When Florida Republicans vote tomorrow on their pick for governor, one of the most bruising, bitter primary campaigns will come to a close. For the past few weeks, Republicans Bill McCollum and Rick Scott have traded blow after blow in their gubernatorial primary fight in what quickly became an overwhelmingly negative race. The pair even took their fighting into the lord’s house over the weekend, with the two accusing each other of lying and skewing facts and track records in respective visits to Florida mega-churches.
A new poll from Public Policy Polling shows Scott’s attack ads may be working. Scott leads McCollum 47 percent to 40 percent, an advantage, it’s worth noting, that’s within PPP’s margin of error. According to PPP pollster Tom Jensen, McCollum slightly leads Scott among moderate voters. Which is to say, if Scott wins, “it will be because he destroyed McCollum’s reputation with conservative voters,” Jensen writes. Scott leads McCollum among conservatives 50 percent to 39 percent.
But as Jensen notes, whoever wins the GOP primary for Florida governor tomorrow will emerge a wounded candidate in voters’ eyes:
Regardless of who emerges as the winner Tuesday night Republicans’ chances of holding the Florida Governor’s office will have been considerably damaged by this primary campaign. Only 46% of primary voters have a favorable opinion of Scott and just 38% see McCollum in a positive light. They’ve left GOP voters with mixed feelings about them and Democratic and independent voters with pretty negative ones. Five months ago we would have said Alex Sink looked like a dead duck. Now with the way this contest has unfolded she looks like the favorite.