Poll: Rick Scott Muscles Ahead of Alex Sink

Will CFO's 'unhinged' debate performance -- quickly becoming 'Blackberrygate' -- hurt her this last week?
By: Kenric Ward & Nancy Smith | Posted: October 27, 2010 4:05 AM
Rick Scott and Alex Sink -- Sunshine State News Poll
Following Monday night’s debate, momentum in Florida’s race for governor appears to be slowly shifting to Rick Scott. Republican Scott jumped to a 2-point lead immediately prior to, and during, his red-hot CNN slugfest with Democrat Alex Sink.

Sunshine State News' nightly tracking poll of likely voters shows Scott moving from a 45-45 tie with Sink on Oct. 20 to a 47-45 advantage Monday night.

Two weeks earlier (Oct. 12-13), Sink held a 48-45 advantage.

Jim Lee, president of Voter Survey Service, which conducted this and all Sunshine State News Polls, said the fundamental dynamics of the race have changed in three weeks.

"These two are so evenly matched," Lee said, "that for the last three weeks they have traded the lead more than once -- yet the election is now in Scott's favor. I say this because Scott leads by nearly 2 points overall (46-45) -- not a lot -- but by 4 points (48-44) among those who say they are most likely to vote."

Sink does have the advantage in independent voters. She's gone from a 45-45 tie on Oct. 6 to a 47-34 lead in the current poll. "However," said Lee, "this is really within the poll's margin of error because of the small sub-sample (186 surveys with independents in Monday's survey)."

How can Scott now be leading when he's losing independents? Lee has the answer:

"I went back to the first poll we did in September after the primaries, and in that poll Sink was leading by 2 points (44-42). But the difference was that Scott did not have the GOP base secured because of the fallout from the primary with (Bill) McCollum."

Lee said election watchers should "stay tuned" to see how this final week plays out, particularly with Sink's text-message-during-the-debate gaffe.

The Scott camp, too, wanted to talk about "Blackberrygate." When asked to comment on the latest poll, Scott spokesman Joe Kildea said, "As voters learn more about Alex Sink, her ballot support continues to drop. From her cheating at the debate, to Obama's failed programs, voters know she's not the one to create jobs in Florida.”

Kildea’s and Lee's reference to state CFO Sink cheating during Monday night’s nationally televised debate is based on an incident during the debate’s second commercial break. Sink’s makeup assistant approached with a cell phone that showed a text message. Sink appeared to neither dismiss the assistant nor refuse to look at the text.

It was a violation of debate rules.

Rick Scott and Alex Sink -- Sunshine State News Poll Table (10-27)
“If she didn’t want to cheat, she would have sent her assistant away, but that’s not what she did. She looked at the message and read it,” said Deena McGregory, a Scott supporter who copied the incident on video, then forwarded it to her contact list. (See a video of the incident below.)

Sink told reporters that the worker who sent the message is no longer with her campaign.

The Sink campaign did not respond to Sunshine State News' requests for comment.

Meanwhile, Florida voters who watched the last televised gubernatorial debate of 2010 had predictions and observations to make Tuesday.

“I watched the debate – well, most of it – and I got up in the morning and voted for Scott,” Port St. Lucie’s William Slay, 54, told Sunshine State News. “I was going to anyway, but I thought he iced it.”

Glenda Wright, a Brooksville housewife, said, "I turned it off after 20 minutes. Alex Sink is my candidate, but she kind of came unhinged."

McGregory, a 50-year-old Miami nurse instructor, said that in spite of her pro-Scott bias, she believes Monday night was the first time Scott showcased his “superior gubernatorial demeanor and ability to handle pressure.”

“The whole nation was watching and Alex couldn’t keep herself under control. I was embarrassed for her and for Florida,” McGregory said.

“The polls can say what they like, I think she’s going to lose because she’s too … well … average. How is she going to dig this state out of a hole?”

Tea party activist Robin Stublen of Punta Gorda only wanted to talk about "Blackberrygate," Sink's commercial-break "cheating."

Said Stublen, "Two things to take note about the cheating, lying Alex Sink. She still fails to take responsibility for her own actions.

"Yes, her aide did text her, but when presented the phone on the set, she should have done the right thing and pushed it away. Instead, she read the information. She tells a reporter that she did not read the text. Please forward this ... and post to websites. This shows her character."

Ed Moore, Ph.D., a keen political observer in the Sunshine State, president of Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, sees the Scott-Sink race as so tight, so close, that the text-message incident during Monday night's CNN debate could affect the results of the gubernatorial election.

"It will come down to how caught up in the media this incident gets," Moore said. "If it crescendoes, and we see it on program after program, and all over the internet, it's bound to have a negative impact for Alex Sink."

Lee agreed. "It will take so little to push this election over the edge one way or the other. We're going to have to watch. Later in the week we'll be able to tell more."

The Sunshine State News Poll of 1,547 likely voters, taken Oct. 24-25, has a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

For a look at the poll's crosstabs, click on the link below.
Sorry, you need to install flash to see this content.

Contact Kenrick Ward at kward@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 559-4719. Contact Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.


Comments (14)

Rachel Frey
11:23PM OCT 30TH 2010
Floridians should be ashamed of even considering voting for such a horrific person do we want him to run our state as he ran his companies? See for yourself


Sam Sheppard
11:48PM OCT 28TH 2010
This is the most biased pro Rick Scott poll/ article I've seen for an "independent" poll. It's embarrassing. Rick Scott has lived in Fla. For 7 years, took the 5th Adm. Over 70 x in a depo, won't release another deposition, got fired by the board of directors from his own company - HCA- paid 1.7 BILLION in Fraud Fines, and is now trying to buy or highest elected state office by spending 100 million in a smear campaign- come on ppl ; Wake Up!
3:57PM OCT 27TH 2010
Just shows the smallest issues can be a game changer. Scott will pound on this to underline the business practices of Sink

Not a good move!
12:02PM OCT 27TH 2010
From CNN's John King:

"Today she said she wasn’t sure what it was when the makeup artist handed her the phone. She thought it might have been a message from a daughter who she said was in college in [England]. But we listened very closely to the audio, and the makeup artist, when she approached Alex Sink, said I have a message from the staff. And at that point they looked, it was on a cell phone, it was two sentences. It was essentially advice after the last segment of the debate telling her if that question comes up again, remember this, and be more aggressive when Rick Scott questions you. It was two sentences."

We don't need any more liars, like Sink, to lead us.
2:44AM OCT 31ST 2010
Rick Scott calling anyone a liar is the most hypocritical thing I have heard in a while. The man lied to millions of US Citizens by STEALING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN TAX DOLLARS! AND HE HAS PLEAD THE 5TH NUMEROUS TIMES IN HIS LAST DEPOSITION THAT HE REFUSES TO RELEASE BECAUSE OF INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE! Yet people still vote for this guy and are all over Alex Sink for reading a text message. Just amazing how quickly people forget about billions of dollars in fraud just because he has an R in front of his name.
10:19AM OCT 27TH 2010
The guy cheated Medicare out of $2 Billion, but hey, let's talk about the Blackberry!
4:05PM OCT 27TH 2010
Scott has expained this and the fact is he left that position over 2 years. Well on the other hand we can talk about the state's pension fund and other dealings.
Bottom line no one is with sin. Alex started the mudd and when it turns against her, she cries "foul"!
2:14PM OCT 27TH 2010
An issue which he has repeatedly addressed. I don't want Obama in Tallahassee, and that's what Alex Sink would be.
2:12PM OCT 28TH 2010
Repeatedly adressed....really? What does that mean? He defrauded US and our Seniors out of billions. But he adressed it so its ok? I'm not sure what that means.

I ran over an old lady last year? So...I have repeatedly adressed this issue. Did you see her look at her phone!
9:39AM OCT 27TH 2010
Wow, how biased can this article be? Moving from a tie to a two-point lead can easily be attributed to statistical noise. Also, did you conduct any interviews with Alex Sink supporters?
Paul Copeland
11:51AM OCT 27TH 2010
The Sink folks don't won't to talk about her flagarant violation and lack of explanation for needing help in front of a national audience.
9:06AM OCT 30TH 2010
Please don't vote for SINK
She doesn't care anything about children and where they go to school
I have a disabled child and she wants to do away with school vouchers
Meaning my child will not have a safe environment to go to school
We have been so happy having her in a private small school where she is not made fun of
Rick Scott will give your child a chance to go to a private school also
You can use your money your child would go to school with and take it to a private school
He is for VOUCHERS
A chance you may never have had to give your child a safe education
4:03PM OCT 31ST 2010
Hope you dont work for the government.. He love FRS cuz we have billions with a "B"
9:44AM OCT 30TH 2010
It comes down to, do you agree with Obama or not? If you do not agree with Obama vote SCOTT and If you think Obama's way is the right way vote Sink

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