October 8, 2004


Terrorism issue lifts Martinez (MARC CAPUTO AND BETH REINHARD, 10/08/04, Miami Herald)

When it comes to fighting terrorism, Democratic Senate hopeful Betty Castor might have led with her chin and taken a beating from Republican Mel Martinez, according to a new poll showing her several points behind.

Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker said Thursday that Martinez leads 46 percent to 41 percent among likely voters after exploiting Castor's chief weakness: her failure to strongly denounce or fire a suspected terrorist when she was president of the University of South Florida.

Martinez's lead is within the poll's error margin of four percentage points, meaning the race could be too close to call. Another survey released Thursday, by Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University, has the race much tighter, with Martinez leading Castor 48 percent to 47 percent. That poll also suggests that terrorism is the top issue among Florida voters.

Castor was the first to bring up the terrorism issue in the general election campaign when she ran a television ad talking up her opposition to former USF Professor Sami al Arian. She suspended the professor with pay after word of his ''Death to Israel'' comments and alleged ties to terrorists were publicized.

By running the ad, Castor tried to insulate herself from future attacks. But Coker said she did the opposite.

''She led with her chin,'' he said, using a boxing term for a fighter who leaves himself open to a counterpunch.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 8, 2004 12:41 PM

A 46-41 poll is not within a four-point margin of error.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at October 8, 2004 1:53 PM

Fred - to the MSM any poll showing Bush/GOP up by less than 10 is within the margin.

Posted by: AWW at October 8, 2004 1:58 PM

Rasmussen just released the first poll I've seen showing Richard Burr ahead in NC. If these results hold up in other polls--considering Burr has kept his powder dry, while Martinez suffered a tough primary and bumbled in the early going as the nominee--it could be all downhill 'til Election Day.

Posted by: AC at October 8, 2004 2:11 PM


Either number can be off by 4 points either way.

margin of error


A measurement of the accuracy of the results of a survey. Example: A margin of error of plus or minus 3.5% means that there is a 95% chance that the responses of the target population as a whole would fall somewhere between 3.5% more or 3.5% less than the responses of the sample (a 7% spread).

Posted by: oj at October 8, 2004 3:32 PM

When I went to Jacksonville to visit my folks for the High Holy Days this year, I noticed that Betty Castor was running an ad indicating how tough she was on the filthy Muslim terrorist Sami al-Arian when she was President of USF. It was an entertaining commercial because her primary opponent, Peter Deutsch, had run commercials highlighting her stonewalling on bringing the terrorist scumbag al-Arian up on charges which would cause him to lose his tenured sinecure, complete with newspaper and editorial quotes.

But I guess if the Ketchup Gigolo can portray himself as an American patriot and a fervent opponent of Communism, anything is possible.

Posted by: Bart at October 8, 2004 4:01 PM