Poll: Iorio gains traction in Senate bid
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02/18/09 Mitch E. Perry
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A new poll released today shows that Floridians by a 19 percent margin want Charlie Crist to run for re-election, but will give their support if he chooses to run for U.S. Senate next year.

More than two-thirds of all Florida voters polled, 67 percent, say they approve of Crist’s performance the past two years as governor.

The Quinnipiac Poll also shows that Crist would easily win the GOP nomination for Senate if he ran next year for Mel Martinez soon to be vacated seat.

Crist leads his next closest competitor in that race, Fort Myers Congressman Connie Mack, by 40 points.

Something of a surprise in the Quinnipiac Poll is on the Democratic side.

The current leading candidates for the Senate race are Miami area Congressman Kendrick Meek, and Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, both getting 16 percent of the vote.

Meek has already announced his candidacy, and earlier this week scored a major endorsement from the Service Employees International Union.

Mayor Iorio has not announced for anything yet, but says she is considered running.

Political analyst Bob Buckhorn ran against Pam Iorio in 2003, but finished third that year behind her and Frank Sanchez. He says these early numbers auger well for her candidacy, if she decides to go for it.

The Quinnipiac poll also asks two policy questions about the Governor’s proposal to increase legalize gambling in the state to help the revenue shortage.

By a 59 to 36 percent margin, Floridians consider that a good idea.

And regarding Crist’s compact with the Seminole Tribes to allow them to operate Vegas style games – a plan that courts have found needs to be approved by the Legislature, the poll says 63 percemt of Floridians say the Legislature should approve that plan, 33 percent disagree.

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