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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

McCollum camp: Quit dreaming, Paula Dockery

The Bill McCollum gubernatorial campaign was scoffing at the latest Strategic Vision poll suggesting a tied race between McCollum and Democrat Alex Sink and that Republican state Sen. Paula Dockery posed a threat in a Republican primary.

McCollum's well-respected pollster, John McLaughlin, just came out of the field Thursday with a 600 sample poll (Moe +/-4%), that showed McCollum leading a hypothetical primary with 63 percent, compared to 3 percent for Dockery, 3 percent for Dan Webster, and undecided at 32 percent. His poll not only showed McCollum leading Sink 41 percent to 33 percent, but it showed him with stronger favorable opinions of him and job performance ratings than Sink. (More detail here in the memo to McCollum's finance team).

Among the 25 percent of the voters who knew enough about both candidates to have favorable or unfavorable opinions, McCollum led Sink 46 percent to 41 percent, McLaughlin said. "People had said, well, she's not as well known, when she gets well known she will beat Bill. Not with her current image. Bill is better known, better liked, and when they know both equally, Bill still has a decisive lead on her,'' said McLaughlin, recounting how in 1988 Connie Mack at least beat his rivals in early polling among the small fraction of voters who about him and his rivals early on.

Take the internal poll with as many grains as salt as you like, but it showed that 14 percent of Republicans had a favorable view of Sink, while 29 percent of Democrats had a favorable view of McCollum. And 17 percent of Democrats said they'd vote for McCollum, while only 6 percent of Republicans would vote for Sink.

"Strategically, McCollum comes out of his base a lot stronger and is reaching into her base, and I think that's more of a function of the job he's doing as attorney general where he really has been a good, nonpartisan attorney general," McLaughlin said. "With the current images, she's just not going to surge ahead. Bill McCollum should be able to hold his lead. That's a myth that when she gets known she's going to be ahead, an absolute myth. They have to raise the money and promote her. They have to make her candidacy live up to the hype that they're projecting right now."

McLaughlin speculated that the Strategic Vision survey was a less-reliable robo poll. SV's David Johnson of Atlanta tells Buzz it was a live caller poll (Florida questions piggybacked on a poll commissioned by a Jewish group).

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:04pm]

    

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