Nan Rich Going Nowhere Against Charlie Crist
Around the State
Dark-horse Democrat Nan Rich can take some cheer from a poll that came out this week but the bad news still outweighs the good news for the underdog gubernatorial candidate.
Liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) has a poll showing Rich running very close to Rick Scott. The Republican beats out Rich 37 percent to 36 percent. Not bad for a largely unknown candidate like Rich.
More disconcerting to Rich, she doesn’t do well with Democrats: 11 percent favorable, 22 percent unfavorable and 67 percent not sure. Rich does a little better with Democratic primary voters, but even there the numbers don’t impress: 13 percent favorable, 23 percent unfavorable and 64 percent unsure.
With Alex Sink and Bill Nelson passing on entering the race, Rich is now the only obstacle to Charlie Crist, a former Republican, winning the Democratic nomination. It’s hard to classify her as a major obstacle to Crist based on the poll. Crist takes 59 percent of Democrats in the primary and Rich only gets 16 percent.
Even worse for Rich, there appears to be little room to run to Crist’s left and insist she is the “real Democrat” in the race. Crist destroys Rich in the 19 percent of Democrats who define themselves as “very liberal”: 67 percent to 12 percent. Rich does better with the 31 percent of Democrats who call themselves “somewhat liberal” but still only takes 18 percent to Crist’s 57 percent.
Ironically, the only group Rich beats Crist out with is “very conservative” Democrats who break her way 35 percent to 28 percent. But these make up only 4 percent of Democratic primary voters. Not exactly the foundation Rich needs if she wants to upset Crist.
Rich has been in the race for 18 months and has gone nowhere. Crist is expected to announce in the coming weeks and, between that and Democrats holding their convention at Disney World later this month, the pressure will soon be on for Rich to get out of the race. If Rich’s fundraising in the third quarter is weak, Democrats will grow even louder in their demands for her to get out.
Increasingly, what little path Rich had to winning the party’s nomination is vanishing. The PPP poll might show Rich closing in on Scott but her chances against Crist are almost nonexistent.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.