Quinnipiac: Rick Scott Trails Charlie Crist for Fla. Governor

Image: Quinnipiac: Rick Scott Trails Charlie Crist for Fla. Governor Gov. Rick Scott, left, and Democrat Charlie Crist. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 07:50 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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The race for Florida’s next governor is tight, but neither of the two leading candidates is wowing voters, according to the results of a new Quinnipiac University Poll.

Democrat Charlie Crist, the Sunshine State’s former governor who held the office as a Republican, has a slight edge, 45 percent to 40 percent, over Republican incumbent Rick Scott, according to the poll results.

Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie could be a foil. With Wyllie in the race, "the race is too close to call," according to a Quinnipiac statement, with Crist at 39 percent, Scott 37 percent and Wyllie 9 percent. The poll's margin of error is 2.8 percentage points.

"Libertarian Adrian Wyllie is not, at this point, a serious contender to win the governorship," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, said in the statement. "But he may have a great deal to say about who does win. Virtually no one knows much about Wyllie, but there are a lot of Floridians who aren’t keen on either of the major party candidates, Gov. Rick Scott or former Gov. Charlie Crist."

Forty-five percent of voters surveyed hold an unfavorable view of Scott. Crist garners a 42 percent unfavorable rating.

Crist is viewed as more compassionate than Scott (48 percent to 36 percent) but his evolving party affiliation, from Republican to independent to Democrat, is viewed as a negative for 45 percent of voters surveyed.

A large percentage said both men were not honest and trustworthy: 48 percent for Crist, 51 percent for Scott.

"Scott and Crist have been saturating the airwaves with negative ads about each other," Brown said in the statement. "An old campaign maxim holds that you can’t throw mud without getting dirty yourself and that seems to be what’s happening here."

Crist pulled ahead after a week in which Florida TV stations aired footage of Scott dodging reporters’ questions coupled with the Crist campaign flooding airwaves with negative ads, The Miami Herald reported. Crist got an extra bump by the announcement of Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chair Annette Taddeo as his running mate, according to the newspaper.

SurveyUSA editor Jay Leve told the Herald that he expects the race to "settle back to a near tie" assuming there are no major errors by Scott and the positive news coverage for Crist diminishes.

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