GOP Poll: David Jolly, Alex Sink Neck-and-Neck in Florida’s Special Election

A week-old survey shows the two candidates in a virtual tie with early, absentee voting well underway.

MIAMI - OCTOBER 21: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink speaks during a campaign event at Miami-Dade College October 21, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Sink is facing off against Republican challenger Rick Scott for the Florida governor's seat.
National Journal
Scott Bland
See more stories about...
Scott Bland
Feb. 25, 2014, 6:24 a.m.

Flor­ida’s battle­ground spe­cial con­gres­sion­al elec­tion is too close to call, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey con­duc­ted last week for a group back­ing Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­ee Dav­id Jolly.

A new poll com­mis­sioned by the U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce, which has spent $800,000 on in­de­pend­ent ex­pendit­ures back­ing Jolly, shows the Re­pub­lic­an slightly in front of Demo­crat Alex Sink — 44 per­cent to 42 per­cent — but the res­ults are well with­in the poll’s mar­gin of er­ror of plus or minus 4.9 per­cent­age points.

The only in­de­pend­ent polling in the race, con­duc­ted by three loc­al news out­lets at the be­gin­ning of Feb­ru­ary, also showed Sink at 42 per­cent but had Jolly trail­ing by 7 points. Every sur­vey in the race has con­firmed that turnout is the key factor for both Sink and Jolly in the race to re­place GOP Rep. Bill Young, whose death left open a seat he had held eas­ily for dec­ades but which Pres­id­ent Obama car­ried twice thanks to steady demo­graph­ic change.

Ab­sent­ee vot­ing in the St. Peters­burg-area dis­trict has been un­der­way for weeks now, and Re­pub­lic­ans ac­count for 42 per­cent of the bal­lots already re­turned. Demo­crats have re­turned 39 per­cent of the mail bal­lots so far. That 3-point gap, which mir­rors the dis­trict’s over­all voter re­gis­tra­tion rates, may ac­tu­ally fa­vor Sink, giv­en that Flor­ida Re­pub­lic­ans typ­ic­ally build an ad­vant­age dur­ing ab­sent­ee vot­ing, as they did dur­ing the 2012 pres­id­en­tial elec­tion.

The cham­ber is just one of eight groups that have already spent six fig­ures try­ing to sway the race be­fore the March 11 spe­cial elec­tion. Total out­side spend­ing has climbed above $5.5 mil­lion, with mil­lions more ex­pec­ted in the next few weeks. 

Fort Laud­er­dale-based Fab­riz­io, Lee, and As­so­ci­ates con­duc­ted the new poll for the cham­ber, sur­vey­ing 400 likely voters from Feb. 17-18.

What We're Following See More »
Congress Can’t Seem Not to Pay Itself
28 minutes ago

Rep. Dave Young can't even refuse his own paycheck. The Iowa Republican is trying to make a point that if Congress can't pass a budget (it's already missed the April 15 deadline) then it shouldn't be paid. But, he's been informed, the 27th Amendment prohibits him from refusing his own pay. "Young’s efforts to dock his own pay, however, are duck soup compared to his larger goal: docking the pay of every lawmaker when Congress drops the budget ball." His bill to stiff his colleagues has only mustered the support of three of them. Another bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), has about three dozen co-sponsors.

How Far Away from Cleveland is the California GOP Staying?
1 hours ago

Sixty miles away, in Sandusky, Ohio. "We're pretty bitter about that," said Harmeet Dhillon, vice chairwoman of the California Republican Party. "It sucks to be California, we're like the ugly stepchild. They need us for our cash and our donors, they don't need us for anything else."

SCOTUS Will Not Allow ‘DC Madam’ Phone Records to Be Released
1 hours ago

Anyone looking forward to seeing some boldfaced names on the client list of the late Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the "DC Madam," will have to wait a little longer. "The Supreme Court announced Monday it would not intervene to allow" the release of her phone records, "despite one of her former attorneys claiming the records are “very relevant” to the presidential election. Though he has repeatedly threatened to release the records if courts do not modify a 2007 restraining order, Montgomery Blair Sibley tells U.S. News he’s not quite sure what he now will do."

Sanders Looks to Right the Ship in Indiana
17 hours ago

Hillary Clinton may have the Democratic nomination sewn up, but Bernie Sanders apparently isn't buying it. Buoyed by a poll showing them in a "virtual tie," Sanders is "holding three rallies on the final day before the state primary and hoping to pull off a win after a tough week of election losses and campaign layoffs." 

Cruz Delegates Having Second Thoughts?
21 hours ago

As unbound delegates pledged to Ted Cruz watch him "struggle to tread water in a primary increasingly dominated by Trump, many of them, wary of a bitter convention battle that could rend the party at its seams, are rethinking their commitment to the Texas senator."