Political outsiders Rick Scott and Jeff Greene are leading in their respective primary races in Florida, although the numbers of undecided and/or lukewarm voters add another factor to the contests, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters released today.
In the race for the Republican gubernatorial nod, businessman Scott leads state Attorney General Bill McCollum 43 to 32 percent, Quinnipiac found. Another 23 percent are undecided, and 43 percent of those who do name a candidate say they could change their mind.
In the contest for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, businessman Greene has jumped to a 33-to-23 percent lead over U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, while former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre languishes at 4 percent. But 35 percent are undecided and 54 percent of those who favor a candidate claim the right to change their minds.
Scott's lead, which is similar to the 44-to-33 percent gap he held in a June 10 Quinnipiac survey, meshes with voter preference for a government outsider, Quinnipiac says. The independently wealthy Scott is a former healthcare executive who has never held political office.
However, Scott’s tenure at Columbia/HCA has dogged him during in the campaign. He resigned in 1997 shortly after the FBI began probing the company for Medicare billing fraud. The company later paid $1.6 billion in fines, the largest Medicare fraud case in history, although Scott never was charged with a crime.
In analyzing the survey results, Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the independent Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said, "If there was any doubt that enough money can make a political unknown into a front-runner, the Democratic Senate primary and the Republican primary for governor should lay them to rest. Both Greene and Scott have come from nowhere to hold double-digit leads with just a little more than three weeks until the voting."
For the full Quinnipiac poll results, Go Here Now.
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