If the latest trend holds and no hanging chads get in the way, the nastiest man in Congress may get some extra time to work on some sensitivity training. The latest Sunshine News Poll shows Daniel Webster with a 7% lead over Mr. Nasty himself, incumbent Alan Grayson. A poll taken four weeks ago reported Webster with the same margin, but the percentages for both candidates have risen as undecideds are making up their minds.
Former state Senator Daniel Webster, now leads Grayson in Florida’s 8th congressional district by 48-41%. Fake tea party candidate Peg Dunmire who entered the campaign at the behest of the incumbent got 4 percent, No Party Affiliation candidate George Metcalfe got 1 percent, and 5 percent of respondents were undecided. Last month’s poll showed Webster with a 43-36% lead.
“Webster has to be the favorite here. Grayson has failed to turn his negative image around, and is still viewed in a negative light by a 55-38 margin,” said Jim Lee, president of Voter Survey Service, which conducted both polls. “This means Grayson has very little if any room to grow.”
While Webster’s negatives climbed 12 points since the earlier poll, undoubtedly spurred by Grayson’s relentlessly negative advertising, the Republican maintains a relatively healthy favorable/unfavorable rating of 47/33.
Lee said nothing has changed the “fundamental equation for Grayson” in Central Florida’s 8th Congressional District, where President Barack Obama gets a 52 percent job disapproval score (vs. 51 percent last month).
“Given that this district leans Democratic in raw registration numbers, Grayson’s only hope is to turn out his base at a higher rate than the opponent’s,” Lee said.
But even then, Lee cautioned, the district still trends Republican in a nonpresidential year.
“The key difference in the poll when compared to last time is that Webster is surging with independents, now leading them by a 48-33 margin over Grayson, which is a reversal from a 42-33 Grayson lead in the last poll (a net swing of 24 points),” Lee reported.
Kathy Mears, a spokeswoman for Webster, said, “Although we are being outspent and deluged with some of the most negative and dirtiest ads in the country, we do sense a great deal of support from voters in the district. We trust that our positive message will win the day in Central Florida.”
Over the weekend Columnist George Will wrote an article bashing Grayson’s nastiness but also intelligence. In his weekly Newsweek piece, George Will calls Grayson “America’s Worst Politician” as he endorsed his challenger Daniel Webster.
Grayson campaign manager Susannah Randolph responded that the contest “is much closer than Daniel Webster and the Republicans would like to admit, being that they spent nearly $2 million in negative ads to defeat Congressman Grayson.”
Not quite true, the Oct. 13 filings with the FEC show Grayson has raised $5,120,846, with $814,741 cash on hand and $1,080,966 in debt. Webster reported raising $1,317,108, with $340,119 cash on hand and no debt. And don’t forget the SCHMOTUS was there yesterday to help him raise money.
Since the Sunshine State News Poll shows Webster’s margin widening to 11 points among voters who say they are most likely to cast ballots (51-40), Lee projected that the Republican could top 50 percent on election night.
Even though both Webster and Grayson have increased their support in their respective bases (Webster up 7 with Republicans, Grayson up 8), the swing of independents against Grayson could prove to be his undoing.
And the congressman’s rising unfavorable rating — now worse than Obama’s — appears to be downright lethal.
“Grayson’s favorable-unfavorable image is now a staggering negative ratio of 55-30, compared to a negative 47-36 ratio in September, so it’s apparent his TV campaign has completely backfired,” Lee said.
Floridians are decent people, they will not stand for a congressman who along with having the wrong positions are just plain embarrassingly nasty. That’s why if people turn out to vote, Alan Grayson will be sent packing on election day.
The entire poll is below: