Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Time for a GOP challenger to emerge? New poll says "Rick Scott is in a very bad position"

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Although Public Policy Polling will always be tagged with being "Democratic-leaning," the fact of the matter is they kicked ass with surveys in Florida and throughout the country in 2012. So everyone involved in Florida politics should not dismiss its newest poll, which shows that if the 2014 gubernatorial elections were held today, Charlie Crist would beat Alex Sink in a primary, and then dust off Rick Scott in the general election.

The survey indicates that, so far at least, the majority of Democrats queried have little to no substantive problems with Crist, a Republican his entire political career until three years ago when he went Independent to run against Marco Rubio for a U.S. Senate seat. Last month, the former Florida governor officially became a Democrat.

The survey shows Crist's favorable vs. unfavorable ranking with Democrats to be 73/17, radically improved from a 44/33 ranking in September. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed by Public Policy Polling said they'd vote for him, compared with just 18 percent for Sink, 13 percent for former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, 4 percent for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and just 1 percent for the only declared Democrat in the race, South Florida state Sen. Nan Rich.

But it's the head-to-head match-ups against Florida Gov. Scott that must delight Dems at this early stage: Crist leads Scott 53-39 percent.

Is it too early to think about another Republican getting in the race? Obviously not. And even though conventional wisdom is that neither Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam or CFO Jeff Atwater would dare challenge the incumbent and his tens of millions of dollars in a primary, the question that everybody involved in state GOP politics should ask, is: why not?

According to Public Policy Polling, 40 percent of Republicans surveyed would prefer that someone other than Scott run in the GOP primary.

The pollsters wrote about Scott:

He still hasn't really won over the base voters who didn't support him in the 2010 primary election, and that would leave him vulnerable to a potential primary change. We actually find him trailing in a head to head contest with Allen West, 38/37. And although he has a big lead he's under 50% in a head to head with Pam Bondi as well at 49/25.

The poll also shows Sink comfortably leading Scott, 47-40 percent, but Crist still rates better thank Sink with women voters against the incumbent. In a head-to-head match-up, Sink leads Scott 50-33 percent (extremely impressive) with women voters, but Crist leads Scott by 30 percent, 61-31 percent.

The pollsters spoke to 501 Florida voters between Jan. 11-13.

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