Political newcomer and millionaire former hospital CEO Rick Scott, who is running to be the Republican candidate for Florida governor, is apparently reaping the benefits of his TV ad blitzkrieg.

A Quinnipiac University Polling Institute survey released today shows Scott running even with Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who is also running for governor as a Republican. Each earned 42 percent. The Democratic nominee, state CFO Alex Sink, trails with 32 percent. Bud Chiles, an independent candidate for governor, polled at 19 percent, but he entered the race so late the margin of error on his numbers is greater.

“A few weeks ago, nobody outside his immediate family knew who [Scott] was,” says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Polling Institute.

But his aggressive TV ad campaign has spiked his name recognition. A multi-millionaire who is apparently self-funding much of his campaign, Scott spending millions on the ads. Despite a controversial past as the CEO of a hospital chain that pleaded guilty to Medicare fraud, and accusations of discrimination, Scott earned 31 percent favorable rating in the poll versus 22 percent unfavorable, with 46 percent saying they hadn’t heard enough. McCollum had a 37 percent favorable rating and 29 percent unfavorable.

The Republican primary will be held Aug. 24

The poll was conducted June 1-7 among 1,133 Floridians, with a +/- 2.9 percent margin of error.

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