TALLAHASSEE — Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has jumped to a 10 percentage point lead over state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in the race for governor, according to Quinnipiac University's latest Florida poll measuring issues of the day in the state.
McCollum trounces Republican rival Paula Dockery, but his 41 percent to 31 percent lead against Sink isn't that commanding with 25 percent of the electorate undecided.
"Attorney General Bill McCollum has moved out to a double-digit lead in the race for Governor. He's beating CFO Alex Sink among independents and doing better among Democrats than Ms. Sink is doing among Republicans," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"But McCollum shouldn't start picking out draperies for the governor's office. Certainly part of his lead is due to being somewhat better known than Ms. Sink — although neither one is a household name in the state."
Also, expect Democrats to question whether the poll oversampled Republicans. Even if the poll did, though, independent voters appear to be trending Republican.
By a 49 percent to 42 percent margin, voters also said they favor McCollum's threat to challenge the health insurance plans initially pushed by President Barack Obama. They oppose the plan 57 to 32.
Voters by a 50 percent to 46 percent spread also oppose another Obama administration initiative: granting temporary protective status for 18 months to Haitians who were illegally living in the United States before the earthquake in Haiti. By a 51 percent to 43 percent margin, they say current immigration laws should by enforced rather than waived. And they're almost evenly split, 47 to 48, on whether the nation should increase the number of legal immigrants in the United States.
Support is strong for oil drilling generally, the poll found. But while Florida voters favor drilling in federal waters, they oppose drilling within 5 miles of the coast by 53 percent to 39 percent.