Poll: Crist leads Scott in potential 2014 showdown

A new poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling shows Charlie Crist leading Gov. Rick Scott for governor by 12 percentage points in a hypothetical 2014 match-up.

The automated poll, which was conducted Sept. 27-29, shows Crist besting Scott 50 percent to 38 percent.

Scott is essentially tied in a hypothetical match-up with former Democratic state Sen. Nan Rich, leading Rich 37 percent to 36 percent.

Pollsters surveyed 579 Florida voters, and the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

The poll shows Crist leading Scott among independents 57 percent to 33 percent. Forty-three percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Crist, while 42 percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion.

Fifty-five percent disapprove of Scott's performance and 33 percent approve of it. By comparison, 46 percent approve of President Barack Obama's performance and 48 percent disapprove.

Scott to get Pro-Life Award

Gov. Rick Scott will address Florida Right to Life's Annual Pro-Life Awards Dinner at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate Oct. 18. The governor will receive the 2013 Pro-Life Champion Award.

"This year, Gov. Scott faced and challenged an abortion lobby that advocated, during a legislative hearing, infanticide for babies AFTER they had been born," said an email from former state Rep. Rachel Burgin, executive director of Florida Right to Life. Presumably she is referring to a bill requiring that doctors performing an abortion offer emergency medical care if the baby is somehow born alive, which passed both chambers with unanimous, bipartisan support.

Sheldon returning from D.C.

George Sheldon, former secretary of Florida's Department of Children and Families who went on to work for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is returning to Florida.

Sheldon is stepping down as acting assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families in Washington, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced.

Sheldon, a Democrat who was also a longtime aide and deputy attorney general under former Attorney General Bob Butterworth, has been rumored to be considering a challenge to Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2014.

Florida sues Georgia

Florida charged ahead Tuesday with a lawsuit against Georgia that accuses its northern neighbor of consuming too much freshwater from a river system that serves three Southeastern states.

The legal action filed directly with the U.S. Supreme Court is an escalation in a legal dispute lasting more than two decades.

The lawsuit is not a surprise since Gov. Rick Scott announced in August that the state was preparing one.

But the legal measure asks the high court to take some dramatic steps, including capping Georgia's overall water use at levels existing in 1992. Florida also wants a special master to enter a decree that would "equitably" divide the waters in the basin of the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint rivers.

"The situation is dire and the need for relief immediate," states Florida's lawsuit, which maintains Georgia is on pace to double its current consumption levels by 2040.

Scott decided to push ahead with the lawsuit in the wake of the near-collapse of the oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay and after federal officials declared a fishery disaster for oystermen on the Gulf Coast. Oysters need a mix of fresh and salt water in order to thrive.

Times/Herald staff writer Mary Ellen Klas contributed to this week's Buzz, which includes information from the Associated Press.

Poll: Crist leads Scott in potential 2014 showdown 10/01/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 7:55pm]

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