Poll: Gov. Rick Scott Pulls Ahead of Charlie Crist in Florida

Image: Poll: Gov. Rick Scott Pulls Ahead of Charlie Crist in Florida

Monday, 07 Apr 2014 04:33 PM

By Joe Battaglia

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Former Gov. Charlie Crist's support of Obamacare is making him less appealing to voters in Florida, more of whom now support Republican incumbent Rick Scott, say the latest poll numbers.

According to a new Voter Survey Service poll commissioned by Sunshine State News, Scott leads Crist 45 percent to 44 percent overall and by 5 points among likely voters in the November election.

Less than two weeks ago, Crist enjoyed a double-digit lead over Scott, according to a poll conducted by St. Leo University.

Crist's slide in the polls coincides with his support of Obama's Affordable Care Act, which has grown increasingly unpopular in Florida. Scott's independent re-election campaign committee, Let's Get to Work, has capitalized with a second television ad attacking Crist for supporting Obamacare.

The committee has made a $2 million TV time purchase to air "The Lie of the Year," a commercial based on the president's now-infamous statement that people who liked their healthcare plans could keep them.

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The VSS poll revealed that 51 percent of Florida voters would be less likely to cast a ballot for a candidate that supports Obamacare. Only 39 percent of respondents said they would vote for a candidate that supports the law.

"The campaigning that’s happening on the ground . . . some of the TV wars have already kicked in," James Lee, VSS president, told Sunshine State News. "The impact of Obamacare and the linkage of Crist to Obamacare certainly is a very important reason why, in this poll, you see Crist losing ground."

The poll also found voter turnout to be on Scott’s side. Scott leads Crist 49 percent to 42 percent with respondents who say they have an excellent or good chance of voting in the November election — numbers outside the poll's 3.46 percentage-point margin of error.

Lee told Sunshine State News that when one factors in that Republicans turned out 6 to 8 points higher than Democrats in 2010, "it really does show the enthusiasm gap clearly favors the Republican Party in a non-presidential year," and that "it’s very easy for me to make the case that this could be a 3- or 4-point lead for Rick Scott right now, not a 1-point lead."

According to the survey of 800 registered Florida voters, conducted between March 31 and April 3, Scott received 83 percent of Republican votes, while Crist received 80 percent of those of Democrats. Crist leads among independent voters 40 percent to 34 percent. Scott was more popular with male voters, 46 percent to 43 percent. Crist led among women, 45 percent to 44 percent.

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