Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
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Second poll shows Crist in striking distance
Posted Oct 5, 2010 by William March
Updated Oct 5, 2010 at 10:24 AM
Last week, a couple of polls seemed to show Marco Rubio running away with the U.S. Senate race, and Kendrick Meek closing in on taking second place away from Gov. Charlie Crist.
This week, two new polls are showing Crist within striking distance of Rubio, and Meek still trailing distantly.
But the wide variation in polls in the Senate race and other races is causing some insiders to question the validity of the results.
The new poll by Zogby International for Scripps-Howard newspapers in Florida showed Republican Rubio with 39 percent, no-party candidate Crist at 33 percent and Meek, the Democrat, at 18.
A poll released by the Florida Chamber of Commerce yesterday had similar numbers, with Meek in the high teens and a single-digit gap between Rubio and Crist—Rubio 40, Crist 33 and Meek 16.
But last week, several polls showed a significantly different race.
Quinnipiac University showed Rubio with 46 percent, a total that would make him essentially unbeatable in a three-way race; and Mason-Dixon showed Rubio approaching invincibility with 40 percent to Crist’s 28 percent and Meek’s 23 percent.
Of course, there have been similar reversals and even more sharply conflicting results in polls in the Florida governor’s race.
Pollsters and political insiders say the explanations could include the increasing number of companies and institutions doing political polls in Florida, all with differing techniques and opinions on how to forecast the likely turnout; plus an unusually volatile election year, and in the Senate race, an unprecedent three-way contest.