In Florida, Mixed Message

Posted January 21, 2008 at 10:11pm

Two new Florida polls released today – 8 days ahead of the presidential primary there – have conflicting news for John McCain.

A SurveyUSA/WFLA-TV/WKRG-TV poll done after the South Carolina primary has McCain leading in Florida with 25 percent, Rudy Giuliani is in second place with 20 percent (a drop of 3 points from last week), Mitt Romney is close behind with 19 percent, Mike Huckabee polls 14 percent and Fred Thompson and Ron Paul each have 7 percent support. SurveyUSA points out that “Giuliani led in SurveyUSA tracking polls released 11/06/07, 11/29/07, 12/04/07 and 12/17/07. He has not led since.”

The poll was of likely voters (or people who had already early-voted) and has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

Meanwhile, a Rasmussen poll shows Romney moving ahead in Florida, with 25 percent of the likely voters surveyed, McCain and Giuliani behing with 20 and 19 percent, respectively. Huckabee slipped from an earlier poll to 13 percent, and Thompson polled 12 percent. Romney is most popular with conservative voters.

Rasmussen points out that Florida is a closed Republican primary, so McCain’s strength among independents will not be a factor here, and adds: “if McCain can win a Republican-only Primary in Florida, he will have a major advantage heading into Super Tuesday a week later.”