New polling released today shows Taddeo has lept from a 15+ point deficit in the previous poll a couple of weeks ago to only a seven point gap among voters who have made up their minds about the race in Florida's 18th district. Most importantly, Ros-Lehtinen remains under the magic 50% — the incumbent's recent ad blitz has netted her a statistically insignificant 2% gain over the last poll while Taddeo has surged. Add in the leanings of the uncommitted and this election is nearly tied.
Why? National events — plus Taddeo's name recognition has almost doubled in the last few weeks.
Here are the key stats: Taddeo at 41% and Ros-Lehtinen at 48%, and 11% undecided. Meanwhile, 78% of [somewhat] undecided voters lean toward Taddeo; only 22% to Ros-Lehtinen. That's almost a 4:1 split. Allocate that [remaining] 11% undecided according to the same 78-22 ratio, and the candidates are within 1% of each other — 50.42 to 49.58. If these numbers are right, they must be freaking out over at Ros-Lehtinen HQ.
As the pollster's memo notes,
Ros-Lehtinen’s favorables have declined while her unfavorables have increased. Moreover, because she is so well known in the district (94% are familiar with her) Ros-Lehtinen has very little room to grow her support, while Annette Taddeo is in a far better position to become better known to the electorate.
If the election were held today, these numbers suggest it could still be a squeaker win for Ros-Lehtinen. But there's still two weeks to go — and the more McCain looks like a loser, the more that Republican voters may stay home.
Like I've said from the start, this is going to be a turnout-driven congressional election. Here in south Florida we're enjoying a full-court press by the Obama get-out-the-vote team, plus some serious field work by the Taddeo forces.
And that's why blogging may be a spotty for a while: A few days ago I volunteered to be a precinct captain for the Taddeo campaign. Starting this past weekend my kids and I have been working our way through our precinct, going door to door identifying likely voters, and talking to independent voters and other identified persuadables about why they should vote for Taddeo. So far the response has been excellent. (PS, if you live or work near me — I now have Taddeo yard signs.)
[Slightly improved from original version for clarity.]
Below, full text of the Taddeo Press Release.