Suffolk Poll of Florida: Republican Rubio Leads by 8 Points


With a little over two weeks left in the 2010 election cycle, Republican Marco Rubio (39 percent) leads Independent candidate Charlie Crist (31 percent) by 8 points and Democrat Kendrick Meek (22 percent) by 17 points in the race for U.S. Senate, according to the latest Suffolk University/WSVN poll. Libertarian Alexander Snitker trails with only 2 percent and 6 percent of likely voters remain undecided.

In the race for governor, current Chief Financial Officer of the state of Florida and Democratic candidate Alex Sink (45 percent) leads Republican candidate Rick Scott (38 percent) by 7 points. Independent candidates split 4 percent of the vote – Peter Allen (2 percent), C.C. Reed (1 percent), Daniel Imperato (1 percent), while 13 percent of likely voters remain undecided.
“Florida may be deploying one party to Washington and another party to Tallahassee,” said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Boston’s Suffolk University. “Rubio’s biggest ally in the U.S. Senate race is his Democratic opponent who is preventing Independent Crist from overtaking Rubio. In the governor’s race Democrat Alex Sink’s biggest ally is her opponent’s negative ads against her. They are turning voters off and turning voters away from Republican Scott.”

When asked which candidate for governor has run a more negative campaign, 42 percent of likely voters said Republican Rick Scott, 23 percent said Democrat Alex Sink, and 35 percent remain undecided.
The mindset of the likely Florida voter is very negative. Fifty-two percent disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as President, 58 percent think the country is heading in the wrong direction, 60 percent said the job situation won’t improve in the next six months, and 89 percent said that the recession is not over in Florida.

Charlie Crist is the strongest second choice and could pounce if Meek supporters defect to make their vote count between the top two candidates. When Meek voters were asked who would be their second choice if it was apparent Meek could not win, 56 percent of Meek voters chose Crist while only 8 percent would vote for Rubio with 26 percent undecided. And if Meek dropped out of the race, Rubio’s lead would be cut to 5 percent with 20 percent undecided.

Hillary Clinton (59 percent favorable – 34 percent unfavorable) is the most popular politician of the seven public figures polled. This mirrors findings in the Suffolk University polls of Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Nevada, and Massachusetts likely voters in the last four weeks.

In the race for attorney general, Republican Pam Bondi leads with 38 percent of the vote. Democrat Dan Gelber has 30 percent, while Independent Jim Lewis has 7 percent, with 26 percent of likely voters remaining undecided.

Current issues in Florida that were polled include Amendment Two, which proposes a constitutional amendment that would require the state legislature to provide an additional homestead property tax exemption for members of the United States military. When asked if likely voters support or oppose Amendment Two, 70 percent said they supported it, while only 18 percent said they opposed, and 12 percent said they were undecided on the issue.

Other issues include the re-introduction of The DREAM Act to Congress, which would provide a path to citizenship for young people who came to the United States as children but are not legal citizens. Thirty-three percent of likely Florida voters said that they strongly support The DREAM Act, 30 percent say they somewhat support the bill, while 17 percent say they strongly oppose and 10 percent said they somewhat oppose it. Ten percent of likely voters remained undecided on The DREAM Act.

In the bellwether of Flagler County, Sink led Scott by 1 point, 38-37 percent while Rubio led Crist by 11 points, 37-26, with Meek in third at 20 percent. In 2006, Flagler County was within 1 point of the statewide numbers for all candidates in the gubernatorial race.


The statewide survey of 500 Florida likely voters was conducted Oct.14-17, 2010. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. The Flager County bellwether included 300 likely voters polled 10/16-10/17. Bellwethers are designed to predict outcomes, not margins. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data will be posted Monday, Oct. 18 at 10 p.m. on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site: For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.

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Greg Gatlin

Mariellen Norris