pro-McCollum voters who still haven’t come back in the fold," Lee said.
While much of the Republican leadership has declared its support for Scott, McCollum, who lost a tight primary contest to the former health-care executive, has remained on the sidelines.
Seven gubernatorial candidates are listed on the ballot, with four No Party Affiliation hopefuls and an Independence Party candidate rounding out the field.
Joe Kildea, a spokesman for the Scott campaign, said, "We always knew this would be a close race. After Wednesday night's debate performance, we're confident that Floridians know that Rick Scott is the candidate who will create jobs."
The Sink campaign did not respond to requests for comment on deadline.
The Sunshine State News Poll conducts nightly surveys of 1,514 likely voters across Florida. The margin of error is +/- 2.52 percent.
Contact Kenric Ward at email@example.com or at (772) 801-5341.