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Florida: ‘Sore Loser’ Tag Could Scar Jennings in Rematch

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) had a comfortable lead over former bank executive Christine Jennings (D) in a recent survey conducted for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The two face only token challenges in the Sunshine State’s Aug. 26 primary, setting the stage for a repeat of 2006’s controversial contested election that was only officially settled earlier this year.

In a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, Buchanan led Jennings, 53 percent to 37 percent, according to a survey conducted of 400 likely voters by Public Opinion Strategies on March 5 and 6. The margin of error was 4.9 points.

The survey also showed that 45 percent of the likely voters tested held a favorable impression of Buchanan, up slightly from 42 percent just after the 2006 election. Buchanan’s unfavorable ratings improved, too, dropping to 25 percent from 40 percent one year ago.

In contrast, the poll also suggested that Jennings’ repeated claims that malfunctioning voting equipment cost her the 2006 race have cast her as a “sore loser” with the locals. According to the survey, too, Jennings’ favorable rating has dropped by more than one-quarter during the past year. Forty-three percent of likely local voters had an unfavorable impression of her.

“Her negative image has driven her vote down,” pollster Glen Bolger wrote in a memo to NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.). “It’s going to be very difficult for her to turn her sour image around.”
— Matthew Murray

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