Florida Senate nominee Connie Mack IV isn't fighting Democrat Bill Nelson as much as he's scrapping with polling and perception. For weeks now, polls have shown Nelson with a huge lead over Mack, and the challenger is in danger of having his campaign written off as unwinnable by donors.
So Mack has decided to take a new campaign offensive against the polls. The candidate released a press release today openly questioning the reliability of polling in the race, and saying that while his own internal polling still shows him losing, he think the race could end up in a dead heat by election day.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows incumbent Nelson up an average by an average 8.8 percent in all recent polls. New York Times' polling guru Nate Silver's model gives Nelson a 97 percent chance of winning, and projects that Mack will end up losing by 8.5 percentage points on election day. Two polls released today show Nelson with a nine-point and a 14-point advantage.
Mack says these polls are all part of a vast Democratic conspiracy to influence pollsters to use voter turnout models that are favorable to them.
"Nevertheless some media outlets and Democrat-affiliated pollsters have released polls based on highly questionable Party Identification models that can serve no other purpose than to attempt to sway public opinion and voter enthusiasm," a campaign press release read today.
Yes, Mack claims that pollsters are not using realiable models of voter turnout.
This morning's Quinnipiac Poll (Commissioned by CBS News / New York Times) survey showing Nelson beating Mack 53-39 was comprised of:
The Washington Post Poll (released 9/25/12) showing Nelson beating Mack 54-40 was comprised of:
The demographic makeup of these and other polls contrast sharply with the Mack campaign's model of voter performance. Our latest internal poll, conducted 9/23 was comprised of:
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Mack says his internal polling shows him trailing by 5.4 percentage points. Yes, even his own polling shows him losing, but the campaign concludes that because of the number of undecided voters, Mack could still end up in a dead heat.
Yet, we did find one recent poll that uses a voter turnout somewhat similar to Mack's internal model. It's from Fox News [link to PDF here], which is, as we all know, not exactly a media outlet open to twisting facts in favor of Democrats. The September 19th poll used a model that included 42 percent Democrats, 37 percent Republicans and 20 percent Independent/Other voters. That poll still showed Nelson with a giant 14 percent lead.
For the record, according to Exit Polls, the voter turnout in Florida was 37 percent Democrat, 34 percent Republican and 29 percent Independent. In the 2010 non-presidential election, turnout was 36 percent for each the Republican and Democratic party, and 29 percent for Independents.