Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Poll: Sink ahead of Scott, but damaged by attack ads

Democrat Alex Sink is nursing a narrow lead over Republican Rick Scott in the Florida governor's race, according to a new poll showing that his barrage of negative ads is nevertheless hurting her candidacy.

Though Sink is ahead by 4 percentage points, the percentage of likely Florida voters who view her negatively has jumped by double digits in the Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey.

Sink's 44-40 lead has shrunk from the 47-40 edge she held over Scott last month — a sign that the static Scott isn't impressing voters enough, either.

Last month, Mason-Dixon's poll showed 23 percent of voters had an unfavorable impression of Sink. Now, 33 percent do, as Scott pounds away at her in ads raising questions about her time as a banker and her votes as state chief financial officer on the state's investment board.

Still, Sink is seen in a favorable light by 38 percent of voters and is far better liked than Scott, who was heavily attacked in the Republican primary for heading a hospital company that was slapped with a record $1.7 billion fraud fine.

Nearly half of likely voters see Scott negatively, but only a quarter view him favorably. Yet the race is still well within the poll's error margin.

"Given his abysmal favorable to unfavorable ratio, this race should not even be close," said Brad Coker, a Mason-Dixon pollster.

But this is a strong Republican year and Sink hasn't distinguished herself in the eyes of enough Florida voters, many of whom are fed up with President Barack Obama.

"Given the overall voter frustration with and anger toward the Democrats in Washington coupled with Florida's slightly Republican leaning tendencies, Sink is still sailing into the wind despite her current lead," Coker said. "She likely needs to land one more big punch raising concerns about Scott's integrity to weather the storm."

The two candidates square off Friday in a Univision television debate for the first time. (Univision tapes the debate Friday afternoon, then airs it in Spanish on its affiliate Florida stations, beginning at 11 p.m. At midnight, the debate — in English and Spanish — will be available on www.Univision23.com.)

Though this poll shows Sink ahead, other polls that forecast a higher Republican turnout — a strong possibility in this election — give Scott the edge.

Sink, Florida Democrats and the state's police union have been running ads noting Scott's time at Columbia/HCA hospital chain and the fact that he pleaded the Fifth 75 times in a civil deposition concerning a contract dispute.

Scott has hit back. His campaign and the state's Republican party have excoriated Sink as an insider. They've run ads pointing out that Sink cast votes for state investments that lost billions. Scott has pressed another line of attack by suggesting Sink has fraud issues in her background because the bank she once worked for, NationsBank, was fined and sued for selling bogus securities.

In both cases, the ads misleadingly suggest Sink had more of a role in the problems than she really did because she wasn't in charge when the financial troubles cropped up. But, like Sink, Scott said he didn't know of the problems that unfolded on his watch, either.

Raising the issue of fraud has its risks for Scott to the degree that, if the campaign is about character, Sink would likely win, Coker said. He noted that independents slightly favor Sink, but voters across the board are so upset with the economy and Democrats nationally that it might not matter.

"If voters decide primarily on issues," he said, "the advantage goes to Scott as the national Republican tide would likely carry him over the finish line."

Marc Caputo can be reached at mcaputo@MiamiHerald.com.

Poll: Sink ahead of Scott, but damaged by attack ads 10/08/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 8, 2010 7:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared

    World

    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.

  4. Dade City man dies after crashing into county bus, troopers say

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 38-year-old man died Tuesday after colliding into the rear of a county bus on U.S. 301, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

  5. Suspicious device at Pinellas Park home was a spent artillery round, police say

    Public Safety

    PINELLAS PARK — Bomb squad investigators determined that a "suspicious device" found at a Pinellas Park home Tuesday afternoon was a spent artillery round, police said.