New poll: Governor’s race tied, Amendment 2 passing

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Florida voters split evenly on the governor’s race and support medical marijuana more than ever, according to new polling released Tuesday.

Winter Springs-based Gravis Marketing found that 64 percent of Floridians support Amendment 2, the constitutional initiative legalizing medical marijuana, a number above the 60 percent voter approval needed for passage. Twenty-six percent of respondents oppose it and 10 percent say they are undecided.

Although other polls found much higher support, such as a Quinnipiac University survey putting support as high as 88 percent, the Gravis survey is notable for explicitly naming Amendment 2, rather than the generic “medical marijuana.”

This survey strikes a blow at the arguments of Amendment 2 opponents who say that voters might support medical marijuana in principle, but not the actual proposal on the November 4 ballot.

The race between Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who is now seeking his old job as a Democrat,  is now tied at 37 percent each; with more than one-quarter of voters (26 percent) undecided.

Other poll findings include a growing displeasure with President Barack Obama, who is still underwater with 53 percent disapproval and 38 percent approval.

As for the 2016 race, Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to best all Republican comers — even other Floridians — with 44 percent versus 36 percent for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, and 39 percent to 37 percent for former Gov. Jeb Bush.

In the governor’s race in November, turnout will be the key, Gravis found.

“We see a high amount of undecided voters. Money will be critical,” Gravis president Doug Kaplan told the Orlando Sentinel.

“The question is: will young people and minorities turn out? Based on the primary and 1 percent turnout at UCF [in the Aug. 26 primary,] the answer is no, and Scott gets re-elected.”

Gravis claims to be non-partisan, writes Scott Powers of the Sentinel, but the group skews slightly Republican in past polling.

Kaplan predicts medical marijuana will “most likely” pass, adding that the vote will be “closer than some people think.”

Both Bush and Rubio would be “formidable” against Clinton, he said, while the Miami Senator does slightly better.

Gravis used a sample size of 859 registered Florida voters from Aug. 14-24, with a combination of 20 percent internet polling and 80 percent automated telephone calls.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.