Rick Scott leads the Republican primary for governor thanks to his tens of millions and an old political maxim: It's the economy, stupid.
Despite lingering questions and a scandal in his business background, the health care executive has a 10 percentage-point lead over rival Bill McCollum, according to a new poll conducted for the St. Petersburg Times, Miami Herald, Bay News 9 and Central Florida News 13, because voters view Scott as the man who can blow Florida's economy out of the doldrums.
The statewide telephone survey shows Scott with 42 percent support, McCollum 32 percent, 3 percent favoring another candidate and 23 percent undecided, even after the two men and their allied groups have spent a combined $47 million on TV ads.
The poll of 602 registered voters was conducted Aug. 6-10 by Ipsos Public Affairs, a nonpartisan research company based in Washington, D.C. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points overall, 6.4 percentage points for questions based only on Democrats and 5.9 percent for questions based on Republicans.
Scott's advantage is at odds with a new statewide poll of likely voters by Mason-Dixon Opinion Research which shows McCollum leading, 34 percent to 30 percent, with one-third of all Republicans undecided.
Mason-Dixon questioned likely voters, while Ipsos questioned registered voters. Taken together, the two polls suggest Scott is more popular with voters generally but McCollum has an edge among people who are more likely to vote in the Aug. 24 primary. Read more here.