Charlie Crist easily beats Rick Scott in Florida poll

New poll shows Charlie Crist well-positioned to retake his old seat. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg New)
New poll shows Charlie Crist well-positioned to retake his old seat. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg New)

Former Florida governor Charlie Crist might be making a comeback in 2014. A new Quinnipiac poll finds that the Republican turned independent turned Democrat leads Gov. Rick Scott (R) 50 to 34 percent among registered voters in the state.

By a 50 to 40 percent margin, Florida voters say that Crist's party switching is a positive thing because it shows he is a pragmatist who can change with the times and issues, not a negative thing because it shows he has no core beliefs.

"These numbers indicate Republicans will have a tough job turning around Crist's lead over Scott by reminding voters of Crist's evolution," pollster Peter Brown said.

Former Florida chief financial officer Alex Sink, who lost to Scott in 2010, also leads the governor but by a smaller 45 to 34 percent margin.

Only 32 percent of voters think Scott deserves a second term and is approval rating is underwater at 36 to 49 percent. However, a potential primary challenge from Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam does not seem like much of a threat: Scott tops Putnam 47 to 24 percent in the GOP primary.

The Fix explained recently why Crist has a good shot at the nomination of a party he joined less than four months ago. There's a relatively thin Democratic bench in the state, and Crist's support for President Obama's reelection has earned him goodwill among party insiders. The election is well over a year away, but polls like this one will likely help Crist cement Democratic support.

The survey of 1,000 registered voters has a 3.1 percent margin of error. The Republican sample was 353 voters with a 5.2 percent margin of error.

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Sean Sullivan | March 19, 2013