Joe the Plumber has hurt Obama in Florida, new poll finds

Miami HeraldOctober 22, 2008 

Make way Barack Obama and Sarah Palin -- it looks like there's another polling phenomenon in Florida: The Joe the Plumber Effect.

As he pounds Obama for telling America's most famous handyman that he wants to ''spread the wealth around,'' John McCain is improving his standing in Florida, with a Wednesday poll showing the Republican presidential candidate with a 1 percentage-point lead.

The Mason-Dixon Polling and Research survey shows McCain's numbers have remained static at 46 percent since early October, while Obama's support has decreased three percentage points to 45.

The results mirror three other Florida polls this week that, taken together, show the race is dead even as Democratic nominee Obama's momentum appears to have slowed.

Not only does the economic crisis -- a benefit to Obama -- no longer lead the news casts, McCain has finally seized on a pocketbook issue by using the plumber to talk taxes, welfare and socialism, said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker.

''Joe the Plumber created the situation where Obama made a public relations mistake about spreading the wealth around,'' Coker said. ``So there's a Joe the Plumber Effect to the degree that McCain finally found some sort of economic message that people can relate to -- taxes.''

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