A new Public Policy Poll of Florida’s 2014 gubernatorial race shows Charlie Crist leading Rick Scott by twelve points, with twelve percent of respondents saying they are undecided. Here are some instant key takeaways.
1. This is the first poll conducted since Alex Sink announced she will not run for governor. That decision has yet to seep into the polling results, but what it does do is make the narrative cleaner for Crist. All of the headlines topping stories about this poll will essentially read ‘Crist leads Scott’ not ‘Crist, Sink lead Scott.’ That’s an important, albeit subtle win for Crist.
2. Remarkably, former Republican Charlie Crist is more popular with Democrats than liberal stalwart Nan Rich. Among Florida Democrats, Crist holds a 58% favorable/24% unfavorable rating, while Rich holds a 11% favorable/22% unfavorable rating with 67% of respondents unsure of her.
3. One of the keys to a Crist win in 2014 will be for him to pull 15% to 20% of the Republican vote. That’s what he’s pulling here with 17% of those who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 backing Crist. Scott receives only 8% of Barack Obama voters (Don’t you want to meet the voter who supported Obama in 2012 and Scott in 2014?)
4. One of the false assumptions is that Rick Scott’s approval rating is somewhere in the low ’40s. This narrative began when a Quinnipiac poll in June showed the Republican governor’s job approval rating had climbed to 43 percent, with 44 percent viewing his job performance poorly. That poll should have been dismissed as an outlier, or at least a temporary blip. Instead, it reinforced the false narrative that Scott was in a better place than he actually was. Scott pollster Tony Fabrizio has been pushing this concept all over the place, making the argument that ‘since Scott is at 43%, a $100 million in advertising will put him over the top.’ That’s just not true. Scott is still mired in the low 30’s and will have to spend his first $100 million getting to the low 40’s.
5. Look for A LOT of pushback from Republicans to this poll because of what PPP did in a recent recall election in Colorado. PPP was forced to admit that it did not release a poll showing a Colorado lawmaker being recalled by a wide margin, saying the firm did not believe the results.