Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott is trailing Democratic challenger Charlie Crist by 7 points in his bid for re-election next year, and more than half of voters think he does not deserve to be re-elected, a new poll has found.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll
conducted Nov. 12-17, 47 percent of 1,646 registered state voters said they would back Crist, Florida's previous governor, compared to 40 percent who support Scott.
That lead is down slightly from June, when the same poll showed Crist leading by 47 percent to 37 percent, and a March poll which gave Crist a 50 percent to 34 percent lead over Scott.
Meanwhile, 53 percent of voters say Scott does not deserve to be re-elected, compared to 37 percent who think he does.
Also, Scott's job approval rating continues to be negative, with 47 percent of respondents saying they disapprove of the job he is doing compared to 42 percent who approve.
"Former Gov. Charlie Crist remains ahead in the race to be the state's next governor, but his lead over incumbent Gov. Rick Scott has narrowed since March," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"The winner will be the one who does best among his own partisans and carries independents."
Crist — Florida's GOP governor from 2007-2011 — chose to run for U.S. Senate in 2010 instead of seeking re-election. He lost to Marco Rubio in the Republican primary, then ran again in the general election as an independent and lost to Rubio again.
Shortly after his defeat, Crist joined the Democratic Party and went on to support President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election bid.
"Voters currently think Crist was a good governor and are evenly split on whether they see his party switching as evidence he is a pragmatist or lacks core beliefs," Brown said. "To catch Crist, Scott is going to have to convince Florida voters that Crist was a bad governor and a political opportunist."
On other subjects, the survey found:
- 82 percent of Floridians support allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical use if prescribed by a doctor, compared to 16 percent who are against it
- 48 percent compared to 46 percent think adults should be allowed to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use compared to 46 percent who oppose it
- 60 percent, compared to 34 percent, continue to support the state's "Stand Your Ground" law
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