Florida's gubernatorial race is too close to call, a new Quinnipiac University Poll
shows, with incumbent GOP Gov. Rick Scott leading Republican-turned-Democrat challenger Charlie Crist by just a few percentage points and with most voters saying they don't trust either one of them.
Out of 991 likely voters polled between Sept. 17-22, Scott scored 44 percent, while Crist, the state's former governor, took 42 percent. Eight percent said they would vote for Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie.
Without Wyllie in the race, the contest is still too close to call, with Scott getting 46 percent of the voters and Crist getting 44 percent in the poll which had a margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.
And while many races hinge on whether voters find candidates to be trustworthy, a full 40 percent of the voters don't think either Scott or Crist are honest and trustworthy. Voters said by 49-37 percent that they don't trust Crist, and by 51-39 percent that they don't trust Scott.
Further, they were divided by 46-45 percent over whether Crist cares about their needs, and 50 percent to 42 percent on whether Scott cares.
"When fewer than four in 10 voters think both the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor are honest, you know this has been one of the nastiest races in state history," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "They have been throwing so much mud that they both are covered in it.
The poll numbers were closer for Quinnipiac than they were in a Public Policy Polling survey earlier this month
, when Scott scored 39 percent of the voters' support to Crist's 42 percent. Libertarian Adrian Wyllie has 8 percent.
Real Clear Politics
has the Florida race in a dead heat overall, with various polls only giving either Scott or Crist one-to-two point leads.
In the Quinnipiac poll, Scott did come out ahead when it comes to leadership qualities.
Voters were almost evenly divided, by 46-44 percent on whether Crist's leadership qualities are strong, but said by 58-34 percent that Scott is a strong leader.
The race may well hinge on independent voters, though. Scott came out ahead of Crist by 44-37 percent of independents, with 11 percent for Wyllie. Scott holds an expected strong lead among Republicans, by 80-11 percent, with 11 percent for Wyllie, and Crist leads Democrats by 83-7 percent, with 6 percent for Wyllie.
"The two voter groups that will tell the tale of the election are independent voters and those who are backing Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie," said Brown, as Scott and Crist "are doing about the same with their respective party bases and former Republican Crist is not having any trouble being accepted by members of his new party."
The vote is closely divided among women, with 43 percent for Crist, 41 percent for Scott and 8 percent for Wyllie. Men chose Scott by 48-40 percent, with 8 percent for Wyllie.
Meanwhile, voters mainly said their minds are made up, with 81 percent saying they've decided who they are voting for, but 17 percent saying they could change their minds by November.
But Wyllie's voters are the "bigger unknown," said Brown, "because there is little way of predicting if they will stay with the third-party challenger or decide to switch to Scott or Crist in order to be with a winner."
Wyllie is also suffering a recognition problem, the poll shows, with 86 percent of the voters polled saying they do not know enough about him to form an opinion.
Meanwhile, both Crist and Scott got negative favorability ratings, with Crist coming in at 41-49 percent and Scott at 42-48 percent.
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