Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics

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

Former Gov. Charlie Crist announced in November that he would run for governor as a Democrat.
Published Jan. 31, 2014

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 asmith@tampabay.com.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Protesters gathered outside the federal courthouse in Tallahassee on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, while a federal judge heard arguments for an against the the Legislature's bill implementing Amendment 4. LAWRENCE MOWER  |  Lawrence Mower
    It’s unclear how state and county officials plan on complying with the judge’s order, however. The “poll tax” issued wasn’t addressed, either.
  2. The Florida Capitol. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times] SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The job entails being a part-time lobbyist, part-time expert on the Florida Sunshine Law.
  3. Florida K-12 Chancellor Jacob Oliva presents the state's second draft of academic standards revisions during an Oct. 17, 2017, session at Jefferson High School in Tampa. Gov. Ron DeSantis called for the effort in an executive order to remove the Common Core from Florida schools. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times staff
    ‘Our third draft will look different from our second,’ the chancellor explains.
  4. Igor Fruman, hugs Florida Governor elect Ron DeSantis, right, as Lev Parnas looks on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 in Orlando at the watch party for DeSantis. Fruman and Parnas were arrested last week on campaign finance violations. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    Florida’s governor has shrugged off past donor controversies. This time, there were photos. Now it’s not going away.
  5. The sun sets over a slab which once served as a foundation for a home on Mexico Beach in May. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Area leaders fear lower population numbers will lead to reduced federal funding and political representation.
  6. Senador de Florida, Rick Scott.  Foto: AP
    “The FBI has failed to give me or these families an acceptable answer, but I’m not going to allow that,” Scott said, adding that the FBI didn’t share pertinent information on shootings at Pulse, the...
  7. Courtney Wild, 30, was a victim of serial sexual offender Jeffrey Epstein beginning at the age of 14. Epstein paid Wild, and many other underage girls, to give him massages, often having them undress and perform sexual acts. Epstein also used the girls as recruiters, paying them to bring him other underage girls. Courtesy of Royal Caribbean
    Courtney Wild’s relentless quest for justice has led to a bipartisan push for sweeping reforms.
  8. Scott Israel, former Broward County Sheriff speaks during a news conference on Sept. 25, in Davie. A Florida Senate official is recommending that the sheriff, suspended over his handling of shootings at a Parkland high school and the Fort Lauderdale airport, should be reinstated. BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP
    Naples lawyer Dudley Goodlette was threatened shortly after he made his recommendation last month.
  9. Rep. Jamie Grant, R- Tampa and Senator Jeff Brandes, R- St. Petersburg listen to Amendment 4 debate in the Florida Senate on Thursday. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times] SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    “I think some of the points of the judge were well-made," Sen. Jeff Brandes said.
  10. Tiffany Carr — shown during a 2004 visit to a Hollywood nail salon, where she spoke on domestic violence — did not respond this past week to requests from the Miami Herald to address her $761,560 annual salary. She is head of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. [Bob Eighmie Miami Herald file photo]
    The Florida Department of Children and Families started a review of a domestic violence nonprofit’s finances last summer after it was reported that its CEO Tiffany Carr was paid $761,000. The state...
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement