A new poll done for a conservative political action group, by a Republican-oriented polling firm, shows Gov. Rick Scott with a slim lead over former Gov. Charlie Crist in the Florida governor’s race.
Democrats are sure to say the poll is meaningless because it was done by a partisan group; but pollster Jim McLaughlin said it was done as a straightforward attempt to produce an accurate survey.
it showed Scott leading Crist 42-38 percent, a lead just a shade larger than the poll’s 3.4-point error margin.
It also showed President Barack Obama underwater in his approval ratings and in opinions of the Affordable Care Act -- 43 percent approved his performance to 53 percent disapproval, and 41 percent favored the ACA while 53 percent don’t.
Most other polls in the race are showing Crist with a narrow lead.
The poll was done by McLaughlin & Associates, which does polling for a long list of Republican party organizations and candidates including Reps. David Jolly of St. Petersburg and Ander Crenshaw of Jacksonville. It was done for the American Future Fund, a political committee supported by the conservative Koch brothers.
The May 4-6 poll included 800 likely Florida voters on landlines and cell phones, 37 percent of respondents identifying themselves as Democrats and 40 percent as Republicans.
McLaughlin said he wouldn’t call Scott’s lead “statistically significant.”
“It’s a close race – he’s up by a couple,” McLaughlin said. “He’s got the advantage among independents and ticket-splitters.”
McLaughlin said his polling firm uses a tighter screen than many pollsters to make sure the poll includes only likely voters, questioning respondents about their registration and whether they firmly intend to vote.
That could produce a more conservative sample, but Republicans say a more accurate sample, for a non-presidential election year in which voter turnout may be low.
McLaughlin said in 2012, when Obama won Florida, voter turnout was 40.3 Democrat and 38.7 percent Republican. But in the last off-year, 2010, it was 45.5-38.4 percent Republican to Democratic -- “about as good as it could ever be in Florida for Republicans,” he said.
He forecast the 2014 outcome will be somewhere between those two extremes.