Rick Scott, Kendrick Meek lead in tough primaries

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Rick Scott is looking like the frontrunner to be the Republican nominee for Governor of Florida, although both he and Bill McCollum have been badly bruised by their primary fight. Scott leads McCollum 43-29.

Scott has certainly succeeded in destroying McCollum’s popularity with GOP primary voters. Only 26% have a favorable opinion of the Attorney General while 40% see him unfavorably. He hasn’t done much though to make Republicans take a charitable view of him. 35% see him positively while 32% have a negative opinion of him, not usually the kind of favorability numbers you want to see with your party’s base.

Scott has tried in particular to court the party’s large conservative voting bloc and his favorability with them is a positive 38/27 spread. But that’s come at a cost to his standing with moderate Republicans, who see him negatively 28/43. That doesn’t bode well for the general election and goes a long way toward explaining why Alex Sink fared so well in the numbers we released yesterday.

With 28% of voters still undecided McCollum is certainly not out of it but Scott has to be seen as the strong favorite at this point.

Indecision reigns in the Democratic Senate primary. Kendrick Meek leads Jeff Greene by a 28-25 margin that’s pretty inconsequential given the survey’s margin of error. The bigger story is that 37% of voters remain undecided, and that both candidates continue to be relatively unknown even to the party base.

Meek’s small advantage is built on strong support from African Americans and liberals. The race is even with whites, but Meek is up 44-19 with black voters. Meek has a 3 point lead with moderates that’s balanced out by Greene’s 19 point edge with conservatives, but the tie is broken by a 39-26 margin for Meek with liberal voters.

45% of primary voters don’t know enough about Greene to have formed an opinion and 47% have not yet formulated one of Meek. Democratic voters haven’t been very impressed with what they’ve seen from Greene so far- 33% have an unfavorable opinion of him while just 22% see him positively. Charlie Crist should definitely be rooting for Greene given those numbers because it would significantly increase his odds of holding onto the Democratic support that’s fueling his current lead in the race. Meek’s favorability numbers are better at 33/20.

With polls right now showing both Democratic candidates under 20% in the general election you almost wonder if it even matters who the nominee is, but this race is looking a lot different than it did four months ago and it could shift a lot more yet in these final 3.5 months leading up to November.

Full results here

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.