Saturday, May 26, 2018
Politics

New poll on Florida governor's race: Charlie Crist 46%, Rick Scott 38%

The central message of Gov. Rick Scott's re-election campaign — that he's the one best suited to keep improving Florida's economy — so far isn't convincing most Floridians, a new poll shows.

Despite the governor and state GOP every day pounding home the message that his policies are revving up the state's economy that tanked under Gov. Charlie Crist, a narrow majority of Florida voters, 47 percent to 42 percent, say likely Democratic nominee Crist would do a better job handling jobs and the economy than Scott.

Overall, 46 percent of those surveyed in the Quinnipiac University poll said they would vote for Crist today, and 38 percent said Scott. Fiftyfour percent — including nearly 1 in 4 Republicans — said Scott does not deserve a second term, and 38 percent said he deserves re-election.

The Jan. 22-27 survey of 1,565 registered voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percent.

"Almost a third of voters say the economy/jobs is the most important issue in the governor's race," said Peter Brown, "Most voters are satisfied with the way things are going in the state and more are optimistic than pessimistic about the future, but at this point Gov. Scott isn't getting any credit for that good feeling."

The race is sure to tighten over the next nine months, especially when Republicans start spending tens of millions of dollars depicting Crist as unfit to govern.

Other recent polls show a closer race. An automated Public Policy Polling survey in mid-January showed Crist leading Scott, 43 percent to 41 percent — a 10-point gain for Scott since PPP's last poll. A poll by the Democratic firm Hamilton Polls around the same time showed Crist ahead, 49 percent to 44 percent, while one by Scott's pollster, showed Crist ahead 49 percent to 45.

Scott's allies acknowledge the former health care executive will never exude the warmth and personal appeal of Republican-turned-Democrat Crist. But they are banking on the improving economy and an aggressively negative campaign against Crist winning the governor a second term. Crist formally entered the race in November, but polls taken earlier in the year showed him with a double digit lead.

A web ad released this week by the Florida Republican Party encapsulated their framing of "slick politician, lousy governor" Charlie Crist.

"The numbers tell the story: Florida's unemployment tripled — second highest unemployment jump in America. Eight hundred thousand jobs gone, property values down, bankruptcies up. More foreclosures than any state," a narrator intones. "Which governor took Florida to the bottom? Charlie Crist. What's worse, he didn't stay to fix the mess. He ran away, tried to go to Washington, instead."

Crist has repeatedly scoffed at the notion that voters would blame him for a global meltdown, and this latest poll suggests he is correct. Scott is falling short on his signature issue, the economy.

Running as a Democrat, Crist won't have the vast resources behind him that he used to enjoy as a Republican candidate, and some Democrats have been quietly grumbling that Crist has been slow to build a viable campaign beyond hiring out-of-town consultants.

After quickly parting ways with one campaign manager, Crist is poised to hire a new one: Omar Khan, a well-regarded veteran of the Barack Obama campaigns as well as Florida politics. The campaign has not finalized a start date for Khan, who now works as the White House's director of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations at the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. He also was national associate political director for the 2012 Obama campaign.

"Of all the political people I've run into, he's absolutely one of the most talented," said former Florida Democratic Party spokesman Scott Maddox. "I could not think of a better choice for Charlie."

The Quinnipiac poll found that 53 percent of those surveyed approved of the job Charlie Crist did as governor and 36 percent disapproved. Forty percent of Republicans approved of Crist's performance, 64 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independent voters.

Forty-one percent approved of Rick Scott's performance, and 49 percent disapproved.

Adam C. Smith can be reached at [email protected].

Comments
More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

WASHINGTON — A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the Supreme Court’s highly anticipated decision in the case of a Colorado baker who would not create a wedding cake for a s...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Carlton: Sometimes taxpayers pay for not doing the right thing

Carlton: Sometimes taxpayers pay for not doing the right thing

I may have cracked the code. Found a way to sell doing the right thing. Discovered a method of persuasion in certain matters of fairness, conscience and the greater good.Like giving our fellow Americans a second chance.When morality-based arguments d...
Published: 05/26/18
North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

PUNGGYE-RI, North Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made good on his promise to demolish his country’s nuclear test site, which was formally closed in a series of huge explosions Thursday as a group of foreign journalists looked on. The explosi...
Published: 05/24/18
Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules

Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules

President Donald Trump’s decision to block his Twitter followers for their political views is a violation of the First Amendment, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, saying that Trump’s effort to silence his critics is not permissible under the U.S. Con...
Published: 05/23/18
All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

TAMPA — All those public watch parties during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s postseason run? And how about the rally at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park with the big white Lightning logo spray-painted on the grass? You need police to prote...
Published: 05/23/18
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Published: 05/22/18
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18