(CNN) – A new poll in what may end up being the marquee gubernatorial battle of 2014 indicates Democratic challenger and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist with a single digit lead over incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday, 47% of Sunshine State voters say they'd vote for Crist if the 2014 election were held today, with four in 10 saying they'd vote for Scott, who was elected governor in 2010.
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But Crist's seven percentage point advantage is down from a 10-point lead over Scott in a June Quinnipiac survey and a 16-point lead in March in matchups that were hypothetical at the time.
Last month Crist, who served four years as a Republican governor, announced his Democratic challenge to Scott.
According to the poll, Scott has an underwater 42%-47% approval rating, and by a 53%-37% margin voters say he doesn't deserve to be re-elected.
Voters approve 53%-36% of the job Crist did as governor.
Florida voters are divided 46%-49% on whether Crist's party shifts are positive or negative.
"Voters currently think Crist was a good governor and are evenly split on whether they see his party switching as evidence he is a pragmatist or lacks core beliefs," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"To catch Crist, Scott is going to have to convince Florida voters that Crist was a bad governor and a political opportunist. And he is planning on spending tens of millions of dollars on television ads to make that argument. This will be an intensely negative campaign on both sides. The survivor will be the candidate voters dislike least on Election Day."
Crist, then a Republican, was elected governor of Florida in 2006, succeeding two-term GOP Gov. Jeb Bush. In March of 2009, Crist announced he would run for an open U.S. Senate seat in 2010 rather than for a second term as governor.
While he started out as the overwhelming frontrunner to win the GOP Senate nomination, his hugging of President Barack Obama at a February 2009 event in Florida to promote federal stimulus spending came back to hurt him with conservatives.
After falling way behind former state lawmaker and one-time longshot candidate Marco Rubio in the race for the Republican nomination, Crist left the GOP in April 2010 and continued his Senate bid as an independent candidate. He ended up losing a three-way general election battle to Rubio, who's become a star among conservatives.
Last year Crist endorsed Obama's re-election campaign, and at the end of the year he formally became a Democrat.
Scott, a former health care executive, spent more than $75 million of his own money to narrowly capture the governor's office in 2010, in a close contest with Democrat Alex Sink, the state's former chief financial officer.
The 57-year-old Crist isn't the only Democrat running for the party's nomination. Former state Sen. Nan Rich, 71, of Broward County, is also making a bid.
The poll indicates Crist topping Rich 60%-12% in the Democratic primary. The poll also indicates Scott leading Rich 43%-35% in a hypothetical general election showdown.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted Nov. 12-17, with 1,646 registered voters in Florida questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.
Besides for Scott's policies being an utter failure, his government's handling of the Trayvon Martin case is appalling. Crist did what was necessary for his state to recover from the financial crisis and got castrated by republicans. He's absolutely right when he says "the republican party left him."
lesson folks we need governors that will be on the peoples side, and not just catering to big corporations. the repubs will suck up the praises of their state balancing the budget on the poor and middle class, but put the blame on obama of their citizens going into poverty by record numbers. the poor is more numerous now than anytime in history, yet these repubs are going around talking about how good their states are. all they do is cut cut cut, and leave local economies in shambles.
After Scott gets voted out of office, will someone put the man and his cohorts on trial so that justice can finally be served?
Time to clean house. Garbage like Scott need to go!
interesting in that obama now has 47% dependent upon government--47%-interesting how we are headed towards a big government or big brother does it all--which has never worked for any country. Try and get the fraud out of any government program and the liberals will start their "you hate so and so" campaign. Sad how we are GONE WITH THE WIND as a power, in debt instead of loaning money.
Entire this nation goes Democratic, since rethuglicans drag on Wars, Haliburton contracts, Iran-contra affairs looted national treasury. GOP thugs better come to Planet Earth to think of poor American, middle-class.
So a Republican turned Democrat beats a Republican......but that's before the full impact of Obamacare is felt.....and once again CNN.....stop with al of the polls and start actually doing some investigative reporting....please......
Hm, didn't I hear some folks here say that Crist had no chance?
Meantime, CNN, what's up with the prose here? -
"According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday, 47% of Sunshine State voters say they'd vote for Crist if the 2014 election were held today, with four in 10 saying they'd vote for Scott, who was elected governor in 2010."
Was it that hard to write 47-40? 4 in 10 for Scott? And why not 4.7 in 10 for Crist? Pathetic attempt to spin the bad news for your guy.
Hey GOP donors, keep dumping your money down the tiolet for Scott the GOP teaparty loser. Another GOP train wreck coming for the party of stupid with the most incompetent canadates. Scott and the coke head radel will both be kicked out of office in 2014 midterms along with all the GOP tea idiots in the legislature for their incompetence and the loss of 24 billion dallars of OUR money. The GOP really is the garbage of America starting with Scott and tray radel!!!!
As he should.
Proof that we have become a hand out, welfare nation.
Scott has over $100 million to spend on negative ads against Crist. We are being bombarded now, but have yet to see any ad that lists an accomplishment of Scott.
Pour money to Crist!! Let's take back our country..
Gov. Scott will spend ten of millions to convince voters that Former Gov. Crist was not a good govenor. I would think that voters have had a good look at how both have governed and can decide on their own. Get money out of politics and let the People have a real say.
Scott will lose and another governorship turns blue. End of story.
I live in Florida. Rick Scott will obliterate Charlie Crist.
Crist's poll numbers are already slipping. Opposition adds against Charlie Crist have been running in Florida for at least two weeks, maybe longer.
I still see pickup trucks on the road with "Sportsmen For Florida" bumper stickers. That was an NRA (National Rifle Association) campaign to support Charlie Crist when he ran for governor the first time. Yes, that's right, Charlie Crist was supported by the NRA the first time he ran for governor.
That is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Charlie Crist's flip flops. It is hard to believe that Crist is the best thing that the Democrats could find to run for governor.
Scott will lose and another governorship turns blue. End of story.
From you keyboard to Dog's ears Bill, and my entire family plans to do everything in our power to make that happen.