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SEA (Dem) poll: Rick Scott 45 percent; Charlie Crist 43 percent

@MarcACaputo

Florida’s race for governor is as tight as ever, with Gov. Rick Scott getting 45 percent support and Democrat Charlie Crist 43 percent from likely voters, according to a new poll from Democratic-leaning polling firm SEA Polling & Strategic Design. 

The Republican’s 2 percentage-point lead is well within the 800 voter survey’s 3.5 percentage-point margin of error – like every other recent major poll in this race.

Like other polls, this one shows that Florida's medical-marijuana constitutional amendment is within a point of passing or failing. It shows Amendment 2 polling at 59-32 percent. The amendment needs 60 percent support to pass. Another way to look at it: opponents need 40 percent to oppose it. If the undecideds stay home, the amendment likely passes.

What makes the survey from pollster Tom Eldon stand out is that he’s one of the best in Florida, he’s a Democrat and he doesn’t sugarcoat his numbers. It’s also proof that good pollsters produce good numbers, regardless of party affiliation.

Eldon produced the poll showing Crist running strong in a bellwether seat in Pasco County.

Contrary to the belief among some in Tallahassee and other political circles, Scott has secured his base. He’s getting 84 percent support from Republicans; while Crist draws 80 percent from Democrats.

Crist is not disproportionately getting crossover voters from the opposite party. In fact, on that count, they’re basically tied. Crist gets 11 percent support from Republicans, Scott gets 10 percent from Democrats.

Crist is leading slightly among independents: 37-33 percent. That could prove crucial.

For comparison, the averages of the partisan crosstabs of 10 polls released earlier this month showed Republicans backing Scott over Crist 72-13 percent; Democrats backing Crist over Scott 74-13 percent and independents favoring Crist over Scott 34-39 percent.

This is all inside-the-error-margin stuff.

No matter how you slice these polls, or this poll from SEA, this race is essentially tied.

And, yes, it’s time to say the smartest and dumbest thing in politics: It’s all about turnout. Republicans are turning out more of their voters in pre-Election Day ballots, but Democrats have more voters.

The poll reflects a Republican turnout advantage of 2 percentage points, showing an electorate of 43 percent GOP; 41 percent Democrat and 16 percent independent.

Change those numbers and the topline numbers change.

For more polls in this race, here's our polling tab.

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