Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sink continues to lead

Alex Sink continues to lead the Florida Governor's race by a 46-41 margin over Rick Scott.

The big story in this race is the independents. In most states across the country Republicans are dominating with them but the intense unpopularity of Scott is making this contest an exception to that rule. 61% of independents have an unfavorable opinion of him to only 20% who see him in a positive light and as a result Sink holds a 53-26 lead with that group, accounting for her entire overall lead.

Scott has at least improved his standing a little bit from PPP's last poll of the race, which found him down by 7. That's largely because the Republican base has warmed up to him in the weeks following his contentious primary win. In August he had only a 57-13 advantage over Sink with GOP voters and that has now expanded to 77-10. He is actually winning over more Democrats, at 13%, than Sink is Republicans and that's quite a change from earlier in the race.

Still Scott is, along with Dan Maes of Colorado, Joe Miller of Alaska, and Christine O'Donnell of Delaware, one of the four most unpopular Republican candidates in the country. 52% of voters in the state have an unfavorable opinion of him to 33% with a positive one. He has virtually no appeal to either Democrats or independents.

Scott's nomination is going to get most of the credit if Sink does go on to win this race but she is actually proving to be one of the more appealing Democratic candidates across the country this year, with a 44/38 favorability spread. In a normal election year that might not be particularly impressive but in this political climate where voters feel very negatively toward most politicians those numbers are well ahead of the curve.

For Sink's relative popularity and Scott's remarkable unpopularity, he could still win this race. The 13% of voters who remain undecided are a largely Republican leaning group. 60% of them voted for John McCain in 2008 to only 33% who voted for Barack Obama. They strongly dislike Scott, giving him a 3/47 favorability rating. But if they decide to put aside their reservations about Scott personally and stick with the party they're accustomed for this race would be extremely close. Allocate the undecided McCain voters to Scott and the undecided Obama voters to Sink and it's just a 1 point race.

For the time being though Sink is holding off the national tide against her party and a win for her would be one of the party's brightest spots on what is likely to be an otherwise gloomy election night.

Full results here

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