With 11 Point Lead Over Dave Aronberg, Dan Gelber's Sitting Pretty in Dem AG Race

'Undecided' voters nevertheless hold key to primary victory
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: August 17, 2010 4:05 AM
Aronberg v Gelber 2

Dan Gelber and Dave Aronberg

Just a week before Election Day, more than one in three Democrats remains undecided about who to vote for in the party's contest for attorney general.

Nevertheless, state Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, holds a 38 to 27 lead over state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, according to a new Sunshine State News poll of 1,000 likely voters.

But that leaves 36 percent of respondents still undecided in the contest.

Holding a decided advantage in Southeast Florida, where he leads 51 to 26, Gelber appears well-positioned for the nomination. The region represents 27 percent of Florida's total Democratic vote.

Additionally, Gelber enjoys a 45 to 27 edge statewide among the most likely voters, those who cast ballots in both the 2006 and 2008 Democratic primaries, said Jim Lee, president of Voter Survey Service, which conducted the poll for Sunshine State News, Aug. 9-12.

Aronberg narrows the gap with senior citizens, who favor Gelber by a smaller 34 to 29 margin.

Aronberg also is more competitive with voters who only voted once in the past two primaries. Among those voters, he trails just 31 to 27.

"Female Democrats could also help determine the outcome, since the race is a near dead heat among them," Lee said, noting a 35 to 30 Gelber margin. Gelber’s lead with males is 41 to 23.

"This could prove important, depending on which candidate does a better job of getting out their vote," Lee said.

University of Florida political science professor Daniel Smith said the ultimate winner will likely be determined beyond the two legislators' home turf.

"It's a question of who will capture the I-4 corridor," Smith said.

Gelber appears better positioned in terms of geographic diversity. He's picked up virtually every newspaper endorsement thus far. "That's an important cue to voters in down-ballot races," Smith notes.

Yet, the candidates have done little to distinguish themselves as their electoral battle becomes increasingly personal and devoid of clear philosophical differences.

"They're throwing a lot of mud at one another. They're so similar on policy positions that it makes the personal (side) that much more accentuated," Smith observed.

Both state senators, both representing South Florida districts, have raised and spent roughly comparable amounts.

The latest figures show Gelber collecting $1,271,974 in contributions, with $665,803 on hand. Aronberg has collected $1,379,113 and reports $658,751 on hand.

Reached prior to the release of today's poll results, the two campaigns were upbeat about their prospects in the chase for undecided voters.

Gelber campaign spokesman Christian Ulvert said, "People are receiving Sen. Gelber's message. They're tired of the typical political mentality. Alex Sink has a strong business platform. They support that. Dan has the best qualifications, bar none, and people believe in that."

Allison North Jones, communications director for the Aronberg campaign, said, "Dave remains very focused on his campaign, traveling throughout the state this week as we push through to Aug. 24. We have a lot of momentum in this campaign and look forward to Election Day."

Voter Survey Service, an independent polling company which is a division of Susquehanna Polling & Research, questioned 1,000 likely Democratic voters across Florida. The poll's margin of error is 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.



This survey was commissioned by Sunshine State News and conducted Aug. 9-12 by Voter Survey Service, a division of Pennsylvania-based Susquehanna Polling and Research in Harrisburg. Calls were automated, meaning that voters were contacted using a pre-recorded set of questions instructing voters to complete the survey by pressing their telephone key pads to score their answers; no live interviewers were used. The universe for the poll includes a random sample of voters from a statewide voter registration list of registered Democrat voters who have prior vote history in either the 2008 or 2006 (regularly-held) primary elections. A vote intensity screen was also applied to gauge interest in the upcoming Aug. 24 primary election, with interviews being exclusively conducted among those who indicated they have an “excellent,” “good” or “fair” chance of voting, while those who indicated their chances of voting were “poor” being disqualified. Interviews are also monitored to ensure a representative sample of the state’s Democrat voters are interviewed proportionally based on demographics like geographic region, age and gender consistent with what we believe will be likely voter turnout on Aug. 24.  Results are sometimes statistically weighted to reflect under or over samples within various demographic groups. The margin of error for a sample size of 1,000 interviews is +/- 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level, but higher for sub groups of respondents.


Jim Lee

Jim Lee

Voter Survey Service (VSS) has conducted hundreds of polls in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Delaware, Maryland, and other states across the nation. It is a leading survey research and political polling firm for GOP candidates for public office and a variety of corporate clients, trade associations, public relations firms and the media.
Jim Lee, president of VSS, has 15 years of polling experience and background as a former lobbyist for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and as a special projects coordinator for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He has a bachelor of science degree in political science from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., and he's a member of both the American Association of Public Opinion Research and the American Association of Political Consultants.
The company's polling has been quoted in numerous publications and media programs, including The Sean Hannity Show on Fox News; MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews; the Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck radio programs; The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the New York Times; and a variety of national and state blogs that track polling, such as realclearpolitics.com, The Hotline, The Polling Report, and others.

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

Comments (10)

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Cheryl Griffin
6:36PM AUG 18TH 2010
I would not take 10 Gelber's for one Dave Aronberg. He has been my Senator for years and has done a fine job. I have never seen a politician that is more honest, and responsive to the needs of the people. Dave Aronberg cares about the little people and works hard on issues that effect us all.
I have NOT seen that from Dan Gelber. Actually I have seen the opposite.
3:46PM AUG 17TH 2010
NY Times polling standards state:
Interactive voice response (IVR) polls (also known as “robo-polls”) employ an
automated, recorded voice to call respondents who are asked to answer questions by punching telephone keys. Anyone who can answer the phone and hit the buttons can be counted in the survey – regardless of age. Results of this type of poll are not reliable.


This poll is statistically unreliable. Gelber has already opined lustily on this unreliable poll -- it makes him look cheesy and sleazy, like George Herbert Walker Bush, a vapid former cheerleader! See http://www.dangelber.com/news/view_news.php?ID=469
This statement makes Dan Gelber sound desperate, asking for money in the last week of the campaign -- why?
Is Dan Gelber planning an expensive concession speech party for next Tuesday night before he goes back to work for Akerman Senterfitt again?
Honorable Lynn L.Laird
11:03PM AUG 17TH 2010
From Pensacola to Talahassee, Dave Aronberg is King...Dan has made one trip, Dave has been coming to the Panhandle for yrs...Dan has an event in Pensacola this Sat...,nobody will be showing up...We Democrats view Dan and Jeff Greene two pigs in a pock...
4:24PM AUG 17TH 2010
If the NYT says it, then it must be true. On this premise, let's throw out Rasmussen and Harris too.
5:03PM AUG 17TH 2010
The last comment is a non sequitur. Gelber is a white collar criminal defense lawyer who represents the rich and powerful, working at a succession of corporate law firms like Akerman Senterfitt. Gelber did not pro bono work. Gelber will not disclose his corporate clients, including Fortune 500 companies for whom he performed Sarbanes-Oxley investigations.
Now Gelber puffs his chest out about a poll that is statistically unreliable.
Now Gelber demands more money based on that poll, a week before the polls close.
What are we to conclude?
Gelber is not a real Democrat.
Gelber is not a mensch.
Gelber works for corporate criminals and won't disclose their identities.
Gelber doesn't really want the job of AG (the third for which he's run in a year).
Gelber is in a hurry, and not particular about the means of advancement -- even if it meant working for Akerman Senterfitt, defending white collar crime and serving as part of Akerman's "Policy" (lobbying practice).
12:28PM AUG 18TH 2010
Wow, you all should be ashamed of yourselves. If you ever bothered to look at Gelber's record you would see why so many people, newspapers, professional organizations have endorsed him. He is very effective in standing up for what is right, that is why everyone including legislators look to him for guidance...because he gets the job done very effectively. Dave Aronberg is smart and has done alot of good work but he is just not as effective as Dan Gelber period. If you want true leadership, look no further than Mr. Gelber.

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