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Bill McCollum's lead over Rick Scott narrowing, newest poll shows

TALLAHASSEE — A weekend of last-minute polling shows that the primary race for governor continues to be volatile as a new Quinnipiac University poll released Monday shows Attorney General Bill McCollum's lead narrowing to 39 to 35 percent against insurgent Rick Scott.

In the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek appears to have a steady 39 to 29 percent lead over Jeff Greene, according to the poll of likely primary voters. Meek held a double-digit lead in the Mason-Dixon poll released Saturday, and McCollum led Scott 45 to 36 percent.

If the undecided voters show up Tuesday, "any verdict is possible," said pollster Peter A. Brown of Quinnipiac University. The poll found that 22 percent of Republican likely voters and 28 percent of Democratic likely voters were still undecided.

In the governor's race, 39 percent of Scott backers and 27 percent of McCollum supporters say they still could change their mind, according to the poll. In the U.S. Senate race, 43 percent of Greene supporters, but only 27 percent of Meek's backers say they might change their minds.

McCollum and Scott have been damaged by "the vicious and omnipresent television ads from both camps," Brown said. By 40 to 31 percent, GOP voters hold an unfavorable view of Scott, and by a narrow 39 to 37 percent, they have a favorable view of McCollum.

Meek has been less damaged by Greene's barrage of television ads. He is viewed favorably, 42 to 22 percent, by Democratic voters, while Greene is seen unfavorably, 38 to 29 percent. Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre gets 3 percent in the Democratic Senate primary.

"With one in five GOP voters and more than one in four Democrats undecided, anything is possible, but the internals of the poll are consistent with McCollum and Meek being ahead. They are more favorably viewed than their opponents, and fewer of their backers say they might change their minds," Brown said.

The poll of 771 Republican likely primary voters was conducted Aug. 21-22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, and 757 Democratic likely primary voters were polled, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points. Likely voters were selected from lists of people who have voted in past elections, Brown said.

Mary Ellen Klas can be reached at

Bill McCollum's lead over Rick Scott narrowing, newest poll shows 08/23/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 23, 2010 3:48pm]
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