More good news for Democrats out of Florida where former Gov. Charlie Crist has jumped out to six point lead over Republican Gov. Rick Scott 46%-40%.
According to SurveyUSA, “Charlie Crist made news last week when he named a running mate, and that appears to resonate with Florida’s likely voters, who now have Crist 6 points atop Republican Rick Scott, 46% to 40%, according to WFLA-TV’s latest tracking poll in the contest. 2 weeks ago, Crist trailed Scott by 2. As Crist has enjoyed nonstop media attention over the past 5 days, which happen to coincide with SurveyUSA’s field period for this survey, Crist’s poll numbers benefited as well. In 8 WFLA-TV / SurveyUSA tracking polls going back to 04/15/14, Crist has led on 5 occasions, though never by as much as the 6 points he does today. Scott has led in 3 of the 8 tracking polls, though never by more than 2 percentage points.”
Crist’s selection of Annette Taddeo to be his running mate has increased his support with women by seven points. Crist now leads Gov. Scott by ten points with women. Crist has also gained seven points with men and is now tied with Gov. Scott. Among moderates, Crist has seen his lead grow from thirteen to twenty-two points in the last two weeks. Former Gov. Crist has gained ten points with Independents and is now tied with Scott.
Rick Scott’s base of support has been limited to solidly right-wing Republican voters. Scott has stumbled by repeatedly refusing to answer questions from the media over the last few weeks. He also broke the law by confusing on duty police officers into appearing on stage at a campaign event with him.
Charlie Crist does have his biggest lead in any SurveyUSA poll of the race. He has also led in the majority of the tracking polls. Rick Scott’s inability to build a lead against Crist is a sign of weak incumbent. Governor Scott’s best hope for reelection has been his plan to spend $100 million on his campaign. Scott is following the Mitt Romney model. He has been relying on a pro-Scott committee named Let’s Get To Work to spend millions on his behalf. Let’s Get To Work has spent $18.8 million since March, and $1.4 million on media buys from July 5-July 11.
Former Gov. Crist’s running mate is straight out of central casting. Taddeo is a Hispanic working mom who converted to Judaism in her 20s. She also runs her own small business and is a talented Democratic fundraiser. One couldn’t script a better embodiment of the ideological contrast between Democrats and Republicans.
There will be a 60 day sprint to the General Election after each party holds their primary. If Charlie Crist can withstand the Romneyesque barrage of negative ads that will only accelerate until Election Day, he will have a great chance of returning to the governor’s mansion this November.