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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Florida governor Rick Scott, a Republican, has all but erased Democratic challenger Charlie Crist’s huge lead, and now trails the former governor by a statistically insignificant 2 percent according to the latest Public Policy Polling poll of Florida’s 2014 gubernatorial race.

The poll finds Crist leading Scott 43 to 41 percent, within the poll’s plus-or-minus 4 percent margin of error. That represets a 10-point swing from PPP’s previous poll in September, which found Crist up 50 to 38 percent.

Although Scott is bouncing back in the polls, Floridians are still not particularly fond of the man who has spent much of his tenure as one of the least popular governors in America. Just 34 percent approve of Scott’s job performance, while 51 percent disapprove (15 percent are not sure).

Instead, Scott has boosted his numbers by rallying Republican support, and by reminding voters why they rejected Crist when he ran for Senate (first as a Republican, then as an Independent) in 2010.

The poll shows Scott leading Crist 80 to 14 percent among Republicans, up significantly from his 44 percent lead in September, and accounting for nearly all of Scott’s 10 percent gain over the past three months. Scott’s noticeably improved standing within his own party suggests that his decision to backtrack on his support for expanding Medicaid may be paying immediate political dividends (although it may also cost the state over $5 billion in the coming decade).

Additionally, Scott’s first round of negative ads attacking Crist appear to be having an impact: Just 36 percent of Floridians now have a favorable opinion of Crist, while 46 percent view him unfavorably. That’s down a net 11 percent from September, and given that Scott may spend up to $100 million throughout his re-election campaign, it’s a safe bet that more damaging attacks are on the way.

That Crist’s favorability has plummeted so quickly raises questions about whether Democrats are making a mistake by supporting the Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat, who was walloped twice by Senator Marco Rubio in 2010, and who has as much political baggage as anyone in the state. Those doubts haven’t filtered down to Florida Democrats, however. Crist leads former state Senate minority leader Nan Rich 58 to 16 percent in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Rich remains largely unknown by Floridians — just 9 percent view her favorably, 21 percent view her unfavorably, and 70 percent are not sure — but she would still give Scott a competitive race were she to win the Democratic nomination. Scott leads Rich in a hypothetical matchup 40 to 34 percent, with 25 percent not sure.

The PPP poll surveyed 591 Florida voters, including 243 Democratic primary voters, from January 16–21. The overall survey has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent, and the Democratic primary portion has a margin of error of +/- 6.3 percent.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • Sand_Cat

    You just can’t fix stupid.

    • docb

      The re-branding and outreach continue apace. The crooks buy their way in with lies and deceit!

  • Dominick Vila

    Never under estimate the naivete of the U.S. electorate. The fact that a man whose company (Columbia HCA) got the biggest fine for fraud in U.S. history was elected could have been attributed to ignorance. The fact that he may be re-elected after targeting the rights of ethnic minorities to vote, hampering an already dismal education system, and squandering millions of taxpayers money simply because he moved to the center-right a year ago when he realized that his re-election chances were nil, is beyond comprehension. What is happening in South Carolina, Florida, and other Southern and Bible Belt states is an example of the Tea Party’s ability to convince and manipulate a gullible electorate at will, and a precursor of things to come.
    We keep focusing on governance and facts, forgetting that, when it comes to politics, the only fact that matters is being elected.

    • sigrid28

      Is it possible that Rick Scott’s closet has some skeletons in it that might get the attention of Florida’s electorate, in the same way New Jerseyans are starting to see Christ Christie in a new light?

      • midway54

        The fraud mentioned by Mr. Vila did not bother the large supply of yahoos and dupes in Florida who gave us Rubio. I believe I read some months ago that in the investigation of the outrage, Scott invoked the Fifth Amendment.

        • daniel bostdorf

          The last refuge of a scoundrel is the 5th amendment and finding Jesus…

    • Gary Graves

      He wants to run for president, but he is not qualified like Christie.

    • JSquercia

      Let’s remember this is FLORIDA we are talking about .These are the people who found Kaysee Anthony NOT guilty and did the same for George Zimmerman .

    • daniel bostdorf

      Extremely well stated!

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    I would be willing to bet if Crist ran on his record as governor against Scott’s record, the Universe would look very different right now.

  • terry b

    Sigh! The crazies have taken over the republican party and now they have someone as terrible as this man trying to remain as governor of the state. Lets hope that sanity will prevail and the nation will get a decent person as the governor of Florida. In Wisconsin we need to get rid of the worst governor out state has ever had and we need Florida to join us in accomplishing something good by getting rid of these two current members of the right wing nutcases that permeate our government nation wise. With any luck, Texas will make a great trifecta by electing Wendy Davis as its governor.

    • RNPRN

      I hear ya. Don’t forget we have lying Ryan, whose only legislative accomplishment is to protect the rights of zygotes. But denies poor children food, housing and education.

      • terry b

        Yes and we have a known criminal as our governor in Wisconsin who also passed a law to force women to have a medical procedure that they don’t need or want. He just likes to make abortion more expensive like the true asshole that he is.

        • RNPRN

          Govenor vaginal probe just like McDonnel who just got indited for taking bribes.