It might have seemed that Rick Scott's defeat in the 2014 gubernatorial race was pretty much a done deal a year before the campaigns even really began, but the latest poll shows Scott might not be such a pushover. The poll of 600 registered voters conducted earlier this month shows Scott is in an exact tie with possible Democratic candidate Charlie Crist, and we should note these numbers come from a Democratic polling firm.
The poll is also the first in a long time to show Scott with positive favorability ratings, albeit barely.
- Is Charlie Crist Florida's Next Governor?
According to Politico, the Hamilton Campaigns poll has Scott and Crist tied at 41 percent each.
The poll shows 44 percent saying they view Scott favorably, with only 39 percent having an unfavorable opinion.
Meanwhile, 49 percent view Crist favorably, and 31 percent view him unfavorably.
The poll also matches Scott against lower-profile Democrats such as former state CFO Alex Sink, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings, and Rep. Kathy Castor. None beat Scott.
None of those candidates beat Crist in a hypothetical primary either, with 43 percent of Democrats saying they'd vote for Crist. Sink came in second with 14 percent, and Diaz came in fourth with just 4 percent.
Interestingly, however, the poll also included a number of questions probing Crist's background:
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But the poll also asks a question aimed at probing Crist's general election weaknesses, prompting voters with the information that Crist "was a hard-line Republican, appointing right-wing justices to the Florida Supreme Court, supporting the failed policies of George W. Bush and opposing Barack Obama's first election." Now, the question continues, Crist "wants Democrats to give him his old job back. He is a typical politician who will do or say anything to stay in power."
Some 62 percent of voters say that information is either "somewhat concerning" or "very concerning." In a match-up with Scott after that question is posed, Crist drops to 30 percent of the vote versus 36 percent for Scott, while 18 percent of voters said they would opt for an unnamed independent candidate.
Interesting stuff coming from a firm that usually conducts internal polls for established Democrats. Hamilton Campaigns told Politico that it was a leaked poll conducted for a private client and that the client is not a presumed candidate for governor.
Seems like someone in the Florida Democratic Party might be trying to drive the point home that Crist has some extreme vulnerabilities and isn't a sure thing to beat Scott.