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New Poll Shows Charlie Crist with Slight Lead Over Gov. Scott


A new poll by Saint Leo University shows Charlie Crist with a slight lead in his quest to recapture the governor's mansion from Rick Scott.

The poll shows the former governor leades the current governor by a margin of 43 to 39 percent - which is just within the margin of error. But Scott is closing the gap since December, according to the Saint Leo University Polling Institute. Then, Crist led Scott 46 to 34, or by 12 points. The new poll shows an 8-point swing in Scott’s direction, though the incumbent Republican still trails Crist.

"Our polling shows good news for Governor Scott, as he's been able to take a sizable chunk out of Charlie Crist's lead,” said Frank Orlando, political science instructor at Saint Leo University. “Governor Scott has shored up some Republican voters, but he's also doing about as well among independents and members of the opposing party as Mr. Crist. This is surprising, considering the fact that Crist, a former Republican, was expected to do well among Republicans and independents.”

Orlando added: “It's also important to note that according to our polling, Floridians strongly disapprove of the job that President Obama is doing in the White House. This type of national feeling can make its way into state and local elections by damaging the party's brand name.  If President Obama's approval ratings continue to fall, Scott will profit at the polls."

Here's some other numbers from Saint Leo's Polling Institute:

Scott’s overall favorability rating is 48 percent favorable and 47 percent unfavorable. Scott’s approval rating among Republicans is 79/18 – up a net of 22 points since the December poll. His overall job approval rating is 45/47 and 75/21 among Republicans – up 20 points since December. Then, Scott led Crist among Republicans, 65-17 (+48). Now Scott leads 75-13 (+62), a 14 point swing. By contrast, President Obama’s job approval rating in the state is 39/60 in the most recent poll, slipping since 44/53 in December On policy issues, a majority of voters, 52 percent, say that knowing a member of Congress had voted for the Affordable Care Act would make them less likely to vote for that person. Twenty- nine percent said they would be more likely to vote for such a member of Congress. There is a strong partisan intensity gap on the issue, with 87 percent of Republicans saying support for the ACA would make them less likely to vote for a member of Congress, and 52 percent of Democrats say support for the ACA would make them more likely to vote for a member of Congress. Seventy-seven percent of Republicans say they are “much less likely” to vote for a pro-ACA member, and 27 percent of Democrat “much more likely” to vote that way. On immigration, a majority of Florida voters support a path to legal status for illegal or undocumented immigrants, but a strong minority opposes allowing this population to remain in the United States under any conditions. “Florida Republicans are more likely than our national sample of Republicans to support a path to legal status. Fifty-five percent of Florida Republicans support a path to legal status while 37 percent think this population should not be allowed to stay in the United States. Nationally, the numbers are nearly reversed (39 percent support a path to legal status, while 54 percent say this population should not be allowed to remain in the United States,” said Saint Leo political scientist Orlando.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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