By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Call him a long shot, call him an underdog or call him crazy. But according to StPetePoll.org, little known David Jolly is up four points over Alex Sink in the Pinellas County special election race to fill the late Bill Young‘s U.S. House seat.
The poll surveyed 1,278 District 13 registered voters on Jan. 15, the day after Jolly won the GOP primary. The margin of error is +/- 2.7 percent.
Despite Sink’s clear name-recognition advantage, the great equalizer evidenced in the poll was the candidates’ position on the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Accordingly, 68 percent of respondents said Obamacare would influence how they vote. Of those, nearly two thirds support repealing or replacing the federal health care law. The rest want it left alone.
The finding reflects wider disapproval shown in a Real Clear Politics average of six national surveys where President Obama‘s signature legislation is suffering a 15 point favorability deficit. On Friday, Gallup reported the president’s own approval rating stood at just 39 percent.
That’s a lot of negatives to be tied to and the Jolly campaign is already on the offensive.
“Let’s talk about Obamacare,” Jolly said in his most recent television ad. “I will work to replace it with a private sector solution that actually does fulfill that now famous promise: ‘If you like your insurance, you can keep it.'”
In Sink’s razor-thin failed attempt to take the governor’s mansion in 2010, Sink openly supported Obamacare. She has since distanced herself by claiming the health law’s rollout was bungled.
“The rollout of the website and problems that have arisen with the implementation are unacceptable,” says a statement on her campaign website. “The Obama Administration needs to be held accountable to get the website running, and making any necessary changes to fix any problems with the law.”
Sink’s latest TV spot is an aw shucks feel-good ad featuring her elderly father, Kester. The ad blasts partisan gridlock while showcasing her down-home likability. It’s also an emotional play to connect with seniors, a critical demographic for both candidates.
Despite the district trending younger — in 2012, Obama defeated Mitt Romney by just 1-percent — Young, an octogenarian Republican, crushed his Democratic opponent with 58 percent of CD-13’s votes. Nearly 76 percent of StPetePoll.org’s respondents were over age 50.
With plenty of money in the bank, Sink can afford to withhold negative attacks until closer to the March 11 general election. Plus, the Florida Democratic Party is doing it for her.
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