Republican Gov. Rick Scott has opened up a 5-point lead over Democratic rival Charlie Crist as a newTampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll finds Florida voters mostly optimistic about the state’s economic direction but decidedly sour on their gubernatorial choices.
Scott received support from 40.9 percent of those surveyed, Crist drew 35.7 percent and Libertarian Adrian Wyllie 6.3 percent. When asked to choose between only Scott and Crist, Scott’s lead grew to 6 points over Crist, 43.7 percent to 37.6 percent.
An overwhelming seven in 10 voters said the governor “can do a lot” about the state’s economy, while 48.7 percent said Florida’s economy is recovering and another 25.2 percent said it will recover soon.
“If I were Rick Scott, I’d be playing up the economy as he has been. I would take this poll result and I would run with it,” said Dr. Christopher McCarty, director of the UF Survey Research Center and director of the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
The poll suggests Crist would be wise to try and debunk Scott’s efforts to take credit for Florida’s improving economy, as well as to press his slight advantage over Scott as the candidate perceived as understanding voters’ problems.