Instant analysis: Key takeaways from today’s Q-poll of Florida’s gubernatorial race

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A new poll shows that Florida’s gubernatorial race remains neck-and-neck with only five days left before Election Day.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows that former Republican-turned-Democrat Crist has a slight lead over Governor Rick Scott, 43 to 40 percent. Crist’s lead is based, in part, with his strength among Independent voters. Crist is winning this cohort 47 – 29 percent.

We will have a SPB Salt Shaker analysis of the poll later today, but here are some instant takeaways in the meantime.

1. The partisan ID matrix behind this poll is not as fantastical as previous Q-polls (remember the +3 Democratic sample Quinnipiac used in July?), but it’s still not lining up with what we are seeing in early and absentee voting. Today’s Q-poll’s partisan ID breakdown is 33 percent Republican, 31 percent Democrat, 27 percent Independent. In EAV, it’s currently 45% Republican, 38 percent Democrat, 17 percent Independent.

2. As Marc Caputo likes to say, it’s ain’t the toplines, it’s the trend and the wind is clearly blowing in Crist’s direction. Consider this: there has to have been eight figures worth of negative TV ads thrown at Crist since the last Q-poll on October 22, yet, Crist’s favorability has improved from 42 percent to 45 percent. (P.S. With over $100 million spent on Florida’s gubernatorial campaign, how can any voter, even if it’s just five percent, say they haven’t heard enough about Crist or Scott to form an impression?)

3. Why Crist is winning. Independents, clearly. But also because of the gender gap. Crist has a 14-point lead over Scott among women.

4. The final Quinnipiac poll of the 2010 gubernatorial race had Alex Sink leading Rick Scott by a point.

5. It’s with that stat in mind that I offer this: What a tremendous disappointment it may be for Charlie Crist’s supporters Tuesday if he loses despite surging slightly ahead of Scott in the final round of polling. There is going to be a lot of post-election discussion about polling expectations vs. returned ballot reality.

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.