Big reversal for self-funders in Florida

Florida Senate candidate Kendrick Meek now leads his primary rival in two of the last three public polls — including one that showed him trailing real estate mogul Jeff Greene in July.

Meek now leads Greene 35 to 28 percent among likely voters in the latest Quinnipiac University poll. In a July 29 poll, Greene held a 33 to 23 percent lead over Meek.

Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre (D), the other primary candidate, gets 6 percent, compared to 4 percent on July 29.

The poll released Wednesday was a survey of about 800 primary voters from each party conducted Aug. 11-16.


It found there's still a significant number of undecided voters. Almost a third of Democrats are undecided, and 39 percent of those who name a candidate say they could change their mind.

Big spenders aren't just doing badly on the Democratic side.

In the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary, the self-funding former front-runner has also fallen behind his establishment opponent. Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) now leads businessman Rick Scott (R) 44 to 35 percent among likely primary voters. Scott led 43 to 32 percent in the July survey.


"The empire strikes back — actually both empires. That is, the folks who run the Democratic and Republican parties in Florida have waded into the nomination fights and they are making a difference," Peter Brown, assistant director of the university’s polling institute, said in a statement.

Meek, in particular, has been on the receiving end of some help from well-known Democrats. Former President Clinton held three rallies for him on Monday.

"Look, I love Kendrick Meek," Clinton told a crowd of 1,000 people at a recreation center in South Florida on Monday. "I'd be here for him if I was the only vote he had in the entire country. I also believe with all my heart he should be the next U.S. senator from Florida.''