With Charlie Crist and his PAC's expected to begin airing more ads with less than nine weeks to go before the general election, the ad war on broadcast and cable television in the Florida gubernatorial race is set to go into overdrive.
But first out of the shoot post Labor Day is a new, positive 30-second ad from the Republican Party of Florida advocating for the re-election of Governor Rick Scott. It features Governor Scott comparing and contrasting his record over the past four years in office with Charlie Crist's.
It's called "Right Direction." Watch:
In the ad, Scott reiterates some of his main talking points that he uses in his campaign stump speech; That Florida is in much better shape when it comes specifically to jobs, noting that under former Governor Crist the Sunshine State "lost" 832,000 jobs.
He also boasts about his proposal to cut taxes by $500 million this year, $400 million of that coming from rolling back vehicle-registration fees that were increased in 2009 by the Republican-led Legislature and signed off on by then Governor Crist. That cut will result in annual savings of around $25 to most people in Florida who will register their car.
Cutting taxes and an improved economy are always solid foundations for an incumbent to run on, and no doubt are contributing to Scott's five-point lead in a new poll published today by the Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll, showing the governor up 41-36 percent.
Of course, the facts on the ground are that the economy in the U.S., and certainly in Florida was in complete free-fall throughout most of Crist's tenure in office, starting first with the sub-prime mortgage crisis and then followed by the financial meltdown in 2008. But that's something that Crist is going to have to remind voters about when these statistics are thrown in his face.
Perhaps most alarming about the poll is that it shows that Scott has a double-digit lead over Crist in the Tampa Bay area. Crist lives in St. Petersburg and it's long been a maxim in Florida politics that the I-4 corridor decides elections. If this poll is at all accurate, then the former governor is definitely in trouble. However the Times notes in their story accompanying the poll that "the margin of error is considerably higher for subgroups in the poll," referring to segmenting the aggregate poll results into smaller categories.
The breakdown of those surveyed shows that more Republicans (35 percent identified as Republicans, 30 percent as Democrats and nearly 26 percent as independents) responded than Democrats, but that makes sense since historically the R's vote in higher numbers in off-year elections in Florida, and nothing has happened so far this year to indicate that might be different in 2014.