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

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A new poll shows that Florida voters aren’t pleased with either Republican Gov. Rick Scott or former Gov. Charlie Crist, who is trying to win his job back.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows that former Republican-turned-Democrat Crist has a slight lead over Scott — unless you add Libertarian Adrian Wyllie in the mix.

In a head-to-head matchup, Crist leads Scott 45 to 40 percent.

But when Wyllie was added to the poll, he received 9 percent support and drew more voters away from Crist than Scott, making the race a statistical tie.

Going inside the crosstabs of the poll, here are some instant takeaways.

1. There’s no way, just no way, that the turnout for this election looks like what Quinnipiac is suggesting — 28 percent Republican, 31 percent Democrat, 32 percent Independent and 9 percent Don’t Know/No Answer. Not in a non-presidential election cycle. That said, the three percent uptick in this poll from April’s of the Republican sample is one of the main reasons Crist’s lead has been halved.

2. I don’t believe this poll — or the Survey USA poll conducted at about the same time reflect — reflect any bump Crist may receive from naming Annette Taddeo his running mate. Not only is it  too soon to know if Crist will receive any bump, I genuinely don’t think there’s much bump to be had. Meanwhile, Crist’s lead among Hispanic voters is at 14 points, down from 18 in April.

3. Cristworld is thinking Scottworld doesn’t like this poll — and vice-versa. Crist’s camp is saying that Scott and his allies have spent nearly $20 million and all they have to show for it is a T-shirt that reads, “Still down five points.” Scott’s team believes this is all “sauce for the goose, Mr Saavik” (that’s a Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan reference) — meaning they think they can win a race to the bottom because of their resource advantage and the belief that support for Crist is even softer than is reflected in this poll.

3a. Best spin so far comes via Steve Schale, who has publicly feuded with the folks conducting the Q-poll. One of Schale’s pieces of wisdom this morning, “Q couldn’t poll a two person meeting at the library, but I’ll still take the news.”

4. The big winner in this poll, obviously, is Libertarian Adrian Wylie, who, at 9 percent in a three-way match-up, still has no shot at winning, but can play the role of spoiler. He can also make a strong argument that he should be included in any candidate debates.

4a. If Wylie is polling at 9 percent, expect to see Amendment 2 with a healthy number in subsequent Q-polling.

4b. The emergence of Wylie is a gift to the political reporters who have already grown bored with the mud-slinging between Crist and Scott. Coming soon to a newspaper near you is a story headlined, “Can a Libertarian win the Governor’s race?”

5. One set of numbers has not changed and I don’t know how they do change: Only 40% of Floridians think Scott deserves re-election; even at his Benghazi-lowest, Barack Obama was never lower than 44% in the generic re-elect question.

5a. Good news for Scott, he’s +5 over Crist in the “strong leader” department.

5b. Tweet from the Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo re Scott: “Not only is he basically tied w/Crist, Q-Poll shows Scott’s job-approve & fav index (-5%) are best ever. It’s working — sort of/slowly”

6. Why is Crist not in worse shape? My theory is that the Republican wave which keeps threatening to develop in other parts of the country just isn’t happening in Florida. The evidence: 65% of those polled here say that what they think of Barack Obama won’t play a role in how they vote for governor. This is a big, big deal because it really takes away one of the arguments Republicans thought would hurt Crist the most: his unbridled support for Obamacare.

7. You can ask Mac Stipanovich and Cory Tilley that Crist +5 is exactly what I predicted this poll would look like. My wife can tell you that I told her yesterday this Q-poll would be 45-40 for Charlie. That’s not where I think the race is or will end up, it’s just where I thought the Q-poll would have it based on their biases.  My prediction from January was that Crist would never trail in a Q-poll (even if he trailed in other polls). That prediction still has a shot at being right. In fact, I’ll make the argument that since Scott did not overtake Crist while he had the airwaves to himself, he never will, at least not in a Q-poll.

7a. This morning on Twitter, I made my first November prediction: Crist 48 percent, Scott 45 percent, Wylie, etc. 7 percent.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.