June 9, 2009 - Democrat Sink Has Small Edge In Florida Gov Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Back Tax Break For First-Time Homeowners

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Democrat Alex Sink holds a 38 - 34 percent lead over Republican Bill McCollum in an early look at the 2010 Florida Governor's race, the first matchup since Republican incumbent Charlie Crist said he would not seek a second term, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Florida voters support 61 - 33 percent reducing property taxes for first-time homeowners, but by a smaller 39 - 19 percent margin they say a 2010 proposed referendum measure to reduce property taxes is a "good idea," the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Another 41 percent say they haven't heard enough to decide the issue.

The general idea of reducing taxes for business property inches ahead 45 - 42 percent, but again support for a specific referendum next year is mixed: voters say 26 - 18 percent that the referendum is a good idea, but 55 percent haven't heard enough to decide.

Another proposal that will go before the voters in 2010, to eliminate the state's subsidies for statewide political campaigns with tax dollars, is ahead 56 - 33 percent, within range of the 60 percent threshold.

"Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is ahead in the Governor's race when matched up against State Attorney General Bill McCollum, but voters give him a better job approval rating, 51 - 16 percent, than Sink's 39 - 17 percent," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "McCollum also has an arguably better favorability ratio, 40 - 13 percent, than does her 25 - 7 percent rating, with 66 percent who haven't heard enough to form an opinion."

"One reason may be that in the survey he is identified as a Republican and she a Democrat," Brown added. "In Florida, as in much of the nation these days, the GOP label is not necessarily a plus, even though 50 percent of voters say the fact that Florida's governor has been Republican since 1998 has been good for the state, compared to 37 percent who say GOP rule has been bad for Florida."

In the trial heat, Sink leads 72 - 11 percent among Democrats while McCollum is ahead 72 - 5 percent among Republicans and 32 - 27 percent among independent voters.

"Ms. Sink's gender and the fact she would be the state's first woman governor are working to her benefit," said Brown. McCollum has a 39 - 37 percent edge among men, but she has a 39 - 30 percent lead among women. Moreover, 11 percent of voters say that the possibility of her being the first female Florida governor makes them more likely to vote for her while 3 percent say it would make them less likely, with 81 percent who say it won't affect their vote.

Currently candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer get $1 from the state for every $1 they raise privately if they agree to abide by a campaign spending limit. Democrats, Republicans and independent voters all agree public financing for these statewide campaigns should be ended.

"Passage is by no means a sure thing, but at this point those wanting to end the taxpayer subsidies probably have the upper hand," said Brown.

"That is not necessarily the case, however, for voter referenda to help first-time homeowners and businesses. Both proposals have a way to go to get to the 60 percent threshold needed in a voter referendum. Of course supporters have almost 18 months to make their case with the citizens of Florida."

From June 2 - 7, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,245 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed - http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

3. If the 2010 election for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Alex Sink the Democrat and Bill McCollum the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Sink                 38%     5%    72%    27%    37%    39%    17%
McCollum             34     72     11     32     39     30     56
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      1      1      1      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      1      4      3      1      2
DK/NA                25     21     16     37     21     29     23
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Sink                 32%    38%    32%    32%    50%
McCollum             38     31     40     39     26
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      3      -      2      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3      2      1      4      1
DK/NA                27     26     27     24     22
 
 
9. Is your opinion of - Bill McCollum favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            40%    59%    27%    39%    42%    38%    53%
Unfavorable          13      4     21     11     15     12      6
Hvn't hrd enough     46     34     51     49     41     49     38
REFUSED               2      3      1      1      2      2      3
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Bill McCollum favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him? (*Attorney General Bill McCollum)
                     Jun 9   Jan 21
                     2009    2009*
 
Favorable            40      40
Unfavorable          13      14
Hvn't hrd enough     46      44
REFUSED               2       1
 
 
10. Is your opinion of - Alex Sink favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            25%    16%    35%    24%    26%    25%    22%
Unfavorable           7     14      3      6     10      5     11
Hvn't hrd enough     66     67     61     69     62     69     66
REFUSED               1      3      -      1      2      1      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Alex Sink favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her? (*Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink)
                     Jun 9   Jan 21  Nov 18
                     2009    2009*   2008*
 
Favorable            25      24      27
Unfavorable           7       5      13
Hvn't hrd enough     66      70      59
REFUSED               1       1       1
 
 
16a. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mel Martinez is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              43%    53%    36%    43%    47%    39%    51%
Disapprove           31     24     34     34     32     30     25
DK/NA                27     23     30     23     22     31     24
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mel Martinez is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jun 9   Apr 16  Feb 19  Jan 21  Nov 18  Feb 6   Oct 24
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2008    2007    2007
 
Approve              43      42      43      42      42      48      35
Disapprove           31      35      31      30      33      22      34
DK/NA                27      23      26      28      25      29      31
 
 
16b. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill McCollum is handling his job as Florida Attorney General?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              51%    64%    42%    51%    54%    48%    62%
Disapprove           16      7     22     16     18     14      9
DK/NA                33     28     36     34     28     37     29
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill McCollum is handling his job as Florida Attorney General?
                     Jun 9   Apr 15  Feb 18  Jan 21  Nov 18  Jun 3   Oct 24
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2008    2008    2007
 
Approve              51      48      48      51      51      52      44
Disapprove           16      18      17      16      17      20      17
DK/NA                33      34      35      33      32      28      39
 
 
17. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Alex Sink is handling her job as Florida's chief financial officer?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              39%    29%    49%    38%    41%    38%    40%
Disapprove           17     25     11     19     19     16     21
DK/NA                44     46     40     43     40     46     39
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Alex Sink is handling her job as Florida's chief financial officer?
                     Jun 9   Apr 15  Feb 18  Jan 21  Nov 18  Jun 3   Oct 24
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2008    2008    2007
 
Approve              39      33      32      39      35      33      38
Disapprove           17      22      22      18      21      25      15
DK/NA                44      46      46      42      44      42      47
 
 
21. Florida has had Republican governors since 1998. Do you think Republican rule has been good for the state or bad for the state?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Good                 50%    84%    25%    52%    52%    47%    70%
Bad                  37      4     61     35     35     38     16
DK/NA                14     12     14     14     12     15     14
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Good                 53%    44%    56%    61%    41%
Bad                  34     36     36     27     44
DK/NA                13     21      8     12     16
 
 
22. If Alex Sink is elected Florida's governor she would be Florida's first woman governor. Does this make you more likely to vote for her, less likely, or doesn't it make a difference?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
More likely          11%     5%    22%     5%     9%    13%     8%
Less likely           3      7      2      2      4      3      5
Doesn't make diff    81     85     70     90     84     78     85
DK/NA                 5      4      6      3      3      6      2
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
More likely          11%     9%     7%    17%    16%
Less likely           3      4      3      6      2
Doesn't make diff    81     84     85     75     76
DK/NA                 5      3      5      3      6
 
 
23. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Florida today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Very satisfied        6%     6%     5%     5%     8%     4%     7%
Smwht satisfied      45     56     40     40     44     46     53
Smwht dissatisfied   33     26     34     38     32     33     27
Very dissatisfied    15      9     19     16     14     16     12
DK/NA                 2      2      2      1      2      2      2
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Very satisfied        5%     4%     4%     8%     7%
Smwht satisfied      49     49     48     48     34
Smwht dissatisfied   32     29     33     27     38
Very dissatisfied    11     16     14     16     18
DK/NA                 3      2      1      1      2
 
TREND: In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Florida today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied? (*combined High also 63% on 9/23/04)
                                                             VERY+SMWHT....
                                                             High    Low
                     Jun 9   Apr 15  Feb 18  Jan 21  Nov 19  Feb 24  Apr 10
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2008    2005*   2008
 
Very satisfied        6       3       3       4       7      15       5
Smwht satisfied      45      43      40      42      40      48      32
Smwht dissatisfied   33      34      33      34      33      22      34
Very dissatisfied    15      19      22      20      20      15      28
DK/NA                 2       1       2       1       1       1       1
 
 
24. Do you support or oppose reducing property taxes for first time homeowners in Florida?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Support              61%    60%    65%    55%    61%    60%    61%
Oppose               33     34     29     40     33     33     36
DK/NA                 6      6      6      5      6      7      3
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Support              56%    58%    67%    59%    61%
Oppose               39     37     27     33     32
DK/NA                 6      6      6      8      7
 
 
25. As you may know, there is going to be a referendum in Florida on property tax reduction for first time homeowners. Under the proposed amendment they would be eligible for a tax exemption on 25 percent. Do you think this is a good idea, a bad idea, or haven't you heard enough about it?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Good idea            39%    31%    49%    32%    44%    35%    34%
Bad idea             19     20     13     25     22     16     22
Hvn't heard enough   41     47     38     42     33     48     43
DK/NA                 1      2      1      1      1      1      1
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Good idea            28%    38%    40%    39%    48%
Bad idea             23     20     20     17     14
Hvn't heard enough   48     41     40     43     37
DK/NA                 1      2      1      2      1
 
 
26. Do you support or oppose reducing property taxes for business property in Florida?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Support              45%    54%    39%    42%    52%    39%    51%
Oppose               42     33     48     45     39     45     38
DK/NA                13     13     14     12     10     16     10
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Support              38%    42%    45%    64%    45%
Oppose               47     42     43     29     43
DK/NA                15     16     12      7     13
 
 
27. As you may know, another part of this referendum will limit the increase on property tax assessments for business and rental property. Do you think this is a good idea, a bad idea, or haven't you heard enough about it?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Good idea            26%    32%    22%    25%    29%    23%    32%
Bad idea             18     14     18     23     22     15     19
Hvn't heard enough   55     54     60     50     48     60     48
DK/NA                 1      1      -      1      1      1      1
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Good idea            20%    24%    23%    37%    30%
Bad idea             20     17     17     17     20
Hvn't heard enough   59     58     59     43     49
DK/NA                 1      1      1      3      2
 
 
28. Florida voters will be asked if they want to repeal the state law that provides public financing for statewide political campaigns. Under the law candidates who agree to a set spending limit received one dollar from the government for every one dollar they raise privately. Do you think public financing of campaigns in Florida should be continued or ended?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Continued            33%    29%    40%    32%    36%    30%    24%
Ended                56     60     48     59     57     55     63
DK/NA                12     11     12      9      7     15     13
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Continued            30%    30%    28%    35%    42%
Ended                57     54     59     57     52
DK/NA                14     16     13      8      7