Charlie Crist Posts 8-Point Lead Over Rick Scott in Q-Poll

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: January 30, 2014 7:00 AM
Rick Scott, Charlie Crist, Nan Rich

Rick Scott, Charlie Crist, Nan Rich

A poll of registered Florida voters from Quinnipiac University released Thursday morning finds former Gov. Charlie Crist, the favorite for the Democratic nomination despite spending most of his political career as a Republican, leading Gov. Rick Scott 46 percent to 38 percent.

Crist led by a similar margin -- 47 percent to 40 percent -- in a November Quinnipiac poll, though he was beating Scott by 16 percent in a survey taken back in March. Last week, Public Policy Polling (PPP), a firm with connections to prominent Democrats, showed the race much closer with Crist leading 43 percent to 41 percent.

The poll shows Scott does better when matched against former state Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich, beating her 41 percent to 37 percent.

"At least for now, Florida Governor Rick Scott's comeback against his major Democratic challenger, former Governor Charlie Crist, has stalled after considerably narrowing the Crist lead in 2013,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “And on several other measurements, Crist gets higher grades from the Florida electorate.”

The poll shows that both candidates overwhelmingly get the support of their party base, but independents break for Crist, 48 percent to 36 percent.

A majority -- 54 percent -- of those surveyed say Scott does not deserve another term compared to 38 percent who say he does. Scott is upside down in the poll with 49 percent disapproving of his job performance and 41 percent approving of it. While 38 percent see Scott as favorable, 45 percent view him as unfavorable.

Crist gets better marks in the poll, with 44 percent seeing him in a favorable light and 35 percent viewing him as unfavorable. A majority of those surveyed -- 53 percent -- approve of Crist’s term as governor though 36 percent disapprove. The poll shows Democrats are in Crist’s corner, with 67 percent seeing the former Republican as favorable and 11 percent viewing him as unfavorable.

Rich remains largely unknown, with 7 percent viewing her as favorable, 6 percent as unfavorable and 86 percent not sure about her. Democrats are largely in the dark on Rich, with 84 percent not sure about her, though 12 percent see her as favorable and 4 percent have unfavorable views of her.

"The best number in this poll for Crist -- and the biggest problem for Scott -- is that a majority of Florida voters say the current governor does not deserve a second term in Tallahassee,” Brown said. “Voters also give Crist a higher job approval for when he ran the state than any approval rating Scott has received in his three years on the job.”

Despite the unemployment rate going up to 11.3 percent under Crist’s watch and dropping to 6.2 percent under Scott, the Democrat does better when it comes to the economy, with 47 percent thinking Crist would do a better job of managing it while 42 percent say Scott would. 

"Almost a third of voters say the economy/jobs is the most important issue in the governor's race," Brown said. “Most voters are satisfied with the way things are going in the state and more are optimistic than pessimistic about the future, but at this point Governor Scott isn't getting any credit for that good feeling."

More than a quarter -- 29 percent -- of those surveyed say the economy and jobs are the most important issue in Florida while 9 percent say education and 8 percent say health care.

There are signs that voters in Florida are feeling more optimistic about the Sunshine State. A majority of those surveyed -- 54 percent -- say they are satisfied with how Florida is today, while 46 percent express dissatisfaction. While 37 percent think 2014 will be better for their families than 2013, 13 percent say worse; the rest expect it to stay the same. While 50 percent think things in Florida are not so good or poor, 47 percent say good or excellent.

Crist also does better than Scott in other areas. Asked about who would do a better job on protecting the middle class, voters break for Crist, 49 percent to 36 percent. A similar margin -- 48 percent to 36 percent -- think Crist would do a better job on health care, though he does slightly better on education, 49 percent to 35 percent. While 36 percent think Scott is more honest and trustworthy, 44 percent think Crist does better on that front. Scott does much better when voters are asked who is a better leader, with the two candidates knotted up at 43 percent each.

The poll finds around a third of voters -- 34 percent -- approve of the Legislature while 49 percent disapprove. A majority of Republicans -- 54 percent -- approve of the GOP-run Legislature, though 34 percent disapprove. Democrats break the other way, with 65 percent disapproving and 22 percent approving of the Legislature. While 49 percent of independents disapprove of the Legislature, 30 percent approve of it.

Both of Florida’s two U.S. senators do well in the poll. A majority of those surveyed -- 52 percent -- approve of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and 37 percent disapprove. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., also gets strong marks, with 48 percent approving and 30 percent disapproving.

A strong majority -- 73 percent -- want to raise the minimum wage, currently $7.93, in Florida, while 24 percent oppose the idea. Though 43 percent say raising the minimum wage will lead to businesses cutting jobs, 51 percent disagree. Majorities across the political spectrum support raising the minimum wage, with 93 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of independents and 53 percent of Republicans backing the proposal. President Barack Obama called for raising the federal minimum wage in his State of the Union address Tuesday night and encouraged states to raise their minimum wages. Crist told the media on Wednesday he supported raising it to $10.10 an hour.

The poll of 1,565 registered voters was taken from Jan. 22-27 and had a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (6)

Dorothee Custer
12:35PM JAN 31ST 2014
I would suggest that the job of journalists is to inform the public. If most people do not know who Nan Rich is it would seem you have an obligations to inform the public.
9:43AM JAN 31ST 2014
We have a sitting governor that has increased employment and enhanced the overall quality of life for the people of Florida, and yet, he is being scrutinized by the left.

He should be 50points ahead of the liberal left socialist Crist but with Crist showing that he's ahead of Scott is evidence of just how messed up our current culture is. I fear we have little hope of a prosperous future.

Repeatedly placing these socialists such as Crist which is a professional politician into public office guarantees a declining quality of life for the vast majority. Truly, the voting public is ....PATHETIC!!!
1:18PM JAN 31ST 2014
Yes, yes, you must be right --> "enhanced the overall quality of life" . . . guess that's why our springs are drying up, our lagoons becoming un-swimmable, our children dying from gun violence, our voters standing in 4 hour lines, our unemployed unable to work for a living wage or even sign up for temporary unemployment insurance, and our governmental actions are constantly intruding upon our personal lives or having to be over-ridden by the courts as illegal and unconstitutional . . . . that's what is truly . . .

Pathetic . . . .
8:38AM JAN 31ST 2014
Clearly, the current governor, Rick Scott, has much baggage he has yet to address. But in recent weeks, he's made political plays with his gang in Tallahassee to attempt to buy his winning votes. Handing out millions, actually billions in the new, proposed state budget should be an afront to every single citizen in the State of Florida! Not only should the current Governor Scott be voted out, so should his Tallahassee playmates who have rolled over time and again to support the current governor's considerable sized ego! The Republican party has caused many of our difficulties throughout the state because of their own personal greed. The current Governor Scott is a very greedy man and by simply transferring the business over to his wife was the initial big slap to everyone's face. I'm sure they don't discuss the business at home. LOL
Since the business handover, his insulting ways have continued, cutting the educational budget by millions, then, in looking for votes, all of a sudden tosses in some "extra" money to their budget thinking our teachers are flat out dumb. They realize Scott attempted to bribe or purchase their support, as in his current budget proposal which, he claims, is trying to utilize all the extra millions in the state's coffers! What no one is asking, who's been watching over the money and how was it able to build to such high amounts? Why wasn't that "extra" money handed over right away? Mr. Scott has no rights to a rainey day fund and he and his staff must be held accountable for their very poor budgetary monitoring! No matter who eventually becomes the actual candidates for the office, (and it certainly looks like Charlie Crist and whomever else,we must rid ourselves of this greedy, rich guy whose only interests seem to be about making money, no matter who else it may cost!
9:47AM JAN 31ST 2014
His interestes are Capitalism, not socialism as you apparantly endorse.

Politicians that don't provide handouts and frivilous benefits, get criticized. Those people, are mainly those of the "left" such as yourself.
9:09PM JAN 30TH 2014
There may be 5 Republican State Senators that deserve consideration for reelection but the reality is it would be a glorious thing to vote the whole of the Republican Party out of State office's. I hope Governor Scott serves as the anchor to drag him and them to their political demise.

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