MIAMI – Gov. Jeb Bush's lead over Democratic challenger and political newcomer Bill McBride has narrowed, according to a new poll.
A survey released Thursday by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research showed Bush leading McBride 49 percent to 43 percent. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
McBride had once been considered a long shot for the Democratic nomination, which he narrowly captured Sept. 10 by defeating former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno in a primary marred by voting problems.
The Mason-Dixon poll of 625 likely voters was conducted Sept. 22-24.
In January, a Mason-Dixon poll showed Bush with a 31 point lead over the Tampa lawyer.
University of Florida political scientist Stephen Craig said the latest poll was another sign that "McBride continues to confound expectations. But he confounded expectations to get here.''
Craig said that for a well-known incumbent like Bush to come in under 50 percent "is usually considered a danger sign that usually means they have a fight on their hands.''
McBride called the results of the latest poll "astounding'' and said the governor was "nervous.''
Bush, campaigning in Orlando, said the survey result "doesn't surprise me at all'' because McBride had been expected to get a bounce in the polls after his primary victory.
"I'm surprised it's not closer,'' he said.