MIAMI, May 12 (UPI) -- Analysts say Sen. Bob Graham's strength for his bid for the presidency is centered in Florida, the nation's biggest swing state, but a new poll doesn't show it.
A telephone survey of 600 registered voters Florida released Monday shows the Democratic senator trailing President Bush by nine percentage points, 52-43. Five percent of the voters were undecided.
Graham is undefeated in five statewide elections for governor and senator, but the president's popularity appears to be too much at the moment for him to win the state's 27 electoral votes.
The poll was conducted May 6-8 for The Miami Herald, The St. Petersburg Times and The Palm Beach Post by Schroth and Associates and the Polling Co. Schroth's political clients are Democrats, and the Polling Co. has mostly Republicans for clients.
"The idea that Bob Graham is 9 points behind in his home state tells me that his electability argument will need some bolstering," said pollster Rob Schroth.
One of Graham's campaign slogans is that he is from "the electable wing of the Democratic party."
"Bob Graham still needs the voters in Florida to associate those three magic words in politics with his name: He can win," pollster Kellyanne Conway said. "It doesn't seem to me that an overwhelming number of voters in this poll believe he can win."
Graham, however, held a big lead over the eight other announced candidates for the Democratic nomination. He drew 54 percent to 13 percent for former vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, 8 percent for Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri with the other six Democrats barely registering.
Analysts continue to agree that Florida will be an important battleground in the general election -- a year and a half away -- because it decided the 2000 election by 537 votes after a five-week legal hassle.
They also cite a volatile set of voting blocs from suburban mothers to Hispanics to seniors to strong-minded independents.
The survey released Monday had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 points.