Published: Jun 10, 2010 4:23 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 10, 2010 9:55 AM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A poll released Thursday shows Naples

millionaire businessman Rick Scott leading Attorney General Bill

McCollum in the race for the Republican nomination for governor.

The Quinnipiac (Conn.) University poll has Scott with a 13-point

lead over McCollum, a career politician whose campaign has

struggled despite recent television ads featuring former Gov. Jeb

Bush on his behalf.

Scott, a former chief executive officer of the for-profit

hospital chain Columbia/HCA, was favored with 44 percent to

McCollum's 31 percent in a poll of 814 likely Republican voters

conducted June 2-8. The survey has a margin of error of plus or

minus 3.4 percentage points and is a snapshot of voter preferences

at the time they are polled.

A 57-year-old Illinois native who has lived in Florida since

1997, Scott has rocketed to prominence from political anonymity in

just two months as a result of a massive buy of television

advertising to introduce himself to voters.

Scott's willingness to spend millions of his own money for the

saturation advertising seems to be paying off.

"What this shows is the power of television advertising and the

weakness of Bill McCollum as a statewide candidate," said Rick

Fogelsong, professor of politics at Rollins College in Winter Park.

"Bill McCollum appears to lack the magnetism to attract much

popular support despite the fact that he's someone very well versed

in public policies. He doesn't seem to sell himself well to

voters."

Scott supports the Arizona law cracking down on illegal

immigrants and is a critic of President Barack Obama's health care

plan. Most of his campaigning has been limited to a barrage of

television ads.

The winner of the Aug. 24 primary election will face Democrat

Alex Sink and independent Bud Chiles, who just got into the race

earlier this month, in a three-way general election on Nov. 2. A

Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday also showed Scott ahead in that

contest if the election were held now.

Quinnipiac's poll also showed another wealthy newcomer gaining

traction with voters.

A survey of 785 likely Democratic voters showed Jeff Greene and

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami about even in their primary race

for U.S. Senate. Meek was preferred by 29 percent to 27 percent who

said they favored Greene, a billionaire real estate investor and

California-transplant who like Scott is bankrolling his own

campaign.

"Money can buy enough television ads to make political

neophytes serious contends," pollster Peter Brown said. "This is

shaping up to be the year of the anti-establishment candidate."

Republican Marco Rubio and Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running as

an independent, await the winner in another three-way general

election contest.

Quinnipiac's poll released Wednesday showed Crist, who was a

Republican when elected governor in 2006, slightly ahead of Rubio

in that race.