Florida Governor's Race Heats Up, But Is Anyone Listening?

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows former Governor Charlie Crist leading incumbent Rick Scott by 8 points. But, there are other polls that go the other way. Crist and Scott held a defacto debate this week even though the two weren't even in the room at the same time.

In addition to an overall eight point lead former Governor Charlie Crist enjoys a significant lead with independents and women voters.

Rick Scott used his budget unveiling before AP Editors and Writers to criticize rival Charlie Crist at least seven times. "Florida shed more than 800 thousand jobs in the four years before I took office. Taxes increased, debt increased." Crist wasn't in the room but appeared hours later, fighting back with his own critique. "This is a guy who headed a company that ended up having to pay the largest fine for fraud in the history of the United States of America."

The sparring match came one day before a new poll shows Crist leading Scott by 8 points. The poll found men split evenly, but women and independents showing strong support for Crist.

Political Scientist Carol Weissert says it is too early to take the numbers to the bank. "Independents are key, right, in Florida and as you know the number of independents is increasing."

"Governor Rick Scott has been basing his entire campaign so far on an improving economy. One of the surprises in the poll? Only 29 percent say the economy is the most important thing."

While Scott was bashing Crist, the Republican Party of Florida released a web ad it parroted Scott's talking points on the economy.

Until voters start paying attention, all bets are off. The summer will be an important time. and that promises to make the summer hot in more ways than one.

Now political scientists say don't put a lot of weight into this poll it is very, very early and no one is really paying attention and won't be until maybe mid summer.

The governor’s race is expected to be the most expensive in Florida history, but Political Scientist Carol Weissert says both men are so well known, money may not matter.


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