Poll: Governor’s Race Gets Close Amid Attacks

TALLAHASSEE  (CBSMiami/NSF) – With the campaign dominated by a barrage of back-and-forth attacks, Democrat Charlie Crist’s lead over Republican incumbent Rick Scott has narrowed in the race for Florida governor, a new poll shows.

Crist leads Scott by a margin of 45 percent to 40 percent in a head-to-head contest, down from a 10-point advantage in April, according to the Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

And in a sign voters could be looking for an alternative amid all the attacks, the race is even tighter when Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie is added to the mix. In a three-way contest, Crist leads with 39 percent, while Scott gets 37 percent and Wyllie receives 9 percent, according to the poll.

“Virtually no one knows much about Wyllie, but there are a lot of Floridians who aren’t keen on either of the major party candidates, Gov. Rick Scott or former Gov. Charlie Crist,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a prepared statement.

With Scott and his allies already pouring millions of dollars into TV ads, the poll shows that attacks on Crist could be having an effect. For example, the poll shows that Crist, a former Republican governor who became a Democrat, is viewed favorably by 40 percent of voters and unfavorably by 42 percent. In April, he was viewed favorably by 43 percent and unfavorably by 36 percent.

Similarly, Crist this month was viewed as honest and trustworthy by 39 percent of voters, down from 45 percent in April.

Scott’s numbers improved slightly, but many voters continue to offer negative opinions about him. As an example, only 40 percent of voters said he deserves to be re-elected, while 51 percent said he does not.

The Connecticut-based Quinnipiac frequently conducts polls in Florida and other states. The new poll was conducted from July 17 to July 21 and included 1,251 registered Florida voters. The margin of error is 2.8 percentage points.

The News Service of Florida’s Jim Saunders contributed to this report.

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