Rick Scott Losing To Charlie Crist In Early Florida Polls
Two new polls show the former Governor Charlie Crist trouncing Florida Governor Rick Scott in a head-to-head match up.
First up, Public Policy Polling released a poll yesterday showing Crist leading Scott by 12 points:
Rick Scott’s approval numbers have seen no improvement over the last two months, even after his decision to allow Medicaid expansion in Florida. 33% of voters continue to approve of the job he’s doing to 57% who disapprove. Although his overall numbers are the same he has seen a slight improvement with Democrats (from 21/71 to 23/69) and a slight downgrade with Republicans (from 49/38 to 46/42).
Scott continues to trail Charlie Crist by double digits in a hypothetical match up, 52/40. That’s just a slight improvement for him from January when he was down 53/39. Crist, who still has a 28% favorability rating with Republicans, wins over 29% of the Republican vote and also has a narrow lead with independents at 47/41. Crist still isn’t as popular as he used to be- a 46/43 favorability rating- but that’s good enough against the backdrop of Scott’s unpopularity to give him a pretty substantial early advantage.
Scott does poorly against some other potential Democratic candidates too. He trails Pam Iorio 44/37 and Alex Sink 45/40. He does at least lead Nan Rich 42/36.
Democrats though pretty much seem to be on board with Crist. He has a 66/24 favorability rating with Democratic primary voters, and 50% of them would like for him to be their candidate next year compared to 21% for Sink, 9% for Iorio, and just 3% for Rich. 16% aren’t sure who they’d like their standard bearer to be next year.
Scott might actually have more trouble winning his party’s nomination than Crist has with his. Only 42% of Republican primary voters say they want Scott to be their candidate again next year to 43% who say they would prefer someone else. It’s moderate Republicans who really want to dump Scott (34/55) while ones identifying as ‘somewhat’ (43/38) or ‘very’ (46/42) conservative tepidly support him. Scott does at least lead named potential primary challengers at this point- it’s 46/27 over Pam Bondi, 48/24 over Adam Putnam, and 54/13 over Ted Yoho.
This morning, Quinnipiac is out with a poll showing Scott’s deficit to be even worse:
Former Gov. Charlie Crist, running as a Democrat, tops Florida Gov. Rick Scott 50 – 34 percent among registered voters if the 2014 election were today, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Gov. Scott leads State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam 47 – 24 percent in a GOP primary.
Alex Sink, the Democrat who lost to Scott in 2010, leads him 45 – 34 percent today.
Florida voters say 50 – 40 percent that Crist’s switch from Republican to independent and now to Democrat is a positive thing that shows he is a pragmatist, rather than a negative thing that shows he lacks core beliefs.
Scott’s potential vulnerability is evidenced by the fact that only 32 percent of voters say he deserves a second term in office, including just 28 percent of independent voters. His job approval rating is a negative 36 – 49 percent, compared to his negative 36 – 45 percent disapproval in a December 19 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.
“There isn’t much good news in these numbers for Gov. Rick Scott, but there is some,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “His large lead over Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam in a hypothetical Republican primary gives him some solace that he does not have to worry about an intraparty challenge. Scott’s support among Republicans appears pretty solid, although he has a lot of fences to mend with independent voters and he has virtually no crossover appeal to Democrats.
“The fact that voters think it’s an asset that former Gov. Charlie Crist moved from conservative Republican to a Democrat with very different political views will be a key metric to watch between now and the 2014 voting.”
“These numbers indicate Republicans will have a tough job turning around Crist’s lead over Scott by reminding voters of Crist’s evolution,” said Brown.
In a Crist-Scott matchup, the incumbent carries Republicans 76 – 16 percent, but loses Democrats 81 – 7 percent and loses the crucial independent vote 49 – 29 percent.
Scott has had problems virtually from time that he took office, so it’s not entirely surprising to see him faltering against potential opponents.What this also seems to reflect, though, is that Crist remains very popular in Florida. despite his recent party shifts. Indeed, had Crist chosen to stand for re-election in 2010 instead of mounting an ill-fated independent bid for the Senate, then he’d likely be Governor today. And he’d mostly likely still be a Republican.