August 31, 2006 - Harris Leads Field In Senate Republican Primary, Quinnipiac University Florida Poll Finds; Other Candidates Gain Little Ground
U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris leads a field of four contenders in Florida's Republican Senate primary with 38 percent of likely primary voters, 16 points ahead of Orlando attorney William McBride, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

The winner of the September 5 Republican primary faces heavily favored U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who is unchallenged for the Democratic nomination.

Trailing Rep. Harris is McBride with 22 percent, followed by LeRoy Collins Jr., the son of a former Democratic governor, who gets 11 percent, and Peter Monroe, former head of the Resolution Trust Corp., at 3 percent. Another 24 percent of likely primary voters remain undecided and 45 percent of those who choose a candidate say the might change their mind.

There hasn't been much change in the numbers from a July 27 poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University which showed Harris with 40 percent, McBride with 21 percent, Collins with 6 percent and Monroe with 3 percent. Thirty percent of likely voters were undecided then.

"If Rep. Harris had only one opponent she might be in deep trouble. But having three candidates splitting the anti-Harris vote is a major plus for her," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"So she's sitting on a 16-point lead a week before the voting in a race where there has been little movement - all in all, a good place to be."

"Harris has a cadre of strong supporters that might be especially important in what is expected to be a relatively low-turnout primary. Only a third of her supporters say they might change their mind and vote for one of the other candidates," Brown added.

But even among likely primary voters - the GOP hardcore - she has higher negatives than might be expected for a candidate for statewide office. Only 36 percent of likely primary voters rate her favorably, while 25 percent view her unfavorably; 22 percent have a mixed opinion and 14 percent say they haven't heard enough about her to form an opinion. Each of her three opponents are so little known that none has more than 18 percent rating him favorably.

By comparison, Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist, who leads the race for the party's gubernatorial nomination, is viewed favorably by 51 percent, negatively by 11 percent. Even Tom Gallagher, who is trailing Crist by more than 20 points in the latest Quinnipiac University poll, is viewed favorably by 32 percent, unfavorably by 17 percent.

From August 23 - 28, Quinnipiac University surveyed 317 Florida likely Republican primary voters, with a margin of error of +/- 5.5 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the nation as a public service and for research. For additional data-www.quinnipiac.edu and quicklinks

7. (If registered Republican) If the 2006 Republican primary for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Katherine Harris, LeRoy Collins Jr., Peter Monroe and William McBride for whom would you vote? (If undecided q7) As of today, do you lean more toward Harris, Collins Jr., Monroe or McBride? This table includes Leaners.

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS


Harris 38% Collins Jr. 11 Monroe 3 McBride 22 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) - DK/NA 24

TREND: (If registered Republican) If the 2006 Republican primary for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Katherine Harris, LeRoy Collins Jr., Peter Monroe and William McBride for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Harris, Collins Jr., Monroe or McBride? *This table includes leaners.

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Aug 31  Jul 27
                        2006    2006


Harris 38 40 Collins 11 6 Monroe 3 3 McBride 22 21 SMONE ELSE 1 - WLDN'T VOTE - - DK/NA 24 30



7a. (If candidate choice q7) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the primary?

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS..........
                                CANDIDATE CHOICE
                        Tot     KH


Made up 55% 65% Might change 45 35 DK/NA - -



8. (If registered Republican) Is your opinion of Katherine Harris favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about her?

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS


Favorable 36% Unfavorable 25 Mixed 22 Hvn't hrd enough 14 REFUSED 2

TREND: Is your opinion of Congresswoman Katherine Harris favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about her?

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Aug 31  Jul 27
                        2006    2006


Favorable 36 30 Unfavorable 25 26 Mixed 22 26 Hvn't hrd enough 14 18 REFUSED 2 -



9. (If registered Republican) Is your opinion of William McBride favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS


Favorable 18% Unfavorable 5 Mixed 18 Hvn't hrd enough 57 REFUSED 2

TREND: Is your opinion of attorney William McBride favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Aug 31  Jul 27
                        2006    2006


Favorable 18 8 Unfavorable 5 7 Mixed 18 11 Hvn't hrd enough 57 74 REFUSED 2 -



10. (If registered Republican) Is your opinion of LeRoy Collins Jr. favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS


Favorable 14% Unfavorable 4 Mixed 9 Hvn't hrd enough 73 REFUSED 1

TREND: Is your opinion of son of former Governor LeRoy Collins, LeRoy Collins, Jr., favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Aug 31  Jul 27
                        2006    2006


Favorable 14 4 Unfavorable 4 5 Mixed 9 4 Hvn't hrd enough 73 87 REFUSED 1 -



11. (If registered Republican) Is your opinion of Peter Monroe favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS


Favorable 5% Unfavorable 4 Mixed 9 Hvn't hrd enough 81 REFUSED 1

TREND: Is your opinion of developer Peter Monroe favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS 
                        Aug 31  Jul 27
                        2006    2006


Favorable 5 3 Unfavorable 4 9 Mixed 9 3 Hvn't hrd enough 81 84 REFUSED 1 2