Instant analysis: Key takeaways from today’s Q-poll showing Crist up 8 over Scott

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A new, just-released Quinnipiac poll finds Democrat Charlie Crist leading Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott by 8 points, 46 percent to 38 percent. That’s fairly similar to the margins in Quinnipiac’s last poll of the race, when Crist led by 7.

Going inside the numbers of the Q-poll, here are some instant takeaways.

Good Lord did Crist needs these numbers or what? Imagine if this poll had been released and Scott was inside the margin of error or leading. It would have been Christmas come early at Republican Party headquarters. Instead, Crist can now say that despite losing his campaign manager … despite the GOP spending an estimated three million dollars on online and TV ads attack ads against him … despite the unemployment rate dropping like a rock … despite all of this, Crist still leads by a solid eight points. Assistant polling director Peter Brown sums it up nicely,  “At least for now, Scott’s comeback against … has stalled.” 

If Scott has, indeed, stalled, at what point does he get personally frustrated? I mean, the governor is obviously working very hard to turnaround the economy and on his campaign. It has to be frustrating for him to not see any political reward for his efforts.

What has to sting the most for Scott is this number: Just 38% of Florida voters think he deserves a second term. Ouch!

Actually, what may sting Scott more is that voters give Crist the edge on the economy and jobs. Even the most ardent Crist supporter would have trouble arguing that Crist was/is a whiz on economic issues or job creation. Scott, on the other hand, touts that #ItsWorking at every opportunity. Apparently, it’s not.

It’s doubtful Scott’s approval rating improve much over the next three months because the sausage making of the legislative session will get hashed out in the media.  The legislative session is about bills dying, debate, conflict, even confrontation. Those concepts don’t do much tom improve approval ratings. 

So why is Crist leading Scott? Bottom line: independent voters, women, and Hispanics. Crist has a 16-point lead among independent voters 48 percent to 32 percent. He also leads among women by 16 points (50 percent to 34 percent) and among Hispanic voters by 26 points (52 percent 26 percent.)

Deep-diving into the numbers, Crist leads 51 percent to 32 percent with households making less than $50,000 a year; 46 percent to 42 among those in the $50,000 to $100,000 range; and 47 percent to 44 percent for those making $100k and above.

The only demo Scott leads with is among those 65 years-old and up.

This poll reinforces the notion that this race will be unlike any other major race we’ve seen, not because of what it is, but because of what it isn’t. The “incredible shrinking” Crist campaign, as the Tampa Bay Times‘ Adam Smith foolishly described it, is maintaining its lead against a campaign with at least 19 communications staffers and more than $20 million raised. 

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.