With a less than two weeks until voters have to make a final decision on who they should send to (or keep in) Tallahassee, a new poll from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute shows Democrat Charlie Crist with a slight lead over incumbent Republican Rick Scott.
However, the survey — which polled 500 likely voters between Oct. 16 and Oct. 19 — has a margin error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, still making the Crist-Scott race a statistical dead heat. Crist received 43 percent of the support from those surveyed, while Scott garnered 40 percent.
Yet, the numbers may be a little troublesome for Scott, since those polled also said they disapproved of President Barack Obama’s work in office. That means the anti-Obama sentiment Republicans have tried to capitalize on in the race may not be working.
Of those surveyed, 51 percent said they disapproved of Obama, while 48 percent approved.
Both Scott and Crist seem to have about the same approval ratings themselves, with the incumbent receiving 48 percent favorable ratings, while Crist was at 47 percent.
Crist also had the support of 15 percent of Republicans, compared to Scott’s 11 percent of Democrats, and 76 percent of black voters. Scott’s biggest demographic was in older voters above the age of 65, getting 48 percent of their vote compared to 44 from Crist.
“It appears as though Charlie Crist’s attacks against Rick Scott are working, as the race has swung away from the incumbent in the last few months,” said Frank Orlando, a political science instructor at Saint Leo University, in a release.
However, Crist’s lead is still a bit tenuous.
“Pre-election polls tend to overstate support for third-party candidates,” Orlando said. “When it comes time to cast their ballots, voters seem to settle on one of the two main parties for fear of ‘wasting’ their vote.”
The Libertarian in the race, Adrian Wyllie, received 8 percent support, while another 9 percent remained undecided. However, if Wyllie was removed the equation, Crist and Scott would be in a true dead heat, getting 45 percent of support apiece, while 10 percent remained undecided.
In the attorney general race, Republican incumbent Pam Bondi was leading her challenger, Democrat George Sheldon, 47 percent to 39 percent. Adam Putnam seems to be well ahead of his Democratic challenger for agriculture commissioner, Thad Hamilton, with 51 percent support.
The same is true for Jeff Atwater in the chief financial officer race, leading Democrat Will Rankin 50 percent to 35 percent.
Finally, how much could the Ebola virus’ entry into the United States affect state races in Florida? Probably not as much as some would hope. Only 46 percent said they were concerned about Ebola, while 52 percent said they were not losing sleep over it. Only 3 percent were not sure how they felt about the disease.
Early voting in Pasco County begins Oct. 25, with the general election set for Nov. 4.