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Poll Results in U.S. Senate Race

August 6, 2010

The below analysis by Jim McLaughlin, President and Partner of McLaughlin & Associates, discusses a recent poll conducted by his organization for Associated Industries of Florida released earlier this week. As the general election approaches, McLaughlin’s analysis discusses the possibility of Governor Charlie Crist placing third in the U.S. Senate Race behind the Democratic and Republican challengers.

According to our pollsters, it is entirely possible that Governor Crist may very well come in third place in this critical race. Not only because of the reasons cited in the below analysis, but because independent voters have the least motivation to go to the polls on election day. There is simply no proven Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort for independents. As a former executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, I know the Democrats have a good GOTV effort. From experience, I also know the Republicans have a very good ground game along with robust absentee and early voter programs that consistently produce favorable results. We believe independent voters will not go to the polls at the high numbers that have been displayed in recent polls, not just ours. Thus, Democratic and Republican voters will ultimately come home leaving the Governor in a potential third place finish.

Poll Analysis by Jim McLaughlin, President and Partner of McLaughlin & Associates:

Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist are running neck and neck in a recent Florida statewide survey among 600 likely voters; however, the crosstabs indicate Marco Rubio is in a better position to win in November.

In a race with Democrat Kendrick Meek, Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist are virtually tied (38% Crist, 36% Rubio and 16% Meek) with 10% undecided. If Jeff Greene were the Democratic nominee, Rubio and Crist are running even (37% Rubio, 37% Crist and 16% Greene) with 10% undecided. Currently, Charlie Crist is over-performing among partisan voter segments. Once the Democrats have a nominee and the race comes into focus in the fall, his vote among these groups will decline and Marco Rubio will benefit.

  • Against Rubio and Meek, Crist is getting 46% of the Democratic vote and 31% of the African-American vote. Against Rubio and Greene, Crist is getting 47% of the Democratic vote and 45% of the African-American vote. When the race starts to heat up in the fall, these two groups will become more partisan and start to fall in line behind the Democratic nominee.

  • The national, state and local Democratic parties will be energizing and turning out the vote for the Democratic nominee. Crist who is currently over-performing among these groups won’t be able to maintain these high numbers and will start to see his voter support from Democrats and African-Americans erode.

  • Crist is also currently getting one quarter of the Republican vote (25% Rubio/Meek and 23% in race with Rubio/Greene). Crist will also be feeling the squeeze by the Republican Party and organizations in the fall. It will be difficult for him to maintain these numbers.

  • The numbers illustrate that Charlie Crist is a greater threat to the Democratic nominee. He is currently getting about half of the Democratic vote while getting one-quarter of the Republican vote. Even as his vote erodes among these groups, it is clear, that Crist will be taking away more votes from the Democratic candidate, which leaves Marco Rubio in a favorable position to win.

Methodology: This poll of 600 likely general election voters in Florida was conducted between July 31 and August 1, 2010. All interviews were conducted via telephone by professional interviewers. Interview selection was random within predetermined election units. These units were structured to correlate with actual voter turnout in a general election. The poll of 600 likely general election voters has an accuracy of +/- 4.0% at a 95% confidence interval.

Jim McLaughlin is available for comments and questions and he can be reached at 845-365- 2000.

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