Democrats in the state are already spinning Chiles' withdrawal as a clear plus for their side. "He's in there for a reason, he has some issues he wants to talk about," Dem state Rep. Ron Saunders, a friend of Chiles, told the Miami Herald. "But it looks like all he would do is primarily draw votes away from Alex Sink, and knowing him, he didn't want to do that."
Speaking to TPMDC, a Democratic source in Florida cast Chiles's endorsement of Sink as a plus, but also one of many factors. "It takes one more variable out of the equation," the source said. "It obviously makes it easier for Alex to move forward and have a united group of supporters."
"It's always helpful," the source also said. "But I personally think with endorsements in the broadest sense, they're helpful, but there's some things that the candidates themselves have to do than just get the endorsement, to move those voters. Alex has done those things."
Meanwhile, Rick Scott said had this to say of Chiles' withdrawal: "This will be a contest which presents a clear choice between a conservative outsider with business experience and a specific plan to create 700,000 jobs, and another liberal Obamacrat who wants to raise taxes, cut Medicare, and supports Obama's failed stimulus. Anyone who doubted that Chiles would eventually drop out underestimates how desperately Obama liberals like Alex Sink want to do to Florida what they have done to America."
But as Public Policy Polling (D) noted, Chiles' supporters may have actually skewed conservative in some ways. In PPP's polling, pro-Chiles respondents said that they voted for John McCain in 2008 by a 62%-33% margin, and disapprove of President Obama by 69%-31% margin. Furthermore, they were reported as being 47% Republican, 30% Democratic and 23% independent.
However, this same group viewed Rick Scott unfavorably, by a whopping 60%-15% margin. And as a result, PPP's Tom Jensen wrote off the impact of Chiles' withdrawal.
Chiles was a landing spot for folks who didn't like Scott or the Democrats. With him out those folks are going to have to make a lesser of two evils choice- does it bother us more to vote for a guy we dislike or to vote for a Democrat? My guess is it ends up being a wash and having no real effect on the race.