Incumbent Democratic Rep. Allen Boyd has spent more than $2 million on his campaign to win an eighth term representing Florida’s congressional District 2, which encompasses parts of Tallahassee and Panama City. His opponent, funeral home owner Steven Southerland, has only spent a little over $650,000. Yet a new poll shows him leading Boyd by double digits.
Though the poll is partisan (it was conducted by Voter Survey Service, a division of GOP-only polling firm Susquehanna), it isn’t far off from what what several media outlets have long been reporting: Southerland will likely win this race, and he will likely win it big. This particular poll, which was conducted Oct. 14-17, shows Southerland beating Boyd 50-38:
Though Boyd maintains a hefty fund-raising advantage over Southerland, a first-time candidate, the Democratic incumbent is bogged down by a 56 percent “unfavorable” rating. Just 33 percent of respondents view Boyd favorably, while Southerland enjoys a much healthier 45/32 favorable/unfavorable score.
Many of Boyd’s constituents have found his campaign promises to be hypocritical to his politics. As a member of the fiscally conservative “Blue Dog” coalition, Boyd was elected largely due to the promises he made to block initiatives like the stimulus bill and health care reform. Instead, Boyd voted for both. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the decision to vote against his fellow Blue Dogs is what ultimately did him in:
The defections weren’t just disappointments to voters—they were betrayals. Mr. Boyd’s real problem here—and surrounding Lafayette, Taylor and Suwannee Counties—isn’t the strength of his opponent. It’s the fervor with which his former supporters want to punish him. … Today, the only yard signs that reference him scream: “Blue Dog = Lap Dog.” Mr. Boyd has been scarce in the area. (His campaign did not return a call for comment.) Mr. Southerland is betting voters here, combined with his own GOP stronghold around Panama City, will swing this. RealClearPolitics rates it a toss-up.