(CNN) – Less than a month before Florida's primaries, a new poll suggests the so-called "outside" candidates lead in the two competitive contests for senator and governor.
According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday, billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene leads four-term Rep. Kendrick Meek 33 percent to 23 percent among likely Democratic primary voters in the Senate battle, with former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre at four percent. But the poll indicates 35 percent are undecided and more than half of those who say they prefer a candidate also say they might change their mind before the August 24 primary.
Last month Greene, who jumped into the race earlier this year, trailed Meek by two points in Quinnipiac polling.
The primary battle between the two candidates has turned increasingly bitter this summer, with both campaigns running negative television commercials. And Meek now tells reporters that he may not support Greene if his opponent wins the Democratic nomination.
The primary winner will face off against former Florida House speaker Marco Rubio, the likely Republican nominee, and Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who is now running for the Senate as an independent candidate after dropping out of a battle with Rubio for the GOP nomination. Most recent polls indicate that Crist has a narrow lead over Rubio, with either Meek or Green a distant third.
In the Republican gubernatorial contest, the poll indicates business man Rick Scott leading Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum 43 to 32 percent among likely GOP primary voters, with more than one in five undecided. Forty-three percent of those who say they are backing one of the candidates say they may change their mind. Scott, who is independently wealthy, is a former health care executive who has never held public office. McCollum served in House for two decades before making two unsuccessful bids for the Senate in 2000 and 2004.
The winner of the GOP gubernatorial primary will face off in November against Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the likely Democratic party nominee, and independent candidate Bud Chiles, the son of a former Democratic governor.
"If there was any doubt that enough money can make a political unknown into a front-runner, the Democratic Senate primary and the Republican primary for governor should lay them to rest," says Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Both Greene and Scott have come from nowhere to hold double-digit leads with just a little more than three weeks until the voting."
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted July 22-27, with 760 likely GOP primary voters and 782 likely Democratic primary voters in Florida questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for Democrats is 3.5 percentage points and 3.6 percentage points for Republicans.