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
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
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
"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
Quinnipiac's poll released Wednesday showed Crist, who was a
Republican when elected governor in 2006, slightly ahead of Rubio
in that race.