Poll: Sink leads Jolly in Fla. special election

Democrat Alex Sink has a seven-point lead over Republican David Jolly in the special election to replace former Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.), according to a new independent poll.

Sink takes 42 percent support to Jolly’s 35 percent support among registered voters in a new survey from Bay News 9/Tampa Bay Times/WUSF Public Media.

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That’s Sink’s most substantial lead since a December survey of the election. Since then, multiple polls, both public and private, have shown a low-double-digit race.

The survey also shows Sink with more crossover appeal than Jolly; Sink draws 16 percent of Republicans, while Jolly takes 8 percent of Democrats. And she takes a plurality of respondents older than 55, an important voting bloc in the district, which has a high concentration of retirees and seniors. 

The survey might indicate that the heavy barrage of attacks from outside groups is taking more of a toll on the Republican than the Democrat, in part because voters aren’t as concerned with ObamaCare as the GOP has predicted.

Four different outside groups have hammered Sink for her support of the healthcare law and attacked her as a “tax-and-spender” from her time as Florida’s chief financial officer.

But the new survey shows, while a plurality of respondents say they oppose the Affordable Care Act, a quarter of respondents say it’s not at all important to their decision on who to support in the race.

While three-fourths of respondents say the healthcare law is important to their decision, a portion of those voters likely support it.

And perhaps more telling is the fact that Sink still draws 14 percent of voters who oppose ObamaCare away from Jolly. He takes only 9 percent of those voters who support it.

The poll might predict a shift in messaging for Republicans heading into the final two weeks of the race, in a district that’s a must-win for Democrats hoping to show the healthcare law isn’t the handicap Republicans believe it to be.

The survey was conducted among 603 registered voters from Feb. 4-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.