Charlie Crist’s Worrying Poll Numbers

Earlier this week, Peter Schorsch had an excellent analysis of Governor Crist’s sagging poll numbers among key demographics. Much of this has been largely under-reported in the mainstream press. While a sense among Democrats continues to prevail that Crist is the favorite to win this fall, the polling trends indicate otherwise.

Here are my biggest concerns from the surveys in recent weeks from the Crist perspective.

  • Economic improvement has eventually led to better job approval ratings for Scott and a more positive feeling among Floridians about the direction of the state.
  • Crist is getting beaten badly among males and while he is winning currently in the Orlando Metropolitan area an place trending heavily towards the Democrats, he is losing ground there. Crist is not getting the expected bump many had hoped in the Jacksonville and Tampa Bay areas. He runs strong in his home area but not perhaps as strongly as I had anticipated. Also the Democrats inability to compete with white male voters in medium sized counties across the state will be a much bigger problem in an off-year election than in a Presidential Election year.
  • Governor Crist is losing the Cuban-American vote badly. Right now according to the most recent polling he is faring worse in that community than President Obama or Alex Sink did.


It is important to remember that polling is a snapshot in time and not an election projection. Rick Scott has been in the news lately — as well as spending millions on attack ads — while Governor Crist has been plugging away more subtly as he continues to build a campaign infrastructure. Still the trend lines are clear.

While we have long advocated a base vote strategy to win elections for Democrats, Charlie Crist’s candidacy is not exactly the playbook model to do this. So the hope had been that he would be able to appeal to moderates, particularly white male and Cuban-American voters. At this point in time at least, it appears Crist is having difficulty doing this.

Another hope I had that was not articulated here at any point was that a Crist candidacy could help Democrats make inroads among white male voters in Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties, areas of the state in the Tampa Bay media market with lots of retirees who have voted for Crist, a Pinellas County raised former Republican on multiple occasions. In these counties, Crist was able to peel some Republican votes away from Marco Rubio in 2010.  In 2010, a few people in these areas voted for Rick Scott AND Charlie Crist on the same day, leading to my hope that Crist would be a consideration this time among those Republican oriented voters.

While I have not seen definitive data from these counties it appears based on the regional grouping of the cross-tabs in multiple polls, these areas have shifted towards Rick Scott.

I continue to hold out hope that Pinellas County where Crist hails from and remains popular can create the type of home county advantage polls are not reflecting currently. This also will be critical for the Democrats in the legislature who have four big State House races and a State Senate seat to contest strongly in the county.

While it is not time to panic by any stretch of the imagination, Crist’s numbers are worrying and the trends are unfortunately unmistakable. My fear is that Crist has been defined and moving voters into his column is going to be as difficult as it typically is for an unpopular or polarizing incumbent. Many didn’t believe this would be the case with Governor Crist, and I certainly hoped it would not be. Equally troubling is that Rick Scott who it long seemed had a ceiling of support somewhere in the upper 30s or low 40s seems to have broken that mark now in multiple polls over an extended period. This race was always going to tighten but now it has gotten far too close for comfort.


  1. This week I received a Progressive litmus test mailer comparing lifelong democrat, Nan Rich, with Charlie Crist. It was very informative. Nan Rich should be viewed as an asset in this race. CC should debate her.


    1. For what it’s worth, it came from a fake progressive organization. I wouldn’t put much stock in it.


      1. Before you call something fake you should do more research.. The group you are referring to is a national group that is run by progressives who back progressive issues. If you have proof otherwise let’s see it.


      2. Wendy Sejour · ·

        Ryan, say what you will but Progressive Choice is playing in several states and are pushing very progressive issues including supporting the marriage equality lawsuit here in Florida as well as Amendment 2. They have a ton of money and they are spending it on progressive causes and candidates all across the country. Not to shabby for a fake group.


      3. That’s not true. The group is called Progressive Choice Florida and they’ve claimed they will play in Maryland and Texas “eventually” but currently are not. Which races in other states are they involved in?


      4. DINO Slayer · ·

        Progressive choice FL is a sub-group of the National Group Progessice Choice, both a PAC & a 501c4. They have pledged $$ and support to several candidates & causes in multiple states. Fl is the first roll out. They are actually advocating for progressive causes here in FL, including the lawsuit challenging anti-gay marriage laws in FL. Ask Equality Florida how “fake” the support is as well as the support for the John Morgan (Crist’s biggest booster) sponsored Amendment 2. Just because you don’t like who they support in the primary, do not demonize. This mailer reached thousands of primary voters, that’s real.


      5. How do you know this unless you work for them? Because for a supposedly grassroots group, they are as opaque and inaccessible as anything I’ve ever seen.

        They have no connection to genuine Florida activists, their only public point of contact is a stock photo-headed shell website, and they have no track record.

        For a liberal interest group to form and focus their first efforts on attacking the only viable Democrat running against a terrible right-wing governor raises suspicions and you have to account for that.

        Especially when their spokesperson/operator/robo-caller is Katie Edwards, the most conservative Democrat in the Florida House. I have no problem with her and of course there will always be a spectrum of opinion within the caucus, but the asymmetry of a Chamber and US Sugar-backed Blue Dog out in front on an insurgent left-leaning candidacy raises serious questions that cannot be dismissed.

        I’m skeptical until I have some reason not to be, DINO Slayer.


      6. #avoteforrichisavoteforscott · ·

        Ryan you are too good a man to write for this blog join us in our new effort.

        We know you are with us and not with the malcontents this blog has cultivated.

        And you still have a magic touch as you mentioned one of the handful of legislators that would get my comments deleted in the past. If I mentioned that legislator that you mentioned in connection to progressive choice I would get my post deleted. If I mentioned any number of other house members I would get my post deleted.

        The owner of this site has cultivated disaffected elected officials instead of cultivating those that actually leave the party and the party staff. He has sided with the selfish members of the legislature many who do not vote like real Democrats against his own party.

        This site has become the go to home for progressives in the state. This is why we are going to start a counterforce so that people will have another option get the real progressive story the real democratic story not filtered by this website with its biases.


      7. Wow, paranoid much? I guess that’s why you are afraid to use your own name and hide behind a pseudonym that makes no sense (since this race is a primary). At least have the courage of your convictions and fight your battles honestly and up front.


  2. Obamacrat · · Reply

    No way Scott wins.

    Turnout will be high because Crist made Obama President. That loyalty will stimulate turnout.


    1. Crist also called for Clinton to resign…..I saw the tape. I wish I had the money to pay for the dinner and see how they react to each other this month. Obama was made by grassroots Democrats in Red and Blue counties like mine working or tails of…for OBAMA, in spite of Obama’s allowing Crist to the Democratic convention.


    2. Every time you give credit for Obama’s win to Crist, you insult hard-working Democrats around the state. That’s hardly the way to win support for him.


    3. The Republicans are making this election about Crist. If nan were running the emphasis would be on Scott. Also Charlie is considered a traitor which will get out the vote against him.One more thing if hugs mean so much how about Charlie hugging McCain, Palin, Rothstein and Greer.


      1. I’m afraid if Nan were running Scott and nearly the entire news media would simply ignore her just like they’ve done since she got in the race. Never fear Democrats seem to be on track of snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory as they continue to cut Crist to pieces.


  3. it won’t have anything to do with Crist. It will have everything to do with turnout. Republicans will vote for Satan, as long as he has an (R) next to his name; they would spite Christ if he ran as a (D). The FDP could have worked on their grassroots efforts and voter registration if they were interested in winning, but that hasn’t been their choice. So the election will come down to external factors, such as the med mj on the ballot, economy, etc


    1. My GOP sister mentioned that this would be a great election for the GOP as she had two Republican former governors to choose from. Even she is undecided. She would probably never vote for Crist as she has seen his record; but would like to be able to have a vote for anyone except Scott, whose record she has also seen. She may be another write-in for my dog, Oliver. LOL


    2. Pinellas voter · · Reply


      You hit the nail on the head. The Florida Democratic Party and the Tallahassee based leadership has mismanage the part. Unfortunately their incompetence and lack of direction has pretty much sealed our faith. Let’s hope they are all drive out of town so we can save 2015 and 2016


  4. The campaign of Crist followers and their comments about Nan Rich, their attempts to have her remove herself from the primary have made me and, I expect, many woman voters, cast our vote for Nan in the primary (if the Democratic party allows her to run) and to consider ourselves “undecided” in November if she loses the primary. Since none of the polls even give a Nan Rich choice, there is no way to assess her ability to win….or lose with a significant number of votes. Even losing votes have significance in showing the approval rating of the elected candidate and to opposition to his position.

    I have often said that even my doberman, Oliver, could be a better governor than Scott. If Crist (and his entourage ) continue his degrading of women and the position of Nan Rich, my county may show at least one write-in for Oliver in November. Oliver stands for all the major Democratic principles and has never voted Republican….even I have to admit voting for Nixon. LOL


    1. Actually there have been several polls with Rich vs. Scott. Scott is ahead of her in every poll:

      Click to access fl04302014_ap49yv.pdf

      Click to access Florida-Survey-March-2014-Poll-Results.pdf


      1. Not by much. With a little money and Hillary she will bury Scott.


  5. Yellow Dog Democrat · · Reply

    Move along here there is nothing to see. Go back to your homes.

    Republican Incumbent Rick Scott TV ad buy…in the millions…including the bogus “Progressive Committee” (ie Republican scam mailer blasting Crist and supporting Nan Rich

    Democrat challenger Charlie Crist TV ad buy and mailers…ZERO!

    Movement in the polls…2 points…margin of error +- 3 % actual movement ZERO

    Most importantly…has anyone actually voted yet?


    1. Wendy Sejour · · Reply

      Actually “Progressive Choice”, if you are going to disparage a group at least get the name right, is playing in several states and is pushing very progressive issues including supporting the marriage equality lawsuit here in Florida as well as Amendment 2. They have a ton of money and they are spending it on progressive causes and candidates all across the country. Not to shabby for a fake group.


  6. A voice of reason · · Reply

    I love how Kartik refers to Charlie Crist no longer the governor as Gov. throughout this article and refers to the current governor Scott by his name. Talk about subtle bias!


    1. Think! · · Reply

      This is so obvious in this piece. Clear left-wing bias.


  7. Democratic Guy · · Reply

    These polls are nonsense based on the wrong turnout model.

    Crist will win easily. Because of his Obama links the OFA network and minority voters will be activated for him.


    1. Kevin · · Reply

      That’s exactly the same argument which Romney supporters made in 2012. How well did that work out for them?


  8. Tom Bryson · · Reply

    Nan Rich will be on the Democratic primary ballot in August. The Democratic Party may not want her to run but Senator Rich has the final word. She has told me she is “in it until the end.”


  9. Tom Bryson · · Reply

    There are many factors other than money that decide elections. Otherwise the US senate would already be in Republican hands. One of those factors is candidate quality.


  10. Go Dems · · Reply

    I do not put any stock in polls that under sample younger voters and revert to the turnout models from past Republican leading electorates. These are also polls commisioned by pro-business groups. Need to consider that.


  11. A really important factor has been Scott’s early TV ads. Both positive ads and negative anti-Crist ones.


  12. These polls mean zero. Crist is winning no matter how much conservative media or the business groups pay to rig polls, skew samples or change results. Scott’s ceiling Kartik is still 45%. I think Crist wins by at least ten points. Moderates will vote him over the conservative Scott.


  13. Keeping it real in 14 · · Reply

    Just because some of you disagree with polling results does not mean the poll is rigged. Sheesh!


  14. #avoteforrichisavoteforscott · · Reply

    Obama won’t let Crist lose. He knows he’s where he is thanks to Charlie extending early voting hours in 2008 and then barnstorming the state in 2012 for him.


  15. Disco Duck · · Reply

    The numbers are trending so much towards Scott he may not even have to play the scandals involving Crist which are numerous and frightening.


  16. Concerned Democrat · · Reply

    the combination of the inept FDP, a poor candidate in Crist and an unpopular President are sinking us. It is going to be a bad year.


  17. […] Usually during an election year, it is a bad idea to pass something this controversial because a candidate automatically alienates about half of voters with a law such as this. This is simply always been considered a bad political move. This is why Charlie Crist, even though he claimed to be pro-life at the time, vetoed the ultrasound bill in 2010 (though that came just days before he left the Republican Party). Just 4 years ago, an attack on choice was enough of a threat to make the governor wield the veto pen. In just one term, all of that political capital has faded and the potential loss of the pro-choice votes which includes many moderate Republicans does not seem to be a concern of Governor Scott. Not only has the Governor already taken strong anti-abortion stances, but this one comes as his poll numbers against Crist continue to climb (see Kartik’s post here). […]


  18. The lies and venom being spewed by Crist supporters smack of desperation.


    1. Yellow Dog Democrat · · Reply

      Joe, Your support of Nan Rich is your right.

      But you have NO right to make up facts and lie about the truth of those like myself who support Charlie Crist because we have never lied or spewed venom about Nan.

      Quite the contrary. It is you and your fellow Nan Rich supporters who have never missed a chance to trash Gov Charlie Crist.

      It is not a lie or spewing venom if you and Nan do not see the political reality and truth that the Nan Rich campaign has not raised any money and that Nan Rich consistently looses badly in the polls against Rick Scott.

      We are not making that up. It’s a FACT…Not a lie.

      Its a FACT that Nan barely has $100 thousand on hand to Charlie’s $12 million. How in the hack are you going to run a race statewide against a guy that has $100 million?

      Its a fact that in every poll that names Nan or Charlie against Rick Scott Nan looses badly.

      You can support Nan Rich if you like…I’d just like to see what you are going to do after the primary is over and the Democratic nominee is Charlie Crist vs Rick Scott.


    2. They can’t win without Nan’s loyal grassroots base. They better shut their mouths and stop it with the insults or many will stay home and not vote. Crist supporters are rude and have done much to marginalize the only real Democrat in this race. Enough already!


  19. […] Usually during an election year, it is a bad idea to pass something this controversial because a candidate automatically alienates about half of voters with a law such as this. This is simply always been considered a bad political move. This is why Charlie Crist, even though he claimed to be pro-life at the time, vetoed the ultrasound bill in 2010. Just 4 years ago, an attack on choice was enough of a threat to make the governor wield the veto pen. In just one term, all of that political capital has faded and the loss of the pro-choice vote does not seem to be a concern of Governor Scott. Not only has the Governor already taken strong anti-abortion stances, but this one comes as his poll numbers against Crist continue to climb (see Kartik’s post here). […]


  20. S. Florida Dem · · Reply

    I haven’t heard Charlie Crist say a single negative thing about Nan Rich, but I get an email from Nan attacking Charlie Crist everyday. Instead of these attacks (which aren’t changing any minds) she needs to focus on why we should support her, raise enough money to be viable and stop attacking a fellow Democrat. Regardless of whether you support Charlie Crist or Nan Rich, we need to keep our eyes on the ball and do everything we can to defeat Rick Scott. Otherwise, his legacy will be a tea party Florida Supreme Court that could last for a couple of decades. Do we really want three or four 40-something tea party extremists sitting on that court and blocking all progress for the next 30 years? If we don’t work like our lives depend on it to replace Scott, this will be our legacy too.


    1. His refusal to debate her and not answer fair and reasonable questions is enough for me. He doesn’t debate Rich, I am not voting for him. I’ll vote Adrian Wyllie and I suspect I am not alone either.


      1. Broward Bob · ·

        adrian coud finish ahead of nan. oh no!



    Here are the cross tabs for the Miami Herald Poll released today for Miami-Dade. Crist still does better than I thought with Cubans born here. He will want to increase that though (they tie). He suffers with those born in Cuba, but he probably was not winning them any way. Lots of undecides still.


  22. scott’s numbers are not good in Miami-Dade, but his numbers were never meant to be good there. Just do slightly better and hope to run up the margins in other parts of the state. Lots of undecideds in the Miami-Dade poll. But even looking at Survey USA his numbers aren’t good. He is still pulling lower 40s, even in the survey usa poll last month that showed him ahead by less than the magin of error.


  23. The only poll that shows Scott outside the lower 40’s upper 30’s was the Magellan Strategies (R) poll that had him 45 and crist 43. Has there been any polling Rich v. Scott recently? Here is a suggestion for a question, who is the best running mate for Crist? Scott already has his picked out.


  24. oh and the sunshine state news (a more conservative news outlet) back in March had scott at 45% and crist 44%. Bottom line is everyone can review the numbers on Huffington Post Pollster and Real Clear Politics.


  25. […] that indicates Governor Crist has a serious problem with Cuban-American voters. This mirrors the conclusions in a Survey USA poll released a few weeks ago. As I wrote last month, I feel that Governor Crist’s statements […]


  26. Some people here are living in a land of delusion. Bottom line, the Dems are split, and it’s not because of Nan Rich, who has been in this race for two years, it’s because of Charlie Crist. Crist’s constant arrogant refusal to debate Nan on the issues has caused a great divide and deep anger amongst her supporters. Crist has much to answer for, yet he is marginalizing and ignoring her and her base supporters. I know many many people who support Rich who will not vote for Crist if he is the nominee. This is not good news for the FDP. Crist recently even told a South Florida TV station he is willing to lose Democratic votes he needs to avoid debating her. What kind of candidate does that? You should be fighting for every single vote! Us Democrats will not win this election if this continues. I am just so disgusted and feel let down by my party of 20+ years. Very demoralizing.


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