Sunshine State News has posted a teaser for its latest poll, which shows Democratic firebrand Alan Grayson trailing his opponent, former state legislator Daniel Webster, by seven points in a 43-36 race. Full results won’t be released until business hours on Wednesday, so we won’t know the exact details or methodology until tomorrow, but this could represent a game-changer in the 8th district, previously considered by many analysts as a toss-up.
Grayson’s inflammatory rhetoric has made him the bane of GOP leaders. During the health care reform debate, he said that the Republican health care plan is to, “die quickly.” He told Chris Matthews that he has trouble listening to Dick Cheney, “because of the blood that drips from his teeth while he’s talking,” and suggested that gasoline would be cheaper if President Bush had let a Saudi leader, “get to second base.”
His no-holds-barred style has also made him a darling of liberals, a fundraising machine, and a tough opponent.
But Grayson’s campaign tactics have landed him in hot water, as critics pile on his latest ad, which quotes Webster out of context and labels him “Taliban Dan.” Support has poured in for Webster, whose campaign has raised tens of thousands in donations since the attack began.
“This poll shows that the citizens of District 8 are rejecting the nasty negative tactics of Alan Grayson,” said Webster Spokesman Brian Graham. “This district is ready for a real leader who will focus on job creation and deficit reduction.”
If these numbers represent a repudiation of Grayson’s attack ads, though, he may have further to fall. The Sunshine State News poll surveyed voters from Sept. 25-27. Grayson’s Taliban ad began running on Sept. 25, but it didn’t really turn into a media whirlwind until Sept. 27 — which raises the question: How much of voters’ anger over the outlandish advertisement is reflected in this poll and how much is left to come?
“As he continues his malicious ads, I suspect his poll numbers may drop some more,” Graham said.