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Crist-Rubio Gap Narrowing in U.S. Senate Race; Poll Shows Floridians Oppose “Card Check” Legislation, Many Still Unsure on Redistricting Amendment

December 17, 2009

TALLAHASSEE – Poll data released today by Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) shows Governor Charlie Crist’s and Former Speaker of the House Marco Rubio’s U.S. Senate Republican primary numbers getting closer. Conducted by Zogby International, the telephone survey of likely Republican voters has Gov. Crist leading Rubio by only 9 percentage points with 45 percent of respondents choosing Gov. Crist and 36 percent indicating they would vote for Rubio to fill the U.S. Senate seat Mel Martinez vacated earlier this year.

“These numbers support what AIF has believed for some time: this is going to be a very competitive Republican primary. Last year, AIF was the first statewide business organization to endorse federal candidates and we will be watching this race closely because whoever ends up in that Senate seat will be tackling issues like cap-and-trade, climate change, numeric nutrient criteria and card check, all of which will have tremendous impact on Florida’s business community,” said Barney Bishop III, president and CEO of AIF. 

The poll also asked respondents which Republican gubernatorial candidate they would support with 38 percent of likely voters supporting Attorney General Bill McCollum and 7 percent supporting Sen. Paula Dockery. Surprisingly, nearly half of respondents were not sure who they would choose. 

“The ratio of support for McCollum over Dockery is five to one, which is not unexpected given General McCollum’s many years of public service to our state and his name recognition.  What was surprising was that close to half of all the people polled still didn’t know who they would vote for,” added Bishop.   

In addition, the poll gauged Floridians’ attitudes toward numerous pending public policy issues.

Floridians’ opinions on proposed federal “card check” legislation, also known as the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), are divided with 41 percent of respondents supporting check card legislation and 50 percent opposing it. Check card legislation, co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, would jeopardize employee privacy rights by doing away with important protections contained in the National Labor Relations Act.

Further questioning of respondents reveals additional explanation of the legislation’s impact on Florida’s current “Right to Work” law lowers support to 27 percent and brings opposition up to almost six out of every 10 Floridians.  More than 40 percent of all union families are opposed to card check legislation after learning it directly conflicts with the state’s “Right to Work” law.

The 2010 elections may also call for voters to consider an amendment that seeks to place new redistricting and reapportionment guidelines in Florida’s Constitution. Those polled were read the current ballot language and asked to react.  Fifty-five percent support the amendment based on the ballot language, 9 percent oppose it and more than a third of respondents (35 percent) did not know enough to make a decision underscoring the need to educate voters on the negative consequences of putting this amendment in the state’s constitution. 

“At first blush, the Fair Districts Florida amendment may sound like a good, reasonable idea, but it’s unnecessary and aims to fix a problem that actually doesn’t exist.  Worse, it will adversely affect existing minority-majority congressional and legislative districts. Voters need to understand what this amendment could mean for their communities and their ability to choose the person that they feel best represents them,” said Bishop. “This effort by ACORN, unions, and trial lawyers will only push reapportionment into the courts and delay decisions on who will represent us.  In the end, it will only incentivize a bunch of lawsuits by overly litigious trial lawyers.  It’s the equivalent of setting a kid loose in a candy shop.” 

Conducted by Zogby International on Dec. 7-11, 2009, the poll surveyed by telephone 801 randomly-selected likely general election voters throughout Florida.  It has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.  Questions regarding the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial Republican primaries were posed to 303 randomly-selected likely Republican primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percent.

View the Poll Results