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Poll: Florida Governor's Race in Dead Heat

Image: Poll: Florida Governor's Race in Dead Heat
Former Florida Governor and Democratic candidate for Governor Charlie Crist, left, and Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 08:42 AM

Following two highly acrimonious debates between Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott and his Democratic opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows the men are locked in a virtual dead heat.

Each man gets 42 percent of the vote, according to the poll of likely voters, with Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie getting 7 percent. With Wyllie out, the poll shows Scott and Crist locked again at 44 percent apiece.

A month ago, a Quinnipiac poll showed Scott with 44 percent of likely voters compared to Crist's 42 percent.

The closely watched race for the top job of the fourth largest state has been the subject of national news, most notably on Oct. 15 when a televised debate almost got sidelined after Scott took the stage at least six minutes past the scheduled time because he was upset over the portable black fan placed at the foot of Crist's lectern, which purportedly was not permitted as part of the debate conditions.

The Scott campaign maintained that the governor didn't come out because he believed Crist was in an "emergency meeting with organizers pleading for his precious fan."

Monday night's debate in Jacksonville also turned personal, when the men sparred over who grew up poorer.

Crist said his family struggled while his father attended medical school, suggesting that Scott grew up with a silver spoon "flying around on a private jet" and "living in an oceanfront mansion," making it impossible for him to relate to low-income Floridians.  Scott scoffed at that narrative, telling the audience that "Charlie grew up with plenty of money," and said his own family also fell on tough times, at one point losing their car.

The debates don't appear to be helping either candidate's favorability polls, according to Quinnipiac, which reports that 47 percent of likely voters view Crist unfavorably, compared with 48 percent holding the same view of Scott.

Just 10 percent of likely voters in the poll say they might change their minds before the election. Ninety-two percent of Crist voters say their mind is made up, compared with 90 percent of Scott voters.

Crist, who was a Republican and then an Independent before becoming a Democrat, garners more women's votes — 45 percent said they favored the former governor — while 46 percent of men favor Scott.

The most recent poll of 984 likely voters was conducted Oct. 14-20.

"There are no nice guys in this race, since neither Scott nor Crist are viewed favorably," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll. "The Florida governor's race challenges the idea that voters won't vote for a candidate they don't like. In the Sunshine State this year, voters definitely are voting for the lesser of two evils."

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Following two highly acrimonious debates between Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott and his Democratic opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows the men are locked in a virtual dead heat.
Florida, governors, race, midterms, charlie crist, rick scott
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2014-42-22
Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 08:42 AM
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