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Q-Poll: Rick Scott still trails Charlie Crist

The race is official, but the results are the same.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott is trailing Democratic candidate Charlie Crist in a new Quinnipiac University survey of voters released Thursday that finds the former governor ahead of the current one, 47 percent to 40 percent.

The edge for Crist is slightly smaller than the last time the school polled in the race last June, when 47 percent of voters surveyed favored Crist and 37 percent favored Scott.

Scott's negatives still outweigh his positives in the poll, with 42 percent of those surveyed approving his job performance and 47 percent disapproving. That is slightly worse than in June, when his the disapproval rating was 43-to-42 percent.

And despite the months-long campaign by the Republican Party of Florida to trash Crist's record when he was governor from 2007 through 2010, 53 percent of voters said they approved of his job as governor, compared to 36 percent who disapproved.

After nearly a year of speculation, Crist officially jumped into the race earlier this month and has started frantically fundraising -- grossing $872,000 in soft money in the first two weeks alone.

Scott has raised close to $20 million and is expected to spend as much as $100 million on his race, potentially making Florida's 2014 gubernatorial showdown one of the costliest and high-profile in the nation.

The survey found Crist would easily defeat fellow Democrat Nan Rich of Weston in the Democratic primary. The former state senator is the party's only other viable candidate. The survey, though, found Scott would also have a 43 percent-to-35 percent edge over Rich.

In one question, 53 percent of voters said Scott did not deserve to be re-elected, while 37 percent said he did. Democrats by an 83-9 percent margin, heavily oppose Scott's re-election while 70 percent of Republicans support it -- a flip from recent Florida elections where victorious GOP candidates have captured more Democratic support than vice versa.

Independents also weren't enamoured with the governor, with 56 percent saying he did not deserve another four years and 36 percent saying he did.

When asked how they would vote, those edges narrow.

In the matchup with Crist, Scott takes Republicans 80-11 percent while Crist takes Democrats 86-4 percent. Independent voters go 44 percent for Crist and 41 percent for Scott.

"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.
 
"But Crist still does better among Democrats than Scott does among Republicans and holds his own among independents. The winner will be the one who does best among his own partisans and carries independents."

Separately, voters support 82-to-16 percent allowing adults to medicinal use of marijuana if it is prescribed by a doctor.

That ballot question is being pushed by Crist's employer, Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan. Business groups have questioned whether he was doing so to help Crist by driving more Democratic voters to the polls. But the survey suggests GOP voters also heavily support the question.

Support is overwhelming among every group surveyed, the school's polling institute reported, ranging from 70-26 percent among Republicans to 90-10 percent among voters 18 to 29 years old.

"If the folks who want to legalize medical marijuana in Florida can get their proposal on the ballot, they are overwhelmingly favored to prevail next November," Brown said.

Florida voters also still support the "Stand Your Ground" law 60 - 34 percent. Support is 66 - 29 percent among white voters and 56 - 36 percent among Hispanic voters, with black voters opposed 56 - 35 percent.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,646 registered voters from Nov. 12-17 with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points. The survey includes 544 Democrats with a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points. 
 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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