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Charlie Crist Takes 3-Point Lead in Latest Quinnipiac Poll, With Boost from Independents

| October 30, 2014

It's a small edge, but Charlie Crist has reason to smile. (Facebook and c

It’s a small edge, but Charlie Crist has reason to smile. (Facebook and © FlaglerLive)

Profiting from a sizable late boost from independent voters, Charlie Crist has taken a 3-point lead ahead of incumbent Gov. Rick Scott in the latest poll of likely voters by Quinnipiac University, generally the most reliable pollster tracking the Florida election. Crist is leading Scott 43 to 40 percent, Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie has 8 percent, and 9 percent are undecided.


Last week’s Quinnipiac poll had Crist and Scott tied at 42 percent, with Wyllie at a mere 3 percent. The new poll shows Crist gaining hugely from independent voters, usually the deciding block in any close, statewide Florida election, as independents now favor Crist Over Scott 47 percent to 29 percent, an 18-point advantage that overwhelms last week’s 3-point Crist lead in that category.

The numbers strongly suggest that as Scott blitzes the state with one last televised ad campaign, almost all of it negative, the tactic is turning off independent voters, who are typically less susceptible to ideologically tuned messages and more interested in substantive differences on which to make a choice. In that sense, Scott’s money advantage, inducing him to spend more on an ad campaign that may be alienating rather than seducing voters, could be working against his aims.

“Independent voters are often the difference in swing states like Florida, but the size of former Gov. Charlie Crist’s lead among them is truly remarkable,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

The numbers also suggest that where either candidate has suffered erosion from the Libertarian’s presence in the race, Scott has suffered slightly more. Without Wyllie in the race, Crist would be ahead by just one point. The late surge for Wyllie has also drawn mostly from Scott’s column.

Finally, the numbers are a reflection of voters’ opinions after the three debates between Crist and Scott, performances that clearly favored Crist even without the fan incident that backfired on the Scott campaign after its attempt to embarrass the Crist campaign.

Otherwise, men and women remain divided as they were last week, with men favoring Scott (47-37 and 9 percent for Wyllie) and women favoring Crist, but by a larger margin (49-35, with 6 percent for Wyllie), which again bodes ill for the Scott campaign: women vote in larger numbers.

Yet another worrisome sign for Scott: Among those who already have voted, Crist gets 40 percent to Scott’s 39 percent. Early and absentee voters tend to lean Republican. So if Crist is ahead at this point, his advantage is likely only to grow as Election Day voters cast their ballots.

“Crist, who always has sought to portray himself as a pragmatist rather than an ideologue, seems to have sold that message to independents who historically have favored problem-solvers who are less politicaI,” Brown said. “It may turn out that Crist’s change from Republican to independent to Democrat branded him as the kind of less political politician with the most important voter group. If Crist can win independents by 20 points on Election Day, he will be difficult to beat. It would be a reasonable hypothesis that the candidates’ debates made a big difference in this race. Scott was ahead going into them and behind after them. It could be a coincidence, but it would be a pretty large coincidence. Crist has long been thought of as an excellent campaigner and he used those skills to his advantage.”

Two fear factors for the Scott campaign: If Wyllie’s 8 percent decide to migrate in large numbers, Scott could–assuming a last-minute change of heart and trends–possibly benefit. And if the chunk of undecided voters decide to stick with their known entity, Scott could also benefit, with this caveat: Crist is not quite the unknown entity, having been governor until four years ago. Undecided voters could just as possibly choose what they once knew over what they’ve come to know.

The poll was conducted from Oct. 22 to 27, surveying 817 likely voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

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12 Responses for “Charlie Crist Takes 3-Point Lead in Latest Quinnipiac Poll, With Boost from Independents”

  1. confidential says:

    Great those NPA’s pushing for Charlie.
    Do it to clean up our Florida coast pollution and preserve our marine wild life, resolve our neighborhoods blight for lack of enforcement and waste of our taxes paid supposedly to serve us first and the need to bring Medicaid Federal Funds for the one’s that are jobless and can’t afford their medical.

    • Anonymous says:

      (Yes I admit it! as former Republican) and becoming NPA sixteen years ago, I find it to be the greatest expression of my civic duty to be not beholden to any party. “Government of the people by the people”

  2. confidential says:

    Yep, doesn’t matter partisan fanatics anymore, lets elect whoever affiliation official that will serve us better! No wonder our NPA’s registration is steadily growing! Electing more billionaires wont help! http://www.dailyfinance.com/2014/10/30/billionaires-double-since-financial-crisis/

  3. FloriDUH says:

    Ad usual, the welfare government entitlement grubbers are finally getting up off their couches and floating into the voting booths to cast their vote for “Charlie the Traitor” because they know ..MO MONEY for them is in their future.

  4. barbie says:

    I am sick and tired of reading these hateful canards about people on welfare being “entitlement grabbers”, lazy, etc. It’s just ugly and the people repeating it are too. Some of you seem to think that this country should be “every man for himself” and anyone who loses their jobs or faces catastrophic illness should just go somewhere and die. Shame on you for hating on other human beings, let alone American ones.

  5. Anonymous says:

    (Yes I admit it! as former Republican) and becoming NPA sixteen years ago, I find it to be the greatest expression of my civic duty to be not beholden to any party. “Government of the people by the people”

  6. TeddyBallGAme says:

    American election process in a nutshell: The Democrats nominate their candidate and the Republicans nominate their candidate, then the Independent voters decide who is elected. Indy’s wield electoral power far beyond their numbers.

  7. Retired FF says:

    Hey Barbie,
    You are right, the welfare system was put in place just like unemployment to help those that need it as a result of a loss of job or serious illness that kept them from working. The problem we have now in the US is that generation after generation of lazy, money sucking leaches on society are bleeding the money from our tax base. Those are the people that the Democrats are preaching to get out and vote. Only reason those people are moving off their couches and away from their drug induced way of life to vote is so they won’t loose their free ride. Face it as long as the Democrats are going to give these lazy poor excuse for human beings benefits they are going to get elected. I recall an instance where a minority person told me shortly after the first Obama election that she was promised by a Democratic campaign call that if she voted for Obama that he would pay her mortgage. If someone was going to pay my mortgage I sure would vote for them! The current Democratic way of thinking of taking away from the rich to give to the lazy just can’t be sustained. People need to wake up and realize that.

  8. Robert L. says:

    A non-partisan, rhetorical question for Crist supporters – the former Governor did change from a Republican to Independent to Democrat (add Conserative and Liberal if you want) all in a three-year period (all after losing elections). If he wins this election, which one will be governing? (No, this is not a Scott supporter comment, but Republicans know who they are voting for, do Democrats? And if a Democrat response is “anyone but Scott,” do not complain if/when Crist does not govern in a way you expected.)

  9. Gia says:

    Either one are not worth 5 cent.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Charlie Crist did change from a Republican to Independent to Democrat……..Want to peeve a Republican?….Remind them their Demi -God Ronald Regan was originally a Democrat and was a blaspheming Union President also.

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