Latest Q-poll of Fla. gov’s race: Charlie Crist 45%, Rick Scott 40%

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Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott trails former Gov. Charlie Crist, running as a Democrat, by a narrow 45 – 40 percent margin in a two-way race. When Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie is added to the mix, the race is too close to call, with 39 percent for Crist, 37 percent for Scott and 9 percent for Wyllie, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 48 – 38 percent Crist lead in a head-to-head matchup without Wyllie in an April 30 survey by Quinnipiac.

Today, Scott leads former State Sen. Nan Rich 41 – 34 percent in a two-way race.

Wyllie gets his strongest support from independent voters who back Crist over Scott 45 – 38 percent in a two-way matchup, but split with 36 percent for Crist and 34 percent for Scott, with 12 percent for Wyllie, in the three-way race.

Republicans back Scott 79 – 12 percent in the two-way, and 74 – 9 percent, with 5 percent for Wyllie, in the three-way. Democrats go from 78 – 10 percent for Crist in the two- way to 73 – 9 percent, with 6 percent for Wyllie.

Florida voters give Scott a negative 43 – 48 percent approval rating, one of his best scores in almost four years in office, and a negative 40 – 45 percent favorability rating.

Crist gets a split rating, 40 percent favorable and 42 percent unfavorable.

“The campaign to be Florida’s next governor tightens slightly and takes on a new dimension with a third candidate in the running,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Libertarian Adrian Wyllie is not, at this point, a serious contender to win the governorship. But he may have a great deal to say about who does win.”

“Virtually no one knows much about Wyllie, but there are a lot of Floridians who aren’t  keen on either of the major party candidates, Gov. Rick Scott or former Gov. Charlie Christ,” Brown added.

Gov. Scott does not deserve to be reelected, Florida voters say 51 – 40 percent.

Both candidates get low grades for character: Voters say 51 – 40 percent that Scott is not honest and trustworthy, and say 48 – 39 percent that Crist is not honest and trustworthy; Scott doesn’t care about their needs and problems, voters say 52 – 41 percent, and Crist doesn’t care, voters say by a slim 47 – 44 percent; Scott has strong leadership qualities, voters say 54 – 38 percent, compared to 49 – 43 percent for Crist.

Florida voters say 48 – 36 percent that Crist is more compassionate than Scott. There is only a small gender gap on this question.

Voters are divided on Crist’s party change, from Republican to independent to Democrat, as 47 percent say it’s a positive thing and 45 percent say it’s negative, compared to a 52 – 40 percent positive score April 30.

“Scott and Crist have been saturating the airwaves with negative ads about each other. An old campaign maxim holds that you can’t throw mud without getting dirty yourself and that seems to be what’s happening here,” Brown said. “Because Wyllie is so unknown and presumably unable to compete in the air war at this point, how he does may be a function of how unhappy voters are with the major party choices.”

From July 17 – 21, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,251 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.

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.