Former Gov. Charlie Crist, now running as a Democrat, leads Republican Gov. Rick Scott 46 – 38 percent in this year’s governor’s race and tops the incumbent on almost every measure, including handling the economy and jobs, listed by voters as the most important issues in the race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
Scott started behind Crist 50 – 34 percent in a March 20 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University and narrowed the gap to 47 – 40 percent in a November 21 survey.
Independent voters back Crist 48 – 32 percent. There is a small gender gap as women go Democratic 50 – 34 percent while men are divided with 43 percent for Crist and 42 percent for Scott. Republicans go 79 – 12 percent for Scott, while Democrats back Crist 81 – 6 percent.
Scott leads 46 – 39 percent among white voters, while Crist leads 76 – 10 percent among black voters and 52 – 26 percent among Hispanic voters.
Scott tops Nan Rich 41 – 37 percent.
The incumbent gets a negative 41 – 49 percent job approval rating, his lowest score in almost a year, and voters say 54 – 38 percent he does not deserve to be reelected.
Florida voters approve 53 – 36 percent of the job Crist did as governor.
“At least for now, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s comeback against his major Democratic challenger, former Gov. Charlie Crist, has stalled after considerably narrowing the Crist lead in 2013. And on several other measurements, Crist gets higher grades from the Florida electorate” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
“The best number in this poll for Crist – and the biggest problem for Scott – is that a majority of Florida voters say the current governor does not deserve a second term in Tallahassee. Voters also give Crist a higher job approval for when he ran the state than any approval rating Scott has received in his three years on the job,” Brown added.
“Almost a third of voters say the economy/jobs is the most important issue in the governor’s race. Most voters are satisfied with the way things are going in the state and more are optimistic than pessimistic about the future, but at this point Gov. Scott isn’t getting any credit for that good feeling.”
For 29 percent of Florida voters, the economy/jobs is the most important issue in this year’s governor’s race, with 9 percent listing education, 8 percent listing health care and 3 percent listing taxes.
By a narrow 47 – 42 percent, voters say Crist would do a better job on the economy/jobs. The Democrat leads on other measures, including:
— 49 – 36 percent that Crist would better protect the middle class;
— 48 – 36 percent on handling health care;
— 49 – 35 percent on education;
— 44 – 36 percent that Crist is more honest and trustworthy.
Asked who is a strong leader, voters are split 43 – 43 percent. The Republican gets a negative 38 – 45 percent favorability rating, compared to Crist’s positive 44 – 35 percent score. For Rich, 86 percent don’t know enough to form an opinion.