Poking holes in the Mason-Dixon poll showing Crist and Scott tied

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Just after I get done explaining why Rasmussen’s first poll of Florida’s 2014 gubernatorial race is way off in its crosstabs, vindication comes in the form of a more balanced but still hard-to-swallow Mason-Dixon survey. That’s because a very smart observer of Florida politics shared with me their notes breaking down the M-D poll.

The two surveys were conducted at the same time (April 21-22), both by live telephone interview.

Mason Dixon’s top-line result shows a dead heat between Crist and Scott, but earning 42 percent of the vote. Libertarian Adrian Wyllie drew 4 percent, with another 12 percent undecided.

While the sampling stats in this survey of 700 likely voters paint a more realistic picture of Florida’s likely general electorate in 2014 than Rasmussen’s, it still isn’t a perfect take.

Like Rasmussen’s, Mason Dixon’s survey demographics tilt toward favoring a Democratic candidate — in terms of voter age, race, and partisan affiliation.

I’ll start with the most obvious: partisanship. The Mason-Dixon sample suggests that 42 percent of Florida voters are Democrats. This is two points higher than we saw in 2010 or 2012 turnout. I find it a little hard to believe that Democrats will have a larger makeup in 2014 than they did in the president’s re-election in 2012. So there’s that.

Then, take a look at the racial demographics, which appear too heavy on Hispanics (19 percent) and too light on Caucasians (65 percent). A more historically accurate selection would be closer to 12 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

Finally, there’s the age factor. Mason-Dixon’s sample was comprised of 42 percent under the age of 49, and 57 percent over the age of 50. A split of 30 percent and 70 percent would be more historically accurate.

Considering these demographic and sampling factors, a “tie” in Mason Dixon suggests a lead by Scott in reality. And we still have six months of the fiercest campaigning in Florida history ahead.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.