Normally, you can readily dismiss a campaign's polling memo because it's so self-serving. So read the following internal memo from Gov. Rick Scott's pollster, Tony Fabrizio, with caution.
The survey shows Scott beating Democrat Charlie Crist by 5 percentage points in a head-to-head match, while SurveyUSA yesterday found Crist up by 6 points and Quinnipiac University reported today that Crist is winning by 5 points head to head (but up by an inside-the-error margin of only 2 points with Libertarian Adrian Wyllie in the race).
But also remember, it's Fabrizio.
He helped mastermind the mechanics and message of Scott's improbable 2010 primary and general-elections wins. Also, he was one of the few pollsters to get the margin right in the March special congressional election between Democrat Alex Sink and U.S. Rep. David Jolly, who bested her by 2 points.
Another bit of history: Fabrizio was a top advisor for Tim Pawlenty's successful 2002 race for Minnesota governor. It was a three-way contest, and Fabrizio helped perfect the art of getting someone elected with less than 44 percent of the vote.
There's a good chance that could happen here in Florida with Scott, who reaches 45 percent in Fabrizio's poll and 50 percent in a head-to-head matchup against Crist (the highest we've seen the incumbent reach).
Here's the memo
FROM: Tony Fabrizio & David Lee, Fabrizio Lee & Associates
TO: Campaign Supporters
DATE: July 23, 2014
SUBJECT: Polling Update
In a survey conducted last week for Let’s Get to Work after Crist and his allies had spent more than $2 million on ads, we found very significant changes in the political environment in Florida. The voters have taken a sharp turn towards Republicans, with a 10-point advantage on the described generic ballot.
President Obama’s numbers have continued their erosion. The President’s job approval is only 41 percent, with 55 percent disapproving. ObamaCare is similarly unpopular, with only 39 percent approving of the law, versus 55 percent who disapprove.
Governor Scott’s ratings continue to strengthen, especially on issues. The Governor leads on the most important metrics: which candidate is best able to create jobs, turn Florida’s economy around, and improve education. That’s why 51 percent of Florida voters say they approve of the job Rick Scott is doing as Governor, with only 41% disapproving.
Governor Scott leads Crist by 4 points – 45% to 41% in the 3-way ballot. Head-to-head versus Crist, Governor Scott reaches the 50% threshold – leading by 5 points, 50% to 45%.