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Crist Lead Over Scott Almost Erased in Latest Poll; Support for Gay Marriage and Pot Grows

| January 23, 2014

Charlie Crist may have fewer reasons to smile, though he was visiting what he termed 'the greatest Capitol press corps in the country' when this photo was taken last week. (Charlie Crist/Facebook)

Charlie Crist may have fewer reasons to smile, though he was visiting what he termed ‘the greatest Capitol press corps in the country’ when this photo was taken last week. (Charlie Crist/Facebook)

Just two months ago, Charlie Crist, the Democratic candidate for governor, was leading Gov. Rick Scott by seven points in a Quinnipiac poll. Last March, before Crist announced his candidacy, he led Scott by 16 points in a Quinnipiac poll, and by 12 points in a Public Policy Poll.

That’s history.

The latest Public Policy Poll–a liberal-leaning polling organization based in Raleigh, N.C.–has Crist leading Scott by an insignificant 43 to 41 percent, well inside the 4 percent margin of error. The race between the two front-runners has tightened even though Scott still gets dismal ratings for his job approval, with just 34 percent approving of his performance, and 51 percent disapproving. For an incumbent governor to have a majority of voters disapproving of his performance is usually an insurmountable hurdle for re-election.

And that’s in a poll whose respondents were 41 percent Democrats, 34 percent Republican and 24 percent Independent.

But the dynamics of the Crist-Scott race are different because of Crist’s past as a Republican, then as an Independent, and because of Scott’s willingness and ability to spend whatever it takes to win election–from his own treasury, his campaign’s or taxpayers’. In 2010, Scott spent $75 million of his own to beat Alex Sink despite his past as the CEO of a health care company that had to pay $1.7 billion in fines for fraud.

This year, Scott is planning on spending $100 million that he intends to raise through his Let’s Get To Work re-election committee. (Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who represents Flagler County and is a former Republican Party of Florida chairman, is Scott’s campaign chairman, though the position is largely ceremonial.)

The governor, his eyes on a $1 billion state surplus, has also been proposing a series of state initiatives that would combine large tax cuts with large spending sprees on tourism, infrastructure and the environment in hopes of gaining favor with voters. The proposals have been uncharacteristically liberal for their breadth and cost. But they may also have helped Scott blunt Crist’s appeal.

“Republican voters have really rallied around Rick Scott over the last three months,” Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said. “His consolidating support from the party base explains most of his gain relative to Charlie Crist since the last time we polled.”

Last year most voters saw Crist favorably. Not so this year. Now, just 36 percent of voters view him favorably, while 46 percent view him unfavorably, a result that can at least partially be attributed to a relentless campaign by the Republican Party to portray Crist as a flip-flopper, and to re-write history from when Crist was governing the state as a Republican. Back then of course, the same Republican Party celebrated Crist for his pragmatism, his immense popular appeal and his working relationship with the GOP-dominated Legislature. These days, the party is itself doing a flip of history by recasting those years as bleak and unemployment-ridden (Crist’s tenure coincided with the Great Recession).

The Public Policy Poll touched on numerous other issues.

Barack Obama’s job approval is at 44 percent, against 48 percent who disapprove, a slight improvement from a 40 percent approval low in November.

Sen. Bill Nelson’s approval rating is 40 percent, against 35 percent who disapprove. Sen. Marco Rubio’s approval is at 43 percent, but his disapproval is at 45 percent. The two senators’ approval rating is almost even with Floridians’ feelings about the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare: 40 percent approve, and 49 percent disapprove. Just 35 percent say that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has been successful so far, with 52 percent saying it’s been unsuccessful.

With a measure potentially making it to the ballot to legalize medical marijuana, the poll found 65 percent of respondents in favor and just 23 percent opposed. And 47 percent said same-sex marriage should be allowed, against 44 percent saying it shouldn’t be.

With Congress considering whether to continue or cut off federal unemployment benefits for workers whose state unemployment benefits
have ended, as in Florida, but cannot find a job, 67 percent of respondents said Congress should prolong benefits, 27 percent said it should cut them off. There’s movement nationally to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour. Almost two-thirds of Floridians (62 percent) support the idea, and 29 percent are opposed.

Only 21 percent of Floridians think guns should be allowed in movie theaters, a likely response to the shooting death of an unarmed man by a retired cop in a Tampa theater earlier this year, after the cop and the man had an argument.

Public Policy Polling surveyed 591 Floridians Jan. 16-21 through automated telephone interviews, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

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43 Responses for “Crist Lead Over Scott Almost Erased in Latest Poll; Support for Gay Marriage and Pot Grows”

  1. m&m says:

    Crist “For the people”.. Yeah right.. He’s a turncoat and does things ONLY to help himself .. This helps him avoid going out and getting a real honest job.. This guy is a loser..

    • Geezer says:

      You just described Rick Scott. The Medicare-Medicaid thief.

      • Genie says:

        @ Geezer – It’s my understanding that the administration picks up the tab for the Medicaid funding for the first three years, after which time that bill goes to the states to pay.

        Am I correct?

        If that is the case, I am on his side. Not only am I expected to pay INCREASED healthcare costs but also now the State Medicaid bill. WHERE ARE WE SUPPOSED TO GET ALL THIS MONEY? My supply is running low at the moment…

        • A.S.F. says:

          @Genie–I think what Geezer may be referring to is the hypocrisy of man whose company stole millions from medicare/Medicaid pontificating about how the government is wasting taxpayer dollars on healthcare reform. Apparently, it is a waste of public money to some (even though people ARE paying for their insurance to the extent that they can) to attempt to provide health coverage for Americans in order to safeguard our lives, improve our health through prevention and help those who become critically ill to avoid bankruptcy. Healthcare is the TOP area of increasingly escalating costs in our entire country–This was true BEFORE healthcare reform was passed and it is why we should have started doing something about it a long time ago. For Governor Scott to accuse ANYONE, or any other institution, of trying to steal from the taxpayer when it comes to healthcare is the pot calling the kettle black in a big, big way. By the way, Governor I-care-so-much-about-the-budget Scott seems to have no problem at all with how much it will cost the state of Florida to drug-test state employees, for no specific reason…But, then again, his wife’s company will benefit financially from that policy so…I guess THAT’S different.

          • Genie says:

            @ ASF – I wasn’t referring to Scott, I was referring to the ACA law on who is going to be paying these Medicaid bills. I already know the answer.

          • Genie says:

            @ ASF – What I was referring to is that after 3 years, WE, THE GOOD PEOPLE OF FLORIDUH, are going to be paying every Medicaid dollar in the state.

            Since most of those signing up for FREE healthcare are signing up under Medicaid, this is going to be a PROBLEM, since we cannot meet our Medicaid budget now.

            Scott understands this, Crist doesn’t.

        • Geezer says:

          What are you talking about?

          Read what “Cole Says” and “ASF” below this post.
          They will will bring you up to speed.
          These people are better commenters than me.
          I salute them.

    • Cole says:

      Better to be a loser than a criminal/thief. Charlie Crist didn’t plead the Fifth 75 times and take a golden parachute. Yeah, stay in denial. Not even America’s favorite bridge closer having secret meetings with a bunch of rich people in Palm Beach can help Scumbag Scott get reelected. That’s not how you win the governorship of any state, but it’s the only thing out of touch Republicans know how to do. I despise the kind of filth Republicans traffic in. At the end of the day, Florida hates Scumbag Scott more than the devil himself, and we’ll take any ticket off this crazy ride. Yep, I said it. What are you going to do, unconstitutionally drug test me? This poll doesn’t represent the reality on the ground. It’s not credible and it’s an anomaly. Just wait until the DNC starts pumping all that cash into the race and we start seeing ads asking what Scumbag Scott’s hiding. Yeah, it’s really quite alarming that this guy’s governor of anything instead of being in prison. All we have to say is the facts, what he did, and that’s the message that’ll move people to booting this bum out of office.

      • Lefty Wilbury says:

        I love you.

      • Genie says:

        @ Cole: “Charlie Crist didn’t plead the Fifth 75 times” and neither did Rick Scott. Everyone on this website loves to blame but nobody wants to accept any.

        The whole world is going to hell because of the Republicans….WRONG!

        The Junta in the White House is taking us over the cliff with MILLIONS no longer in the Jobs market. JOBS? WHAT ARE THOSE????? Blacks have been hit the hardest, but hey…..hate the Republicans.

        Next came Obamacare. More have lost their insurance under Obamacare than have gained it. But hey, HATE THE REPUBLICANS.

        Happy now?

  2. Mary Cannady says:

    A poll of only 591 voters out of almost 12 million registered voters? And you think this is worthy of an article?

    • FlaglerLive says:

      The same argument can be made about any poll from Rasmussen to Gallup to Quinnipiac. But is the poll scientific, representative and with a reasonable margin of error? Yes to all three. It’s not the oracle of Delphi. On the other hand, the oracle wouldn’t be news.

  3. fruitcake says:

    We are not looking for a fair weather pretty boy Governor…we want to know he has balanced the budget plus saved us tax taxers some money ( what a concept) its all about saving money and being a reliable custodian of the tax payers tax dollars… You get what you vote for…a bald guy who cares about your tax dollars or a pretty boy who tells you whatever you want to hear?

  4. Reaganomicon says:

    My vote’s for Crist.

  5. karma says:

    Scott should be narrowing the gap in the polls. He has done a lot of good things in this state. Unemployment at 6.7% compared to let’s say, NY (Conservatives not Welcome) at 7.7%
    CNBC says that Florida ranks 6th in the best fiscal condition to lets say, CA at number 46. Rick Scott has done a good job bring business to this state and had to make some unpopular decision on the way.
    Any progress updates on the California train Florida gave stimulus money up for? I am sure it must be done by now and Californians are enjoying the sights and sounds at Florida’s expense.

    • Pogo says:

      CNBC. Oh yeah, the network of Rick Santelli, et al. Colonel Sanders explains why fried chicken is all you need for a healthy diet. Thanks.

      Speaking of karma and California, it reminds me of old Howard Jarvis – and the waves of destructive stupidity he started – that continue to destroy to this day. Very sad.

  6. Out of Curiosity says:

    It seems as if I find myself increasingly voting for the candidate I dislike the least….

  7. confidential says:

    What business he (Rick) brought to Florida..? Look at our pathetic unemployment rates and to make it worst they do not pay the unemployment insurance to those fired form their jobs after wasting 53 millions in that fraudulent unemployment web site!
    We need Charlie Christ in Florida!

  8. confidential says:

    Can anyone still believe that when in 2014 voters will get out and vote in numbers never seeing before they will vote again for those extreme Tea Party candidates again..?

  9. Mary Cannady says:

    A scientific poll? If a scientist used this type of data he would be laughed out of town. But when it comes to human nature the polls are usually right and persuasive. Strange how only last year Scott was considered one of the least liked governors in the country. I wonder why the turn around? M-m-m, that’s a no brainer.

  10. Aynne McAvoy says:

    If it was election day and I had to choose? Charlie would take it by a landslide.

  11. Reaganomicon says:

    It should also be pointed out that saying 43%-41% is a lead for Crist really misrepresents what the numbers mean. The 4% margin of error means that with about 68% certainty, the numbers could be anywhere from 47% to 39% for Crist, or 45% to 37% for Skeletor. Since the two numbers overlap, there is no lead or there could be, it’s impossible to say with any confidence at all.

  12. snapperhead says:

    19 million people and this is the best contender this state can come up with…Charlie Crist? My bad..almost forgot this is Floriduh.

  13. Mike says:

    Are we seriously going to make the same mistake by voting in Scott TWICE??? Can this state seriously be this dumb?!?!?….God…

  14. A.S.F. says:

    I know that a lot of people don’t trust Mr. Crist but it seems foolish to court a known disaster like Scott out of spite or suspicion. I wish a more viable candidate would enter the field–someone who is not carrying so much old baggage with him or her.

    • Reaganomicon says:

      That, and the turncoat/traitor nonsense that people spew when mentioning Crist is nonsense. If the political party I was affiliated with decided to support causes that not only I didn’t support but thought were irresponsible or immoral, I would jump ship. Crist jumped ship to a party that best fit his ideals, which in politics is usually considered suicide, and he knew that. If anything, that says that he has some degree of character which is rare for a politician at his level.

      And even then he’s roughly neck and neck with skeletor.

      • Genie says:

        @ Reaganomicon -“Crist jumped ship to a party that best fit his ideals, which in politics is usually considered suicide, and he knew that.”

        Charlie Crist knew he couldn’t be elected DOG CATCHER without changing parties. That’s opportunism, not character.

        Morgan and Morgan, FOR the people……Yeah, RIGHT.

  15. Marc says:

    You don’t have to choose between 2 candidates that really resemble each other. Adrian Wyllie is also running on the Libertarian Party ticket. Check him out.

  16. barbie says:

    Anyone who votes for Rick Scott is dooming this state to four more years of NOTHING. And that will be enough to shatter its social fabric completely. We need a governor who will do something. ANYTHING.

    You better think long and hard before you vote for that felon. He means all of us harm. ALL OF US. Including those of you who would cut your own economic throats rather than “vote for a librul”. Especially those of you who lean right. He laughs at you for even supporting him. He thinks his money can buy you and you just step right up and let him. .

    I don’t particularly care who y’all vote FOR, just that you don’t vote for Rick Scott. He’s out to undermine this state, remove protections of the seashores and the Gulf of Mexico and he’s going to do away with unemployment insurance altogether if he gets his way.

  17. Genie says:

    At the naysayers here —

    Under Charlie Crist Florida’s tax burden got worse and salaries dropped


    Rick Scott’s Team Trumpets Study Giving Florida’s Tax Climate High Marks

  18. Mary Cannady says:

    Mike, if this scientific poll is right, it looks like people will vote for him twice. The description of insanity is doing things over and over again and expecting different results. (not saying anyone on here is insane).

  19. confidential says:

    Genie … Rick Scott (a la now Christie in NJ) was the head of Columbia HCA that defrauded Medicare and had to pay the highest fine ever over 1.7 billion and he lied and lied and got Scott free by the grace of the Bush administration help to cover up. This is the way Scottie made his millions in comparison Charlie is a honest man! By defrauding Medicare he made the 75 million he spent in his Florida election!

  20. karma says:

    Here is few companies coming to FL: Office Max HQ to Boca Raton…. GE to Clearwater… Bristol Myers to Tampa.. Amazon to Tampa area.
    UPDATE: FL unemployment rate 6.2%
    But lets hate Scott.

    • Pogo says:

      Bless them little cannibal’s hearts! And Tricky Ricky too! They came all the way to Floriduh to shake down local govamitts (and maybe grease some palms – we does have a lot of palm trees – don’t we?) and bust the union in the place they’re leaving. Done all that with only a carpetbag in their claws – it brings a tear to the eye. The last one was the best. The HTML Wallyworld is coming! Google warehouse jobs, pay, and working conditions for them. Hallelujah!

      Momma used to cry over the way Dixie was treated by them damn Yankees. She didn’t know they came here thinking the had found another door in the third world.

  21. ted bundy says:

    ah, florida, home to so many morons..

  22. confidential says:

    @Karma…”they are coming” you said it! Not here yet! Maybe if and after Scott would win…they will cancel ETA? I will sure follow up these leads 18 months from now.
    Same happened in Flagler County several companies coming, relocating or saving supposedly or creating local jobs… on the taxpayers dime a a la Palm Coast Data, Cakes Across our pockets, Hose down our pockets, Ginn stick it …oversize hangar and Super No show Walmart! Our elected ones here laid down our hard earned tax dollars welcome red carpet over a bluff.
    Please, many of us tax payers may have been born at night …but not last night!
    Also unemployment is down in Florida likewise nation wide because many unemployed have fallen off the actively looking and unemployed list or like in the case of Flagler County have moved away looking for jobs.

  23. Genie says:

    WOW! Did anyone happen to catch the latest Morgan and Morgan commercial? (Crist’s firm).

    I paraphrase here: “Do you know someone who is or has committed fraud? If so, contact Morgan and Morgan and we’ll get you a reward!”

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