With the race for Florida’s governor little over ten months away, poll numbers regarding the race is going to start being a regular occurrence. As predicted, the gap between former Gov. Charlie Crist in current Gov. Rick Scott has lessened. But even though this is the case, Crist still leads in all the polls of the been conducted from reputable polling firms.
Yesterday, Quinnipiac University released a poll which shows that Charlie Crist still has a commanding lead over Rick Scott. Overall, former Gov. Crist has eight point lead over Rick Scott, 46% to 38%. In comparison to the latest PPP polls, it seems as if Crist is starting to solidify some of his support among both Democratic and liberal voters. The PPP poll that was conducted recently showed that Charlie Crist might be having trouble with these voters. But the numbers that Quinnipiac released today seems to be more in line with reality. Not only is Charlie Crist increasing his support among his voters, this new poll confirms that Rick Scott is also solidifying his support on both the right and with Republican voters.
So let’s look at the numbers of the last two polls and compare what we see.
If we look at Rick Scott’s numbers, his favorability rating among Republicans has increased from 58% to 73%. As far as Democrats approving of Rick Scott, his numbers slightly moved going down from 19% in the PPP poll to 14% in the Quinnipiac poll. What is interesting, though, is that his favorability rating amongst independents has increased from 26% to 40%. Therefore, looking at partisanship, it seems as if Scott has improved slightly, but independent still view him unfavorably.
Looking at Charlie Crist’s favorability, Republican still view him in a negative light with both polls showing only a 17% favorability rating for Crist. But favorability among Democrats has increased substantially, going from 52% in the PPP poll to 67% in the Quinnipiac poll. Crist also saw an increase in independent support going from 35% in the PPP poll to 44% in this latest poll.
When looking at a match up, Republican voters are nearly identical in the two polls. But when looking at Democratic voters, Crist now carries 81% of their vote compared to only 6% for Rick Scott. This is a far cry from the PPP poll which showed Crist with only 66% Democratic support and with Rick Scott having an unheard of 20% Democratic support. Therefore, we are now starting to see a pure partisan race. As far as independent voters, Charlie Crist has remained unchanged while Rick Scott has had a 9% increase from 23% to 32%.
Looking at ideology, liberals are also starting to support Charlie Crist more. In the PPP poll, roughly 70% of liberals supported Charlie Crist. But in this recent poll, that number now jumps to 78%. As far as moderate voters, the numbers between the two polls remain relatively unchanged. The same holds true for Republican voters.
As far is Nan Rich is concerned, her numbers still remain quite low. 86% of those who were polled said they did not know about Sen. Rich. In the match up against Rick Scott, Rich takes 37% of the vote with Scott still in the lead. 37% seems to be the benchmark that any Democratic candidate will get in a general election against Rick Scott.
Many have said that Charlie Crist needs to identify himself more as a Democrat and as a liberal. Over the last few weeks he has attempted to do this by taking staunch liberal stances on economic issues instead of being the moderate that he sold himself as previously. This is now starting to show in the polls with Democratic and liberal support solidly behind the former governor.
This brings up two important questions that need to be asked. First, can Nan Rich continue in this race? She has not been able to identify with the voters as her “unknown” numbers remain quite high. And with liberals now rallying behind Crist in a general election match up against Scott, there is less concern that Crist would not be able to turn out progressive voters. Still, Sen. Rich’s entry into the race has forced Crist to become more progressive on economic issues. If she was not in the race, Crist would probably continue to take the center road. So in that sense, Rich has done Crist and the Democratic Party a favor inspite of the hostility large portions of the establishment have shown towards to her.
The second question is in regards to Crist’s ideology. Many are worried that if Charlie Crist wins the nomination, he will then move to the center once the general election campaign begins. But these polling numbers are actually showing that having a liberal message can win a general election. Again, only 17% of conservatives and 12% of Republicans now say they will vote for Crist. Therefore, he has already lost any possible center-right voters that he relied on earlier. But now, it seems as if he does not need the center-right’s support to win this election.
Overall, this is a great poll for Charlie Crist. It is showing that becoming more liberal in his views and rhetoric is starting to pay off in Democrat support as well as in a general election match up against Rick Scott. This poll gives Chris the best of both worlds, and he should be quite pleased with the results.