It's actually kind of hilarious how far Republican candidates try to flee from any connection to Charlie Crist considering that the former Governor remains modestly popular among Floridians who are not true believers in the conservative moment. In fact, he's a lot more popular than our current, strictly conservative Republican Gov. Rick Scott, or at least that's what a poll that matches the two up in a hypothetical 2014 governor's race leads us to believe.
"Supposing for a moment that the election for governor of Florida was held today and the candidates were.... Rick Scott, running as the Republican.... and Charlie Crist, running as the Democrat candidate... which one would you vote for?" Florida Opinion Research recently asked registered voters according to Naked Politics.
48.1 percent say they'd vote for Charlie (who we should point out is not actually a Democrat). Just 34.1 say they'd vote for Rick Scott.
Of course, 60.3 percent of Republicans say they'd vote for Scott, but what's amazing is that 74.3 percent of Democrats say they'd vote for Crist. So, Crist is actually more popular among voters of a party he is not, nor has ever been a member of than Scott is in his own party. Of course, Democrats may just be eager to vote for anyone but Scott.
Crist leads among independents, African-Americans and whites in the poll.
Aside from Republicans, the only lead Scott has is among Hispanics. It's a narrow 37.9 to 35.3 lead, but still noteworthy since Scott lead his gubernatorial campaign with a promise to bring anti-Hispanic, Arizona-style Immigration laws to Florida. Of course, Scott hasn't actually made much headway on that particular campaign promise (thank you), and Cuban-Americans are not as affected by immigration laws.
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Though, maybe we shouldn't read too much into this poll as pointing to Crist's popularity, as we should pointing to Scott's unpopularity. A trained dog could probably beat him at this point.
Though, if we were a Republican candidate hoping to actually win in a general election, we wouldn't spend nearly as much time distancing ourselves from Crist as we would distancing ourselves from Scott. That guy seems to be electoral poison.