Three polls recently released in Florida show that Congressman Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate for Senate, is looking to find traction in what is shaping up to be the most closely observed Senate battle this election cycle. While Republican nominee Marco Rubio continues to maintain a steady average of 40 percent across the board, with Independent and current Governor Charlie Crist not too far behind, Meek is maintaining close to 20 percent in the polls, with Democratic strategists hoping for a repeat of the last minute push that won him the nomination in August.
The latest TCPalm/Zogby poll, which surveyed 802 registered voters by phone, found Rubio still leading at 39 percent against Crist at 33 percent. Meek is in third, with 18 percent of the projected vote. Zogby’s Chairman, John Zogby, claims that while Crist moved up from 28 percent in the last poll, Meek actually fell from 25 percent.
“It’s hard to defeat Rubio if he holds at 38-39 percent,” observes Zogby. “But it does look as if rather than gaining, Meek is losing ground, significant ground.”
However, in an interview with the TCPalm, Meek’s press secretary Adam Sharon was much more upbeat, claiming that the campaign’s internal polls showed a much tighter race. “It’s a mathematic impossibility for Charlie Crist to win, he cannot cobble together a coalition that never was and never will be,” added Sharon in a signal that Meek is definitely attempting to eat away at Democratic voters who could vote for Crist. “We’re seeing a much different race in other polls that show a much closer race.”
Like the Zogby poll, a Florida Chamber of Commerce poll has Rubio at 40%, Crist at 33%, and Meek at 16%. “The mood among Florida’s electorate is currently favoring Republican candidates,” said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President of Political Operations for the Florida Chamber. “Not only are Republican candidates polling higher than Democratic candidates, polling data reveals stronger interest and motivation to vote in the upcoming General Election leans with Republican voters – an advantage for Republican candidates.”
That same poll also shows Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott edging ahead of Democratic nominee Alex Sink, 46% to 42%. Scott picked State Rep. Jennifer Carroll (R) as his running mate, who could become the state’s first African American Lt. Gov. should they win in November.
A recent Miami-Dade College Poll, however, shows Meek at a healthier 26% against Rubio’s 46% lead and Crist at 27%. According to the Miami-Dade poll: Rubio has a 60% unfavorable rating amongst likely voters, but Meek is unknown to 22% of the electorate, while 13% do not knowing Rubio. These trends could actually offer Meek time over the next month to eat into Crist’s lead with new voters, and gain greater momentum in the home stretch of the electoral race.
Presently, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com statistical analysis shows Meek losing with only 23.5% of the vote if the election were held today. But prognosticators were ready to count Meek out at this point in the primary elections as well. By Silver’s estimation, it’s a tighter Governor’s race in Florida, however, with Sink projected to win against Scott, 49.2% to 48.1%. Democrats have a 58.5% chance of winning the Governor’s race according to Silver.