Poll: Charlie Crist approval at 42%; Gov race tied
The bottom is falling out beneath Florida’s once hugely popular governor.
A new St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll finds only 42 percent of likely Florida voters think Charlie Crist is doing a good or excellent job as governor, by far the worst approval rating of Crist’s 34 months in office. Thirty-nine percent said he was doing a fair job and 16 percent poor.
Even most fellow Republicans don’t like the job he’s doing. That 51 percent of them rate Crist’s performance as fair or poor is particularly ominous for someone facing an aggressive U.S. Senate primary challenge from former state House Speaker Marco Rubio of Miami.
“After nearly three uneventful years in the people’s mansion in which unemployment has reached double-digits across the state and the real estate boom turned into a foreclosure nightmare, Charlie Crist has finally made something drop like a rock — his approval ratings,” said pollster Tom Eldon.
Still, Crist’s political troubles appear to be more about his own vulnerability than Rubio’s strength.
In the Senate race, the poll found 50 percent of Republicans backing Crist, 28 percent Rubio, and 22 percent undecided. Even little-known and 22 points behind, however, Rubio poses a real threat to the self-described “people’s governor” no longer appreciated so much by people who overwhelmingly see Florida headed in the wrong direction.
The race to succeed Crist as governor was a statistical tie, with Democratic Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink winning support from 38 percent of those surveyed and Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum winning 37 percent. One in four voters were undecided between McCollum and Sink, including half of independent voters surveyed.
“They’re the whole ball of wax,’’ pollster Kellyanne Conway said. “As go the independents, there goes the race.”
The telephone survey of 600 registered voters was conducted Oct. 25-28, for the St. Petersburg Times, Miami Herald and Bay News 9. The poll was done by Schroth, Eldon and Associates, whose clients primarily are Democrats, and the Polling Co., which mainly works with Republicans. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points, overall and slightly more than 6 percentage points for questions asked solely to Democrats or Republicans.