Poll: Crist Leads Scott in Fla. Governor's Race

Poll: Crist Leads Scott in Fla. Governor's Race
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Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist -- who switched parties and endorsed Barack Obama for re-election in 2012 -- leads current Republican Gov. Rick Scott by eight percentage points in the Sunshine State's upcoming gubernatorial race, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.

Scott has the support of 38 percent of voters, lagging behind Crist’s 46 percent. While Scott has improved his standing from March, when he trailed by some 16 points, he has lost some ground since a November poll showed him just seven points behind his predecessor in the governor’s mansion. (Crist chose not to seek re-election in 2010, instead launching an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate seat won by Marco Rubio.)

Scott has trouble with two key demographics: women and independent voters, who prefer his opponent by 50-34 and 48-32, respectively. Men are divided almost evenly, with 43 percent supporting Crist and 42 backing Scott. Democrats and Republicans both strongly back their nominee, though Crist, a former Republican, is able to peel off 12 percent of the GOP vote.

Scott leads among white voters, 46 percent to 39 percent. But Crist maintains a comfortable 66-25 margin with African-American and Hispanic voters.

A narrow percentage of voters think Crist would handle jobs and the economy -- a critical issue for Floridians -- better than Scott.

“Almost a third of voters say the economy/jobs is the most important issue in the governor's race,” explained Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Most voters are satisfied with the way things are going in the state and more are optimistic than pessimistic about the future, but at this point Gov. Scott isn’t getting any credit for that good feeling.”

The survey of 1,565 registered voters was conducted Jan. 22-27 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. 

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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