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Despite Scott’s Policy and PR Assault, Crist Maintains 10-Point Lead in Latest Poll

| April 30, 2014

Gov. Rick Scott, left, is still not managing to dent Charlie Crist's popularity.

Gov. Rick Scott, left, is still not managing to dent Charlie Crist’s popularity.

Despite two months of high-profile policy initiatives designed to boost Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election campaign and sagging numbers against former Gov. Charlie Crist, the latest Quinnipiac University Poll shows Crist maintaining a healthy 10-point lead over the incumbent, a two-point improvement since late January, before the legislative session and Scott’s PR onslaught got under way.

Crist’s lead is especially pronounced among Independents, who give him a 14-point advantage in a state where independents have often been the deciding factor in statewide elections.

Floridians find Crist more compassionate than Scott and think the former governor’s switch from Republican to Democratic shows pragmatism more than it does opportunism—especially at a time and in a state where traditional Republicans have grown increasingly disenchanted with the party’s rightward tilt, under the sway of the tea party. The Scott campaigns relentless attempts to tarnish Crist by associating him with President Barack Obama and with Obamacare, also appears to have had little to no effect.

Crist, on the other hand, is drawing on a well of Floridians’ memories about his always-popular tenures as a senator, education commissioner and attorney general before his 2006 election to the governorship. In 2010, when re-election to the governorship would have been an easy prize, Crist opted to run for U.S. Senate instead, first running as a Republican then switching to independent and receiving just 30 percent of the vote, against Marco Rubio’s 49 percent.

While Crist’s honesty and trustworthiness is one of his few weak points against Scott (45 percent of Floridians find him honest and trustworthy, 43 percent do not), Floridians find Scott far less honest or trustworthy, with 51 percent rating him negatively on that score, and just 38 percent rating him positively.

“So far, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s television barrage apparently has had no impact on the race,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “The incumbent has not been able to reduce former Gov. Charlie Crist’s lead. In fact, voters see Crist’s party switch in a positive light and the incumbent’s effort to tie Crist’s support for Obamacare has not yet borne fruit.”

Scott’s negative numbers are hurting him in key categories: 46 percent of Floridians view him negatively, as opposed to 36 percent for Crist. Only 42 percent of Floridians approve of the way Scott has handled his job as governor, with 50 percent disapproving. That compares with a 52 percent approval rating for Crist, against 38 percent disapproval.

The Scott campaign has been placing particular emphasis on what it sees as a contrast between the two administrations—a contrast favoring Scott, his campaign claims, as jobs shrank during the Crist years but have grown during the Scott years. Floridians are not buying the narrative, choosing instead to see the Crist years as bearing the brunt of the national housing crash, and to see Crist himself as having navigated the state through the crash more ably than Crist has navigated the recovery.
Floridians also find Crist to have stronger leadership qualities than Scott.

“The difference may be simple,” Brown said. “Voters like Crist, whose strength always has been his ability to connect. Voters sometimes elect candidates they don’t like personally, but not that often.”

Just as he launched his PR assault before the legislative session, Scott paired the strategy with a rebranding of his personal image, adding numerous pictures of himself as a family man on his Facebook page, telling stories of his newborn grandchildren, showing himself in bright lights and in congenial poses. Floridians may be questioning the authenticity of the rebranding, however, in a way that they do not question Crist’s likability: throughout his tenure in government, Crist was known to be genuinely approachable and at ease with people in a way that Scott has not quite managed.

In other findings, Florida voters support same-sex marriage by a 56-39 percent margin, with significant support from Independents and Democrats, though Republicans remain opposed, 64-31. Every age group supports same-sex marriage except voters over 65 years old, who are divided with 45 percent in favor and 49 percent opposed.

Voters also say by a 55-41 percent margin that an illegal immigrant who attends high school in Florida should be eligible for the in-state tuition if the immigrant is accepted at a public college. Men, women and all age groups support the idea.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,413 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. The phone interviews were conducted From April 23 to 28.

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14 Responses for “Despite Scott’s Policy and PR Assault, Crist Maintains 10-Point Lead in Latest Poll”

  1. No Crispy Chris says:

    Like that’s surprising, with all the un-employed, welfare, food stamps, public housing, EBT card holding government DEPENDENTS in this state. I tread the day when the money runs out, and 20 million angry welfare collectors STOP getting their FREE MONEY !!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s a little early to tell what will happen. I predict that Republicans will try their best to make it as”inconvenient” as possible for voters not of their own choosing to vote. Luckily, that didn’t work during the last presidential election and I hope it will continue not to work. Conservatives tend to stick to their favored tactics in a very predictable fashion. Whenever I hear a rant about “welfare frauds” and “the unemployed”, and the “TAKERS”, I count to ten and remind myself that these poor souls probably have nothing better to do with their time (and their closed minds) than watch FOX news all day and listen to the likes of Rush Limbaugh. Whatever turns you on, I guess…

    • NortonSmitty says:

      And I’ll vote for the first son of a bitch that promises to stop giving FREE MONEY to the crooked banks, insurance companies and real estate swindlers who run Florida through their paid lap-poodles in Republican occupied Tallahassee. . And while that isn’t going to be Christ, he’s a hell of a lot closer than that Medicare thieving weasel Scott, so ol’ Charlies got my vote in his pocket!

      And a lot of other folks are waking up too according to this poll. We’ll see if they can remember the issues in November after the many millions of Citizens United Fat-Cat dollars hits town to brainwash them on the Boob Tube.

    • Max Awesomeness says:

      So, I take it your dislike of government dependents means that you’re giving up your social security for the better good?

    • Nancy N. says:

      There aren’t even 20 million people in the entire state.

      Only about 1.5 million people are on food stamps in Florida. Far less than that – less than 100k – receive cash benefits.

      Two-thirds of people receiving benefits in the state of Florida are either permanently disabled, under age 18, or senior citizens. Many of the other third receiving benefits are employees working minimum wage jobs that keep them so poor (hello, Walmart!) that they still qualify for benefits despite working full time.

      So which group do you suggest that we should throw out on the streets first and tell to get to work? The five year olds? Or the grandmas? Oooh, I know – how about the disabled and dying?

      Funny, when you call it “social security” and “Medicare” – it’s a sacrosanct benefit that is an “entitlement”. But when you give grandma food stamps so she doesn’t starve to death on her social security check, it’s a “handout”.

      Even with benefits, most recipients still aren’t eating sufficiently and many are relying on food pantries and don’t have stable housing.

      Frankly, it’s sad that you have such hatred for people less fortunate than you. I hope you never have to learn the lesson the hard way by becoming one of “them”.

  2. Marc says:

    Crist and Scott are 2 sides of the same coin: a bad penny. I will be voting for less government and more personal freedom with the Libertarian Party candidate, Adrian Willie.

  3. m&m says:

    We cannot allow that turncoat, Obama care lover and flip flopping Crist back in ANY office in Florda. Not even dog catcher.

  4. Flatsflyer says:

    Nobody likes the Crook, the Fraudster fooled people when he initially ran and used money to buy the election. Almost everything he has tried to do has been overturned by the Court Systems. This clown needs to pack his bags and head to Texas, Wisconsin or New Jersey where he can have sex with his other criminal Tea Bagging Governors.

  5. Charlie is a real person who has the courage to keep his own mind in charge of his actions . I rather be Scott free of our current plastic mold governor . Charlie I also changed my party ! I voted as a dem for you in 2006 .This year as a republican I shall
    again vote for you even though we switched parties in opposite directions . It is the PERSON who counts more than any party

  6. Mary Cannady says:

    I wonder how many of the 1413 registered voters are “unemployed, welfare, food stamps, public housing,…..DEPENDENTS in the state” were called for this poll?

  7. JoJo says:

    Yes, despite his spending Crist big time. If Scott doesn’t get more woman voters he’s doomed. Karma is a bitch! Losing 4 Appellate rulings doesn’t help Scott.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The Huffington Post reported a story today about how House Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee removed a key provision in a law that would protect foster children from becoming victims of the sex trade because it would have cost $12 million over 10 years not paid with budget cuts elsewhere… BUT these same House Republicans had no objections to the $310 BILLION over 10 years that it would cost to make expired tax cuts permanent to large corporations and businesses (including the now infamous “GE loophole), the costs of which would simply be ADDED ON TO OUR DEFICIT. Shame on those lazy foster kids…they are SUCH a DRAIN on us, unlike those ever-so-much-more deserving “job creators, many of whom are sending more and more of said jobs overseas, rather than keeping them right here to benefit the country that is paying for their exorbitant tax breaks. I think those of us who actually CAN think know darn well who the real “takers” are.

  9. Obama 2013 says:

    Maybe if those 1% crooks didn’t outsource all the american jobs starting in the 1980’s maybe Grandma and her kids would have had a good union job with a pension. At the least have a job that pays a living wage. I wonder what this country would be like right now if just our cars, tools, officeschool supplies and clothing was mostly made in the USA. RicH Scott is a cancer on this state just like the tea party. It is time to vote someone in that understands how to run a state, Charlie isn’t perfect but he at least tried to help Florida when the economy crashed. The government has handed Florida millions for the Sun Rail and to expand Medicare and Scott refused it. But I am sure him and his buddies what the Keystone pipeline. He has also wasted millions in drug testing welfare recipients to find out about .03% use drugs. He wife’s company appreciated the program because she tested everyone. Scott’s company cheated while he was the head of the company. He is a taker. Now it is time for us to take his job and send him and the tea party packing.

  10. confidential says:

    Charlie gets our vote and hope he starts doing something about the following;
    Florida is one of the highest unemployment and welfare recipient states because gears our taxes to benefit the Forbes listed families owners of whether tax built and sustained sports stadiums of very seasonal business, low job creation and employment and self serving families like the France’s Nascar and Aronson’s Cruise lines that employ mostly foreigners at slave wages and working conditions, but cost the Florida taxpayers billions in our ports infrastructure maintenance when their foreign flagged vessels and sales, are tax exempt.
    Also our taxes in billions invested improving reception of cargo containers in our ports like Jacksonville lately only promotes making easier to receive more imports that actually have taken our manufacturing jobs over greed and overseas.
    The GOP agenda has been on the works for the past 6 years and look at our economy no jobs creation just zero action, except when it comes to undermine women’s, workers, food stamps and unemployment insurance issues, while giving billions to the one percent.

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