Bad News for Davis

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The Kitchens Group polled 600 Florida Democrats and came up with Davis 31 percent, Smith 27 percent with a margin of error of +/- 4 percent. A McLaughlin & Associates computerized phone poll (always a suspect methodology) showed it even tighter, with Davis at 21 percent and Smith at 20 percent.

A Times poll, however, shows Davis widening his lead, to 14 points. The poll was done by two firms, including Schroth, Eldon & Associates, with 800 registered voters from Aug. 6-9. The margin of error was +/- 5.2 percent. Davis had 35 percent of the vote; Smith 21 percent.

If I was a betting man, I would put money on the Schroth poll. As I've written here before, I did political consulting work with Rob Schroth and find him to be the best pollster I ever hired.

First and foremost, Jim Davis lost out on the endorsement of the state's largest, and second most liberal, daily newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times. On one hand, it should have been a slam-dunk, as Davis has a clearly more progressive record than moderate Rod Smith. The Alachua lawmaker has some NRA backing and environmental votes that should have made any self-respecting leftie newspaper editorial board cringe.

But Smith won the Times over the same way he is slowly winning voters, by force of personality. Additionally, the Times has never been big fan of Davis', and the fact that he comes from Tampa is a strike against him at the St. Pete-centric Times editorial board.

Then there are the polls. Two of them last week showed the race tightening to a virtual draw.

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