Poll: Florida Dem Narrowly Leads in Tomorrow’s Special Congressional Race

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 10 2014 4:33 PM

Poll: Florida Dem Narrowly Leads in Tomorrow’s Special Congressional Race

103769117-florida-democratic-gubernatorial-candidate-alex-sink
Alex Sink looks to sink an easy putt tomorrow.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The League of Conservation Voters has teamed with Public Policy Polling for, likely, the final poll on the race for Florida's 13th District. If accurate, it confirms what Republicans have feared—a superior Democratic organization has turned out enough votes for Democrat Alex Sink that Republican David Jolly is likely to lose tomorrow. PPP suggests that 60 percent of voters have turned out already (122,000 ballots have been cast before Election Day) and that Sink's won them by 7 points. Jolly's winning the rest of the electorate by 4 points.

That keeps Sink in the lead, bailed out by the very moderate-sounding 27-year-old Libertarian candidate Lucas Overby. And that's another factor Republicans feared—a third-party group got Rand Paul to make a robo-call, asking the sort of voters who might cast a "screw 'em" vote for Overby go for Jolly instead.

Right before early voting began, I spent five days in the district to report out how the Affordable Care Act was affecting the race (oh, and the human beings who cast votes). Conclusion: It does not help Sink. The Chamber of Commerce and NRCC have blasted Sink with ads warning voters that she "supports Obamacare." (Sink, who was state CFO from 2007 to 2011, did not get to vote on the law.) Sink has not run any ads defending the law itself, choosing instead to warn voters that Republicans like Jolly want to dismantle Social Security and Medicare, hoping that affection for the old programs outstrips any worry about the new one—oh, and that Jolly is a scummy lobbyist.

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But Republicans have hedged, too. American Crossroads has hit Sink for the pension fund losses that occurred in her tenure as CFO. (2008–2009 was a suboptimal time to run a fund.) More importantly Republicans have spent months predicting that Jolly might blow it and let the Democrats take a seat that has historically, safely gone Republican. George Will's column on the race offered the ideal sentiment: "If Sink wins, Republicans nationally can shrug; if Jolly wins, Democrats should tremble."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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