Charlie Crist Still Leading Rick Scott In Florida

Former Governor Charlie Crist continues to lead his successor in their anticipated election battle:

After spending more than $10 million on campaign ads in the last two months, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida continues to trail his predecessor and potential opponent by 10 percentage points, according to a poll released today by Quinnipiac University.

Voters see the former governor, Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, as more compassionate and trustworthy, according to the poll, which found the 57-year-old Crist leading the 61-year-old Scott by a 48-38 point margin.

Scott’s barrage of television ads were meant to close that gap. The wealthy governor told the National Review last year that he was stockpiling $25 million to “define” his opponent early in the race. Some of Scott’s ads have attacked Crist as a poor governor, while others have presented a softer image of Scott— the multimillionaire speaking about his poor childhood while looking into the camera.

So far, it’s not working.

Voters say Crist is more compassionate than Scott by a 50-35 margin, the Quinnipiac poll finds. Crist is seen favorably by a 43-36 margin, while Scott has a negative 39-46 favorability score. Fifty-three percent of voters say Scott doesn’t deserve re-election.

“Florida voters think former Gov. Crist is more compassionate, more honest and trustworthy and was a better governor than Gov. Scott,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement. “The difference may be simple: voters like Crist, whose strength always has been his ability to connect. Voters sometimes elect candidates they don’t like personally, but not that often.”

Scott has trailed Crist in all five polls Quinnipiac has released since test-matching the two governors head-to-head last year. The margin has ranged from 16 points in March 2013 to seven points in November. The latest survey of 1,413 registered voters was conducted from April 23 to 28 and has a margin of error of 2.6 percentage points.

Thanks both to the attention it will garner nationally and the size of its media markets, this race is likely to be one of the most expensive of the entire 2014 cycle.

FILED UNDER: 2014 Election, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. JoshB says:

    I live in the Tampa Bay area, so obviously I am following this race closely.

    First, the pro-Scott ads are everywhere, whether it be TV, Hulu, internet, etc. The GOP clearly knows this will be a tough race as Rick Scott is widely loathed. Pro-Crist ads have yet to make an appearance, so I expect Crist’s numbers to improve.

    Second, there is a medical marijuana ballot initiative, which many believe will drive more Democratic-leaning voters to the polls. This is probably the number one reason Pam Bondi (Attorney General) fought it so intensely. Conversely, it’s likely the reason why Morgan & Morgan (major law firm for whom Crist worked) pushed it so heavily.

    Crist is a far cry from perfect, but Scott is terrible and I cannot wait to see him go. Many Floridians agree.