Why Charlie Crist’s poll numbers are no reason for panic

First an apology. I had intended to write this piece on Tuesday night, but the amount of time the George Sheldon Campaign is taking up for me delayed me by 36 hours in analyzing this poll. Much has been made of the Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/ UF Graham Center poll that was released the other day. The poll showed a growing lead for Governor Scott, and significant negatives for Governor Crist. Many of our readers and other bloggers have already taken the pollsters to task for methodology. I would do the same, but it is all too easy. My views correspond with pollster Matt Florell’s thoughts posted on Saint Petersblog.

But let’s assume for a minute that the thoughts of Florell, myself and many of our readers are not relevant and this poll was a perfect snapshot of the electorate as it is assumed. The assumptions of course being based on 2010, when Alex Sink did little to fire up the Democratic base and still came within a hair of becoming the first female to be elected Governor in Florida. Now consider that Sink spent much of the campaign positioning herself as a “moderate” or even “Republican lite” candidate who spent very little time and effort on field. The turnout model if it can be defended that the Times/Bay New 9/Graham Center poll took is likely based on 2010.

Charlie Crist has spent the last several months building a ground game that already dwarfs what Sink had on Election Day 2010. Additionally, Crist has chosen to focus on the heaviest Democratic turnout counties in the state with a strong GOTV effort and a populist message. This contrasts with Sink’s milk toast moderate message and her desire to win over middle-of-the-road voters in areas outside the large metropolitan counties.  By Election Day, it is possible Crist and his allies will have spent four time as much in the way of resources than Sink did on the ground game in the most important counties in the state for Democrats. In off-year elections, and even in Presidential cycles winning on the ground matters. As we saw from many pollsters in 2006 and 2012 potential spikes in turnout are not always picked up as polling is often based on similarly constructed past elections.

Governor Crist knows what he must do to win this election. This battle is going to be a turnout war. Sure persuasion matters, but Crist’s campaign is already demonstrating that grassroots energy and messaging for your party base matters more. That is how you win modern elections. In the 1990’s “swing voters” and moderates were the name of the game. In 2014, as President’s Bush and Obama showed us in the last three Presidential cycles, working your base is really what matters.

I am not in a position to predict whether Governor Crist crosses the finish line in this campaign as the victor. But I guarantee you he is not going to lose by five or six points as the Times poll indicates and I can assure our readers that he is going to turn out more Democrats then were brought out in 2010.



  1. Raoul Lowery Contreras · ·

    You are smoking too much John Morgan dope. every poll taken in the past year has one single trend, downward fro Crist, every single one. Turnout on the 26th indicvates the lack of enthusiasm for Chain Gang Charlie. Except when Charlie rode Bush’s coatials in 2002, Charlie has never carried Miami-Dade. He might this time, by a handful of points, not enough to offset the runaway Scott looks to get in Central and Northern Florida. Crist needs to carry Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties by 20 points. That, sir, is impossible.


  2. From your keyboard to gods ears!


    1. I’m going to see what he has to say Friday in Miami. It better be more than just bashing Scott The people there will already be voting for him. He has got to energize the base by telling us what kind of Governor he is going to be..


  3. OrlandoChris · ·

    Why vote between 2 known liars? Florida, we are fortunate enough not to
    be stuck picking one liar or the other this time. We actually have an
    alternative. Take advantage of the opportunity. Adrian Wyllie deserves
    my vote. He is a honest average Floridian just as you and I , that is
    willing to stand up and do something for the interest of all of us here
    in Florida. The other candidates both Republican and Democrat are owned
    and controlled by special interest, like puppets and will lie to your
    face to gain your vote, then continue the same old agenda that we
    complain about year after year. Time to get off this merry-go-round,
    election after election, thinking it will be any different. Take a
    stand, vote for the candidate that loves this state and is willing to
    take time out of his life, effort and money to SERVE the people of
    Florida and stop voting for these ‘paid for’ career politicians that are
    only out for money and fame and have zero interest in us Floridians.
    Even if it’s just for honesty alone, vote for Adrian Wyllie instead of
    the other two (Scott/Crist) which are proven liars. The choice is yours
    and yours alone, if you want the same old corruption and slap in the
    face, go ahead and vote for one of the two puppets (Scott/Crist) OR do
    what is right for our (yours and your children’s) future and vote for
    Adrian Wyllie. Support him by donating to his campaign, spreading the
    word and contribute to the super brochure program which I think is very
    powerful. Visit his website today


  4. Dems in Action · ·

    To fire up the base you have to meet with them. Red Zone counties will not see Crist just as we don’t see FDP.


  5. Tom Bryson · ·

    Irrational optimism:

    Money, organized ground games, and name recognition are not magic bullets and in the end are only effective as deal closers. They can get voters to the polls only when the voter wants the product. Charlie needs to make the sale. He will get my vote, but then somebody always does.


  6. “Fewer than 840,000 Democrats voted in the primary. Yet about 952,000 Republicans voted in the GOP primary. So members of the smaller party were more fired up, even though their governor faced no serious opponent.” (“Low turnout was a bad sign for Crist,” http://www.tallahassee.com/story/opinion/columnists/cotterell/2014/09/03/bill-cotterell-low-turnout-bad-sign-crist/15023519/)


  7. demodaysi · ·

    Where is the coordinated campaign to get out the vote. Why isn’t Tant calling a meeting or conference to gather our forces behind Charlie. Win or lose, “FIRE TANT” November 5, 2014.


  8. It is not just Tant. It is Obama and scum bags like Wexler. Wexler and Crist should find a jail they can share with Scott. Wake up people.


    1. Broward Bob · ·

      scumbags is one word. go back to sleep francis.


  9. OrlandoChris · ·

    Dems are being duped. Crist is not a Dem, he is Rep. Wolf in sheep clothing. Don’t fall for the biggest scam in Florida’s history. The best choice we have is to support and vote for Adrian Wyllie. At least he will veto every bill that the Reps put out. Don’t be a part of the scam, don’t be fooled. Spread the word quickly while we still have time.


%d bloggers like this: