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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Race for GOP Gubernatorial Nomination Tightening?

A poll commissioned by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, carried out by the firm of Insider Advantage/Majority Opinion Research, interviewed 500 likely Republican voters. The poll found 39 percent supporting Charlie Crist and 29 percent supporting Tom Gallagher. 29 percent of voters were undecided. The poll was conducted Aug. 23-24 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Following the release of the Chamber poll, the Crist camp released their own internal poll, which put Crist at the magical 50 percent mark and Gallagher 20 points down at 30 percent. This number is closer to the numbers Floridians have been seeing lately, with Crist holding an approximately 20 point. However, polls released by campaigns are too be taken with a grain of salt.

Additionally, Crist has released an ad attacking his opponent. This suggests that he is not completely comfortable with his ability to decisively put down Gallagher. He could also be worried, as has been suggested, by Gallagher's hiring of top notch Republican media man/attack dog and a veteran of Jeb Bush's '98 campaign, Michael Murphy.

Personally, I believe it likely that the polls are closing - they almost always do as a campaign winds down - and this one is almost over. Crist's staff is probably worried that anything less than a crushing defeat, by which I mean 15 points of more, will be taken as not meeting expectations. In these situations, most campaigns will try to play the "expectations game," and talk about how polls tighten and try to lower the bar. However, it is not unheard of for a campaign to kick into overdrive to meet those expectations.

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