TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – The race for Florida governor is still months away, but in a hypothetical race between Charlie Crist and Rick Scott, the former governor may pull out a very narrow victory.
According to the late Public Policy Polling poll, the Democrat Crist leads Governor Scott by two percentage points. However, that is well within the poll’s margin of error, which makes the race a statistical tie.
Scott has moved more to the political center in recent weeks as he battles for re-election. After several years of austerity, Scott’s office is now pushing more money to teachers and other groups in the critical election year.
However, according to PPP, 51 percent of Floridians still disapprove of Scott’s performance as governor. The problem for Crist is 46 percent still have an unfavorable view of him, which is hurting his ability to open up a lead over Scott.
Crist is positioning himself in a political role that mirrors President Barack Obama’s strategy in the state after the president won Florida in 2008 and 2012. Crist is supporting gay rights and appears to be the Democratic front-runner, ahead of Nan Rich.
Further down the ticket, Floridians disapprove of Attorney General Pam Bondi’s job performance by a 33-28 percent margin with 39 percent undecided. Attorney General Bondi came into office fighting the Affordable Care Act in court, but lost her battle before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The only politician elected in statewide office to receive a greater approval rating than disapproval rating was Senator Bill Nelson. But even in Senator Nelson’s case, the PPP poll found just a plurality of 40 percent supported his job performance compared to 35 percent who disapproved of it.
Looking at some of the issues that may play a large role in the mid-term Congressional and gubernatorial election gives a slight edge to Democrats.
Floridians, by an overwhelming 65-23 percent margin, support allowing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Floridians also support raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour by a 62-29 percent margin and believe Congress should reinstate long-term unemployment benefits.
By a 47-44 percent margin, Floridians support allowing same-sex marriage in the state with nine percent remaining unsure.
Many Congressional and national Republicans have staked their election chances on the Affordable Care Act failing. In Florida, 49 percent disapprove of the ACA while 40 percent approve and 12 percent remain unsure, according to the PPP poll.
In addition, 62 percent believe the implementation of the ACA has been either somewhat or very unsuccessful.