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 »
"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."
"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."
"Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections ... Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice." Mueller has faced pressure to wrap up the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said an official, who would receive the results of the investigation and have "some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released," if he remains at his post.