Politics & Government

Scott leads McCollum in Florida GOP governor's race

TALLAHASSEE _ Rick Scott leads the Republican primary for governor in a new statewide poll thanks to his massive TV ad buys and the old maxim: It's the economy, stupid.

Despite lingering questions about his business record and a Medicare fraud scandal in his background, the former health care executive has a 10 percentage-point lead over rival Bill McCollum ahead of the Aug. 24 primary in part because voters see Scott as the candidate who can best pull the economy out of the doldrums.

``Whoever's better on the economy is going to win this thing,'' Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said. ``I would be happy to put money on it.''

The statewide telephone survey conducted for The Miami Herald, St. Petersburg Times, Bay News 9 and Central Florida News 13 shows Scott with 42 percent support, McCollum 32 percent, 3 percent favoring another candidate and 23 percent undecided, even after the two men and allied groups have spent $47 million on TV ads.

The poll of 602 registered voters was conducted Aug. 6-10 by Ipsos Public Affairs, a nonpartisan research company based in Washington, D.C. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points overall and 5.9 percent for questions based on Republicans.

The governor's race is a virtual toss-up in November against Democrat Alex Sink and independent Lawton ``Bud'' Chiles with many voters not sure how they'll vote.

Scott leads Sink, 30 percent to 29 percent, and Sink leads McCollum, 30 percent to 26 percent, with high numbers of undecideds (26 percent and 29 percent respectively).

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