Unlike other polls which show a narrowing race, Quinnipiac University released a poll of registered voters Wednesday morning that finds former Gov. Charlie Crist, the leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate, with a solid lead over Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
The poll shows Crist taking 48 percent while Scott wins 38 percent. Quinnipiac had Crist leading Scott by 8 percent in a January poll and by 7 percent in a November poll. Scott does better against former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich, beating her 42 percent to 36 percent.
"So far, Florida Gov. Rick Scott's television barrage apparently has had no impact on the race, said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. The incumbent has not been able to reduce former Gov. Charlie Crist's lead. In fact, voters see Crist's party switch in a positive light and the incumbent's effort to tie Crist's support for Obamacare has not yet borne fruit."
The Q-poll relies, it should be pointed out, on a sample of 31 percent Democrats and 25 percent Republicans, an unusually low percentage of GOP voters in an off-year election.
Scott remains upside down in the poll with 39 percent of those surveyed holding a favorable view of the governor, while 46 percent see him as unfavorable. Crist gets better marks, with 43 percent seeing him in a favorable light and 36 percent viewing him as unfavorable. Scott did about the same when voters were asked about their take on his performance in Tallahassee, with 42 percent approving of it but 50 percent disapproving. A majority -- 52 percent -- approve of Crists 2006-2010 tenure as governor, while 38 percent disapprove.
A majority -- 53 percent -- say Scott doesnt deserve a second term in office; 39 percent think he does. Despite this, 51 percent say they are at least somewhat satisfied with the way things are going in Florida while 48 percent say they are not satisfied.
Scott is seen as honest and trustworthy by 38 percent of those surveyed while 51 percent think he is not. Voters are divided about Crist, with 45 percent saying he is honest and trustworthy, while 43 percent say he isnt. Asked whether the candidates care about people, 48 percent of voters say Crist does while 38 percent think Scott does. A majority -- 55 percent -- think Scott doesnt care about people like them while 42 percent think Crist doesnt. Crist is seen as a strong leader by 55 percent while 49 percent say that about Scott. But 37 percent dont think of the Democrat as a strong leader, while 44 percent think the governor isnt either. Asked who is more compassionate, 50 percent say Crist and 35 percent say Scott.
"Florida voters think former Gov. Crist is more compassionate, more honest and trustworthy and was a better governor than Gov. Scott, Brown said. 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."
A slim majority -- 52 percent -- say Crists jump from the Republicans to the Democrats is a positive while 40 percent think its a negative.
Rich remains largely unknown, with 8 percent viewing her as favorable, 5 percent seeing her as unfavorable and 85 percent saying they dont know enough about her. Among Democrats Rich does better. with 15 percent seeing her as favorable and 2 percent unfavorable, but 83 percent say they dont know enough about her to hold an opinion.
The poll of 1,413 registered Florida voters was taken April 23-28 and had a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percent.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.