The Coming Charlie Crist Surge?

Earlier this week, reputable Democratic Polling firm Public Policy Polling (PPP Polls) released their latest poll on the Florida Governor’s race between Charlie Crist and Rick Scott.  Last fall, Charlie Crist had a twelve point lead over the incumbent Rick Scott at 50/38, however according PPP’s latest numbers, the two candidates are deadlocked at 42%. Nan Rich supporters were quick to jump on this as soon as the numbers were published, and rightfully so.  Most telling in the PPP Poll is the surprising figure that that Charlie is upside down in approval ratings with a 32/48  spread overall and also with independents at 24/49, the bloc of voters most important to the Republican turned Democrat as his numbers remain steady within Democratic ranks. However,  as you can see via the visualization below, Charlie Crist’s once wide lead has dwindled considerably through the last few months.  But why is this happening and will this trend continue as we march forward to November? Lets dig a little deeper.


Governor Scott will spend nearly $100 million on this campaign, and as you’ve probably already noticed, has already started such an ad blitz.  Just since November, Rick Scott and his campaign committee have spent nearly $13 million on TV Ads. Even with the incumbent Governor boasting a 32 percent approval rating with Floridians polled in the PPP Poll, Rick Scott has pulled even with Charlie Crist. Scott’s carpet bombing of TV ads in major markets like Tampa, Orlando, and my home town of West Palm Beach is certainly the major factor behind such a drastic movement in the polls. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the average television viewers will see one hundred of them this election cycle, and folks, dont get it twisted- its working. As previously mentioned here, Crist’s favorables have dropped considerably as a resulted of this ad blitz. As the indubitable Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald and I have opined before, the bottom line is not important, its the trend that matters most. These polls show that the election is trending Rick Scott’s way.  But there are major silver linings in the poll for Democrats. Of the 16% of that are undecided in this race, Rick Scott has a 23% approval rating and a 51% disapproval rating. The undecideds polled, are skewed towards younger, female, Hispanic voters that voted for Obama 43/39 in 2012, which plays right into Charlie’s wheel house. 

Have no fear Democrats.  No need for panic-  at least not yet. Lets put some real context around Rick Scott’s catapult in the polls. Charlie hasn’t spent ANY money on television ads- not because he doesn’t have the cash on had to do it, the campaign raised $2 million in May, but because there is campaign strategy at play here.  Charlie’s campaign team is full of smart, savvy, and experienced campaigners that know what they are doing. Take it from me, I’ve worked with many of them including Kevin Cate, Cesar Fernandez and Steve Schale. Crist running quiet right now is strategic and very smart.  Crist camp knows, they will not be able to compete with the seemingly endless resources of the Rick Scott war chest and personal fortune, so they are conserving their resources so they can match Scott on TV when it matters- October and beyond aka, when the majority of voters are paying attention. The big leads that Crist had over Scott bought them plenty of time to conserve those resources for when they’ll really be needed. In other words, Rick Scott and his campaign, were trying to bait Crist to spend now, but team Crist knows better than that.

Folks, I’ve worked on many races not just here in Florida but in many different states, but no matter the location or type of race, campaigns are not sprints they are marathons. Much like a horse race, when you have limited resources, you have to hold back and pick the right time to strike, and push across the finish line. One second too early and you’ll run out of gas when it matters most- the final stretch. When the time comes, Team Crist will begin their own ad blitz, and according to my sources, we will begin to see a slow roll out ads from the campaign in the coming weeks, and I assure you these numbers will begin improve.

Thanks For Reading,


  1. Justin, you ignore Nan and the primary. Charlie is fading because people are starting to see a better candidate in Nan. The most interesting thing is what will happen in the primary. Ask Kantor.


    1. Over 70% of those who identify as Democrats have no opinion of Nan Rich in this poll. This is a trend that continues. Therefore, I don’t see how you are justified in this remark.


    2. Tom Bryson · · Reply

      The biggest mistake Charlie can make is to take Democrat’s support for granted.


      1. Which he (Crist0 has already done by showing disrespect to Florida voters by refusing to debate his opponent, (D) Nan Rich. His arrogance is unbelievable. I do NOT want another Governor who cares nothing about Floridians. I am not alone in feeling this way. Smart voters will vote for Nan Rich. It is time Florida has a Governor for the people. not for themselves & their rich cronies.


    3. Tom Bryson · · Reply

      Senator Rich trails Scott only 40% to 34% with 74% not sure if they approve/disapprove?
      That should put a smile on her face.


    4. Sorry, but she’s really not a factor…….and it’s Cantor with a C.


    5. Latest released St Leo Poll shows Nan is LOSING to Rick Scott 44-31. She’s been in the race over a year and half, has no fundraising and no support from major liberal constituencies: labor, LGBT, etc.

      This is why CC won’t and shouldn’t debate her, she is an invisible and unviable candidate. I’m not Charlie’s biggest fan as anyone that has read my work however Nan has done NOTHING to prove to is that she’s a viable and contending candidate.

      It’s over for her.


      1. He should debate her because of us, not her.


      2. He needs to debate to show us he’s worthy of support. This isn’t about Nan.


      3. Tom Bryson · ·

        Justin; I always read your work but on this one I disagree. No one decides the viability of a candidate other than the voters, not the party and certainly not the media. It is the nature of democracy.


  2. #avoteforrichisavoteforscott · · Reply

    This is a fantastic read Justin! All those so-called progressives who want to back a Republican funded candidate in Nan Rich are causing problems.

    This progressive choice group funded by corporate interests and the alliance Rich has created with the conservative democratic legislators (cannot name them or Kartik will delete) extreme leftists who are impractical (cannot name them or Kartik will delete) and lefty activists who have no idea how to win (cannot name them or Kartik will delete) is only benefiting Rick Scott.

    Our hope is that enough pressure can be put on Sen. Rich that she does not qualify next week. This website can prove its loyalty to the democrats cause by editorializing such.

    Perhaps then the pressure that has built against this site from the mainstream of the party will begin to fall away.


    1. wow! How out of touch can 1 person be. Ha! No other commented needed here lol


  3. floridian · · Reply

    To put it another way, Rick Scott has spent $13 million just to pull even while Cristina has spent nothing and is even with Rick Scott. When Charlie starts the negative commercials against Scott and the warm fuzzy ones about himself, Scott’s numbers will fall. It will be hard, but Democrats are taking Florida back!


  4. floridian · · Reply

    Oops. Didn’t mean Cristina. Meant Crist. Stupid auto spell.


    1. Freudian slip 😉


  5. Concerned Democrat · · Reply

    Couldn’t have said it better myself!


  6. Blue Dog Dem · · Reply

    Disagree totally. Crist’s once inflated polling numbers were a bi-product of being seen as a man of conviction for switching parties and Scott’s poor standing with the electorate. Then the campaign began and voters were reminded how shifty Crist is, what a bad Governor he is and ultimately how poorly he performed. This is not to even touch scandal.

    So he’s got a ceiling and it’s probably below 50%.


    1. So what’s Scott’s celing? I’d guess below 45%…….Crist can win this if Democrats simply unite! BTW, a well reasoned and thought out posting by Justin!


  7. Demodaysi · · Reply

    In response to “avotefor richisavoteforscott,” Two examples why Rich supporters know she can win against name recognition and money: Name- Alex Sink vs Rick Scott, and money-Eric Cantor vs David Brat.


  8. Tom Bryson · · Reply

    When this or any political contest is turned into a battle of negatives as Crist V Scott would be, the outcome is determined by the two GOTV efforts. Crist has a real disadvantage here. Republicans vote and enmity toward Crist will encourage turnout for Scott.. Democrats have a poor record of voting in off year elections and are rightly skeptical of the Crist epiphany. Additionally there are 1.1 million presumably Democratic votes rejecting Charlie in 2010 as well as hard feelings over Charlie’s destruction of the Meek candidacy.


  9. Interesting Read


  10. […] in these last few weeks, Crist is making headlines for dropping in the polls and getting off to a shaky start overall this summer. Even though the release of his first […]


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