Rasmussen poll: Rick Scott 47%, Charlie Crist 47%

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“Fangate” jokes aside, Florida’s gubernatorial race remains a dead heat in the home stretch.

A new Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of likely Florida Voters finds current Republican Governor Rick Scott and former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, now a Democrat, each picking up 47% of the vote. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, while four percent (4%) remain undecided.

Seventy-six percent (76%) of Florida voters are certain of whom they are going to vote for, but 24% say they could still change their mind between now and Election Day. Scott has a slight 51% to 49% edge among those who are certain of their vote, but Crist leads 41% to 32% among those who might change their minds.

Among the 87% of voters who are certain they will vote in this year’s election, it’s Scott 48%, Crist 47%.

Crist had a 42% to 40% edge in September after Scott held a similarly negligible 42% to 41% lead in early AugustIn April, Crist led Scott by six points – 45% to 39%.

Scott has the support of 82% of Florida Republicans and 15% of Democrats. Crist is backed by 80% of Democrats and 15% of Republicans. Crist also has a 46% to 41% edge among voters not affiliated with either political party.

Scott edged out Democrat Alex Sink 49% to 48% to win the governorship in 2010. Fifty percent (50%) of Florida voters now approve of the job he is doing as governor, while 47% disapprove. That’s an improvement from September and includes 23% who strongly approve and 32% who strongly disapprove.

But while 38% of Florida voters believe their state is better off than it was four years ago, slightly more voters (44%) disagree. Another 19% are not sure. Scott leads Crist 62% to 34% among those who think the state is better off, while Crist leads 56% to 37% among those who disagree.

The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Last week’s debate between the two candidates garnered headlines when Scott protested the use of a portable cooling fan by Crist.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of Florida Voters say there has been more negative political advertising this election year than in previous years. That’s higher than the level measured on the national level. Just six percent (6%) of Florida voters say there has been less negative campaign advertising, while 45% think the amount of negative ads is about the same as previous years.

Scott now holds narrow leads over Crist when it comes to whom voters trust more to handle government spending (44% to 40%) and taxes (45% to 43%). Crist is trusted slightly more on social issues (45% to 40%) and government ethics and corruption (41% to 38%).

Overall opinions of both candidates have grown a bit more positive this month. Scott is viewed favorably by 50% of Florida voters and unfavorably by 46%. This includes 25% with a Very Favorable opinion and 31% with a Very Unfavorable one. Forty-seven percent (47%) have a favorable opinion of Crist, including 23% with a Very Favorable opinion of the former governor. Forty-eight percent (48%) view Crist unfavorably, with 34% who view him Very Unfavorably.

By comparison, 52% have a favorable impression of Florida GOP Senator Marco Rubio who defeated Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek in the 2010 Senate race. Thirty-eight percent (38%) have an unfavorable opinion of Rubio. The state’s other senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, is viewed favorably by 48% and unfavorably by 32%.

Scott has strongly opposed the new national health care law, and voters in his state are just as critical of the law as voters are nationwide. Forty-two percent (42%) of Florida voters view the law favorably, while 53% have an unfavorable opinion of it. This includes 20% with a Very Favorable view and 41% with a Very Unfavorable one.

Crist picks up 92% support from voters with a Very Favorable impression of Obamacare, while Scott is backed by 86% of the larger group with a Very Unfavorable opinion of it.

President Obama edged out Mitt Romney by a 50% to 49% margin in Florida in the 2012 election, and 47% of the state’s voters approve of the job he is doing today. Fifty-one percent (51%) disapprove of Obama’s performance. This includes 28% who Strongly Approve and 43% who Strongly Disapprove, giving the president a similar job approval rating in Florida to what he earns nationally.

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.