Poll: Florida's Crist at 50% in possible comeback
March 20th, 2013
09:47 AM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Florida's Crist at 50% in possible comeback

(CNN) - Could it be back to the future for former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist?

That's the suggestion from a new poll, which indicates the Republican turned Democrat is leading the Sunshine State's current GOP governor in a hypothetical 2014 election showdown.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll, 50% of Florida registered voters say they would back Crist, running as a Democrat, with 34% supporting Gov. Rick Scott, if next year's gubernatorial contest was held today.

And the survey indicates that half of Florida voters say Crist's switch from Republican to independent and now to Democrat is a positive thing that shows he's a pragmatist, with four in ten saying it's a negative move which shows he lacks core beliefs.

Crist, then a Republican, won election as governor in 2006. Three years later he decided to run for the Senate in 2010 rather than make a bid for re-election as governor. At first he was the overwhelming favorite in the race, but thanks in part to his 2009 embrace of President Barack Obama at an event pushing the federal stimulus, which was despised by many Republicans, Crist fell far behind one time long-shot former state lawmaker Marco Rubio by the end of the year.

Crist then left the GOP and ran for the Senate as an independent, in a three-way contest that was won by Rubio. Last year he backed Obama in the presidential election, spoke at the Democratic National Convention, and late last year officially changed his party affiliation to Democrat, a big signal that he was interested in running for governor in 2014.

"I didn't leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me," Crist said on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," at the time, repeating a line he used at the Democratic National Convention. "Issue after issue they seem to get more strident and more difficult."

"The fact that voters think it's an asset that former Gov. Charlie Crist moved from conservative Republican to a Democrat with very different political views will be a key metric to watch between now and the 2014 voting," says Quinnipiac University Polling Institute assistant director Peter Brown. "These numbers indicate Republicans will have a tough job turning around Crist's lead over Scott by reminding voters of Crist's evolution."

The Quinnipiac poll also indicates that Alex Sink, who as the state's chief financial officer, lost to Scott in the 2010 election, leads him 45%-34% in a hypothetical rematch.

Only 32% say that Scott deserves a second term in office and only 36% say they approve of the job he's doing as governor.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted March 13-18, with 1,000 registered voters in Florida questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report


Filed under: Charlie Crist • Florida
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Good. FL needs to dumb the Medicare Fraud Gargoyle and get a freekin clue.

    March 20, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. Name Carl

    Charlie Crist seems like a good person hope he wins for Gov of Florida..

    March 20, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Anybody is better than Scott who has cost Florida millions of jobs and federal funds for high speed rail and education and now healthcare and vote rigging and voter lines ,the gop garbage is going to get trashed in the next elections and Rubio will be thrown out with the rest of the gop teaparty garbage!!!

    March 20, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. Facts don't Lie

    heck at this point I think almost ANYBODY would poll over 50% against Rick Scott who appears to be the least liked governor at this point in the nation. If he gets booted out I pray that he takes our "guvner" Rick Perry with him.

    March 20, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. Borderless

    He's just trying out different brands to see which one will give him a win. Pathetic. No respect.

    March 20, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. MaryM

    You have our vote Charlie

    March 20, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. nothing new here

    The voters in Florida are having buyers remorse – good.
    It should teach people to start voting for good governmentl/civic leaders, and not just wannabe preachers.

    March 20, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. Marcuscassius

    I love how, after 8 years of destroying the country and four years of obstructing and blaming, the Republicans suddenly realize that America really was watching. The only people that vote Republican are the fools that watch Fox and the rich that get all the goodies. Now, after losing their base the Reps run over to the Dems to save them. Disgusting spinless wimps. That goes for those that voted and vote for them.

    March 20, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. Puddin

    I hope Crist runs and wins the governorship. The current govenor leaves a lot to be desired.

    March 20, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. HenryB

    I hope Crist wins. Then we can get rid of this Scott fellow. What a tool this T-party guy is.

    March 20, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  11. Malory Archer

    Right on Charlie! The people of Florida have your back and will work dilligently to run the entire Skeletor administation OUT of Tallahassee – and with any luck, straight into the arms of Federal law enforcement authorities! Message to the Fed: Should this come to pass, I suggest you bring a few buses to ensure you have enough room for the rethug Legislature as well!

    March 20, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  12. Florida Joe

    Yes, we need Charlie and get rid of that clown Scott. Scott is a disaster

    March 20, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. rla

    Yep just get another dimocrat that use our FREE money to pacify the MOB == Wonder what happens when the FREE money runs out? IT WILL HAPPEN.. Florida is a job creating state with Scott and the budget is under control- everything democrats and their progressive lemmings hate!

    March 20, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  14. Malory Archer

    Sniffit

    Good. FL needs to dumb the Medicare Fraud Gargoyle and get a freekin clue.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Our illustrious Speaker of the Florida house has been writing op-eds for the last few weeks about why Florida should NOT expand Medicaid, yet his family were recipients of hundreds of thousands of Medicaid dollars when his brother was treated for cancer. It was okay for his family, but not for anyone else. Another thing: he has no other job, so his $31k salary is his bread & butter, yet he lives in a $500k house. He did, however, marry "well".

    March 20, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  15. Joe

    Refreshing to know that America is waking up. Good-bye GOP....you lost your way.

    March 20, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  16. Not_an_Idiot

    Usually I would assume he switched parties just for the votes, but if his message really has changed, then why wouldn't he switch? If your beliefs evolve and are no longer in line with those of your party, it would be more spineless to stay in your party and pander to a base that you don't agree with than to leave the party and join one that is more in line with your new beliefs. I would rather someone's beliefs grow and expand than contract and stay the course that is no longer working.

    March 20, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  17. John in Brooklyn

    Go for it! This is a clear example of how, once branded as a RINO by political fundamentalists in the GOP, Covernor Crist understands that Florida is not the ideological right-wing bastian that the Tea Party wing nuts thought it was.

    March 20, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  18. Malory Archer

    Borderless

    He's just trying out different brands to see which one will give him a win. Pathetic. No respect.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, except he was elected Attorney General and Governor as a rethug, and they had no problem with him at all until he had the UNMITIGATED GALL to shake President Obama's hand in front of the glare of the media. Charlie didn't leave the rethug party – the rethug party left him and all other decent, honorable party members.

    March 20, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Why does it even have to be called a comeback? That desription implies that he "lost" some unnamed something or other. All he did was thank the President. By the right wing's definition, Gov. Christie has done far worse, and his infractions were not a one time thing. I suppose that if you're a right winger, then Crist is mounting a comeback. I see it as a return to politics.

    March 20, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  20. Malory Archer

    nothing new here

    The voters in Florida are having buyers remorse – good.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Don't blame me – I didn't buy the bag of manure skeletor & crew were selling, and therefore am absolved of any responsibility for the damage he's done.

    March 20, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. Pete

    Yah because most of these ignorent republicans that were warned about Scott before election time about this sleeze ball but voted for him anyway have maybe started to wake up!!Scotts been anti everything since his arrival and now in midterms he's doing a turnabout because his advisors said his ratings were below sea level...But now with Crist in the wings people are seeing that something good may come around to Florida after all even if its an exrepublican turned democrate named Crist who definitly looks more appealing than that cadaver looking stiff called Scott!!

    March 20, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Why did the people of Florida,who have his back, let this man be crucified simply for shaking the hand of the President of the United States?
    Crist is a good man with a D, R or I after his name. That's a rare find.

    March 20, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I didn't leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me," Crist"

    Been there, done that Chris Christie. Good luck working with your new associates. So far, I've been treated with a heck of a lot more respect than ever I was in the Republican party. I'm a better person for it.

    March 20, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  24. Malory Archer

    Not_an_Idiot

    Usually I would assume he switched parties just for the votes, but if his message really has changed, then why wouldn't he switch?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    His message didn't change – he was cast out by the party because he refused to act like a complete jerk and wag his finger in President Obama's face. Or question his birth certificate.

    March 20, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. Joi Gibson

    Come on back Charlie!!!!! Lurch is an embarrassment to this state, as if we need anything else to be embarrassed about. I especially love how Lurch tried to walk away from the debacle of 8 hour voting lines because of him and his legislature. The man is a complete fool. How my fellow Floridians fell for that charlatan over Alex Sink is beyond comprehension. Especially given the fact that Lurch had to pay back millions because of Medicare fraud. HELLO people! Mid-terms matter. I hope you have learned a lesson (which the rest of us are paying dearly for).

    March 20, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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