Crist leads Scott by 8 in new poll; voters unswayed by GOP jobs focus, attacks on Cristby George Bennett | January 30th, 2014
Democrat Charlie Crist holds an 8-point lead over Republican Gov. Rick Scott in a new Quinnipiac University poll of Florida voters — essentially the same margin Crist held in Quinnipiac’s last survey two months ago.
Crist holds a 46-to-38 percent lead over Scott in the poll of 1,565 registered voters, which has a 2.5 percent margin of error.
By a 54-to-38 percent margin, voters say Scott does not deserve a second term. Only 41 percent approve of the job he’s doing as governor, while 49 percent disapprove.
Scott has emphasized jobs as the state’s economy has improved and the GOP has spent months attacking Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Crist as an unprincipled flip-flopper. But voters say Crist would do a better job handling the economy by a 47-to-42 percent margin. And by a 44-to-36 percent margin, they rate Crist as more honest and trustworthy than Scott.
Crist, elected governor in 2006 as a Republican before switching to no party and then becoming a Democrat after he left office, is remembered fondly by voters. Asked to recall his governorship, 53 percent approve of the job he did and 36 percent disapprove.
The latest poll suggests a stalling of Scott’s momentum in recent months. Crist held a 16-point lead in a March 2013 Quinnipiac poll, but Scott narrowed the Democrat’s advantage to 7 points in Quinnipiac’s last poll in November.
About the only good news for Scott in the latest poll: If Democrat Nan Rich upsets Crist in the Democratic primary, Scott would defeat her by a 41-to-37 percent margin. That’s down from an 8-point Scott advantage over Rich in November.
The sample for the latest poll was 30 percent Democrat, 27 percent Republican, 35 percent independent and 7 percent other/don’t know. Quinnipiac asks respondents what party they consider themselves aligned with, contending that is a more accurate reflection of partisan sentiment than the actual registration on their voter cards. In actual statewide registrations, Democrats hold a 39-to-35 percent statewide advantage over the GOP, with 25 percent signed up with no party or minor parties.
The Quinnipiac poll compares to a recent survey by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling that found Crist holding only a 43-to-41 percent lead over Scott.