Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican turned Democrat, is ahead of GOP Gov. Rick Scott in this year's gubernatorial race with a 46-38 percent lead, according to a Quinnipiac poll
That is a slightly bigger advantage than in the Nov. 21 Quinnipiac survey, which showed Crist leading Scott 47-40 percent, but well down from March, when Crist was ahead 50-34 percent.
"At least for now, Florida Gov. Rick Scott's comeback against his major Democratic challenger, former Gov. Charlie Crist, has stalled after considerably narrowing the Crist lead in 2013," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"And on several other measurements, Crist gets higher grades from the Florida electorate," Brown added.
Those include handling of the economy and jobs.
"Almost a third of voters say the economy/jobs is the most important issue in the governor's race. Most voters are satisfied with the way things are going in the stage 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 poll also found that Scott gets a negative 41-49 percent job approval rating, his lowest score in nearly a year, and voters say 54-38 percent that the incumbent does not deserve to be reelected.
At the same time, voters approve 53-36 percent of the job Crist did as governor.
Crist served as Florida's Republican governor from 2007-2011 but decided not to seek another term in 2010 so that he could run for the Senate. After losing to Marco Rubio in the GOP primary, Crist left the party and became an independent. He also lost to Rubio in a three-way race in the general election.
In 2012, Crist joined the Democratic Party and endorsed President Barack Obama's re-election bid.
"The best number in this poll for Crist—and the biggest problem for Scott—is that a majority of Florida voters say the current governor does not deserve a second term in Tallahassee. Voters also give Crist a higher job approval for when he ran the state than any approval rating Scott has received in his three years on the job," Quinnipiac's Brown said.
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