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PPP: Rick Scott gaining ground -- 10 points since September -- on Charlie Crist


Gov. Rick Scott is gaining ground on former Gov. Charlie Crist in the latest survey from Public Policy Polling, which shows the Democrat leads the incumbent by just 2 percentage points.

In late September, when PPP last polled the Florida race, Crist led by 12 points.

That net loss of 10 for Crist is fueled in great part by Republicans, who appear to be coming home to the once-deeply unpopular Scott.

GOP voters have shifted 22 points in Scott’s direction as the governor solidifies his base, according to a comparison of the two surveys by the firm, which tends to poll for Democrats and liberals.

The poll indicates Democrats have shifted 9 points in Scott’s favor. Independents have barely changed on balance. Put it all together, and Crist’s 58-30 percent lead in September is now 43-41.

Scott’s improvement was bound to happen in Florida, an evenly divided state where close elections are the norm. Indeed, Scott isn't a strong candidate. He barely beats former Weston state Sen. Nan Rich, a Democrat, 40-34 percent.

Still, Scott's fortunes appear to be improving along with the overall condition of the economy. Scott and the Republican Party of Florida also spent money on paid TV ads in November bashing Crist, once a Republican governor, as an “opportunist.”

Recently, the campaign and party have shifted focus and tied Crist closer to Obamacare, which likely helps drive GOP voters farther away from Crist.

PPP also surveyed voters about Obamacare’s rollout, with 62 percent saying it has been unsuccessful and 35 percent successful. By 67-27, voters say Congress shouldn’t cut long-term unemployment compensation insurance. Voters narrowly support gay marriage 47-44 (the case is now in the courts).

In light of a bizarre movie theater shooting in Wesley Chapel, voters by 73-21 percent say guns shouldn’t be allowed in movies.

Also, medical marijuana continues to poll well with 65 percent in favor and 23 percent oppose.

In Attorney General Pam Bondi’s race, she’s clinging to narrow leads of only 2 points over Democrat Perry Thurston and 3 points over George Sheldon.

Though this month’s poll and the one in September were conducted by PPP, there is a change in the firm’s techniques.

PPP conducts surveys using so-called “robo-polls” in which respondents answer questions by pushing buttons on their phones. Robo polls don’t survey cellphones, which are used more by younger people, minorities and liberals when compared to conservatives, non-Hispanic whites and older people, who tend to be more likely to have landlines. So PPP announced in January that 20 percent of its survey respondents are to be reached new Internet-based polling technique, the scientific validity of which is unclear. PPP also came under fire last year from the New Repubulic.

Cellphone polling is so important that Pew Research recently announced it’s conducting a majority of its calls via cellphone.

When The Miami Herald joined forces with Florida International University to robo-poll Hispanics, we quickly realized it didn’t work for this fastest-growing demographic group, which accounts for about 14 percent of registered voters.

Older Cuban-Americans who tend to vote Republican disproportionately answered the phone, skewing the results to make it appear as if Obama only led Mitt Romney 51-47. Strip out the Cuban-Americans, and Obama’s lead was 65-32 percent.

The exit polls showed the latter results were far more accurate, with Obama winning the Florida Hispanic vote 60-39 percent.

The complications of robo polling Hispanics is clear in the PPP surveys as well.

In September, Crist led Scott by 12 points among Hispanics. Now the poll says Scott leads by 20 points. That’s an astonishing 32-point shift in the absence of paid Spanish-language media or in-depth Hispanic outreach.

Yes, Scott appointed Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera as the first Hispanic lieutenant governor. But for a host of reasons (most people pay no attention to LG picks, Lopez-Cantera isn’t that popular in Miami-Dade, where he barely won in a low turnout election).

Bottom line: the shift in the HIspanic numbers just looks unreal. The sample size of Hispanics is small -- just 77 of them, accounting for about 13 percent of the survey of 591 respondents.

Separately, Libertarians will justifiably complain that candidates like Adrian Wyllie weren’t polled.

Still, given all those caveats, the race appears to be shifting. Quinnipiac University’s poll showed the race tightening (from a 10-point Crist lead to a 7-point edge). Florida is a swing state. Crist still has lots of explaining to do. And Scott is on pace to raise as much as $100 million.

This is shaping up to be like all the other recent big Florida elections: a close one – whether or not PPP lucked into the results or scientifically hit the nail on the head.

As said in this space time and again: It ain't the topline, it's the trend. Right now, the trend is toward Scott.


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ed jenkins

The readers have commented that they do not wish to see opinion surveys printed as news stories which they are not as the only count that matters is that on the day of the election.

It is well known that the citizens of florida despise the scumbag crist for the disastrous condition he left the state in as he pursued selfish goals. That is why us democrat primary voters are confused and disgusted about him being the assumed choice for party leaders when he clearly cannot win a general election. A party that has not won a governor election for almost 20 years and holds a fraction of the state congress and no statewide offices would be wise to go back to a strategy that worked and find candidates in the Lawton chiles and bob graham tradition. However instead they went with a scumbag crist who all citizens distrust which will only leave this democrat primary voter the choice of voting for the Nancy lady in the primary and if she doesn't win voting for scott who was initially doubted as a political novice but has won over the citizens with his exemplary fiscal management.


Ed you must love a crook like Rick Scott as gov. so he can finish destroying the State of FL.I am no fan of Crist but will vote for him over Turtlehead Scott all Scott has done is try to destroy all public services and bow down to the special money people.You need to look up his deposition on medicare fraud and listen to him not answer the questions.A honest person would answer with the truth.

Indie Thinker

The real story is that Crist has yet to begin a campaign in earnest...has had no ads on TV yet...has been saddled with Obamacare by Scott (though Scott himself came out in favor of Medicaid expansion)...and is STILL up two points.

That's a reflection of how bad Scott is. Just wait until the opposition starts exposing his record.


Why is everyone avoiding the elephant standing in the middle of the room? Are you so afraid of Adrian Wyllie, the Libertarian candidate for Governor, that you are afraid to include him in the polls? There is an alternative to Crist and Scott...and he's for getting the government out of your life and nullifying unConstitutional laws and acts. And as for Bondi...there is an alternative to her, as well...https://www.facebook.com/bill.wohlsifer .

Ken Hamilton

Without including Adrian Wyllie the poll
cannot be considered accurate.


Voting is a suggestion box for slaves. We should reduce government until we are capable of having a free, voluntary society. Nobody will make a better governor. They will never help the homeless. Nobody in the government cares about you. Only charity and capitalism can bring prosperity. If you doubt me, take a ride on the Road to Serfdom.

Danielle Alexandre

If this is the poll that called me, I can tell you that they did not even allow for an "other" or "undecided" option.

When asked which one I supported I said neither. Then I was asked if there were only these two choices which one would I support and I replied neither. Then they asked if I leaned towards one or the other and I said no. Then the question turned into: "Given a scenario in which you had to vote and only Rick Scott and Charlie Crist where your options, which one would you choose?"

I then said I would rather go to jail for not voting than vote for one of them. She said she did not have a place to record that answer.

So these polls are very biased as they usually do not "allow" you to pick anything but one of these two people. I am sure most people just picked one even if they had no intention on voting for them because there was no other way to answer.

matthew macik

wheres adrian wyllie libertarian for florida governor and bill wohlsifer libertarian for florida attorney general

Daniel Shumaker

For more accurate polling, next time include Adrian Wyllie, Libertarian Party candidate for Governor. Floridians do have a choice between the parties of corruption, so indistinguishible that the Democrat is a former Republican. Why not, since there's not a dime's worth of difference between them!

Steven P. Tennimon

Why wasn't Wyllie included in the poll?


This poll result is a one on one match poll.

That is Wyllie nor anyone else is included.

However I suspect Scott would probably poll 95-5 against him.

K Booth

I am a Libertarian justifiably complaining that Wylie wasn't included in the poll. A poll without ALL of the candidates cannot be considered accurate. I will never understand why they are even taken if there is no way to accurately judge the "trend in voting." Include everyone or do not ask my opinion.


This is typical Miami Herald kind of BS. Without including all political parties The Miami Herald chose the money that both Reps & Dems will throw towards their paper.

billybob nobozo

"Libertarians will justifiably complain..."

knowing this, why was it decided to exclude anyone who is valid as a candidate?


Look you fruitcake, no one is falling for your changing your name and posting multiple times so knock it off and no cares about your whackjob candidate that no one is going to vote for. Time to put your drugs away and realize that 3rd party candidates NEVER win elections so we don't need to hear your nonsense anymore.


Why are the Libertarians still being ignored?

John Ortega

It's pretty hard to get 15% in the polls, so you can "qualify" to debate, if your name is not included in the poll. Adrian Wyllie is also running but Democrats and Republicans are terrified to debate him. That's why he's not in the poll, if it's 43%-41%, where do you think the other 16% went?


Why only two candidates in the poll? Those aren't the only two candidates for governor.

Michelle Martin

Adrian Wyllie has my vote as does Bill Wohlsifer for AG.
You might get more accurate results if you polled for all candidates...the LP party is making waves this election cycle...and rightfully so. We are tired of not being able to distinguish between the R and the D.
And for those saying no one is going to be voting for these LP Candidates...Wyllie was polling at nearly 10% - when he is included.

mike Van den Abbeel

if we keep sticking our head in the Miami sand did that mean the libertarian movement will go away? the lack of objectivity is laughable.

Xarrin Corso

Whoa. How come you guys never mention this Adrian Wylie guy? I just checked him out and he has some really good ideas. Seriously better than Scott or Crist. Thanks for pointing him out Michelle!


I'm for Adrian Wyllie and so are several members of my family, but I guess we don't count. But when he wins, perhaps things will change a bit!


Sad to see that journalism has deteriorated to this point. Thank God for social media, otherwise I would have never heard about Adrian Wyllie. I believe South Florida is full of people with Libertarian beliefs who don't know about the candidates.

Wyllie For Governor!!!!

Marshall Clayton

Why isn't Adrian Wyllie in the poll? He's the only reason ill show up on Election Day.

Alex Glotzer

If candidates like Wyllie and Wohlsifer for AG were allowed fair media coverage and inclusion in the polls, they would blow the D's and R's out of the water. The establishment knows this and and that's why they are so scared of them becoming known to the majority of voters. This media bias is despicable. Try as they might though they can't silence word of mouth and a truly grassroots campaign. I know where my vote is going.

Cheryl Coach

The Rs and Ds are running scared from the libertarian candidates. The only vote I will cast for FL governor on Election Day is for Adrian Wyllie. You people in the media have ceased to be of any value to the general public and you are nothing more than bought and paid for hacks of the "statist" quo.

Get Real

Give it a rest. No one believes that 20 people just SUDDENLY discovered the libertarian candidate and decided to post here about how great he is. One person (is that you Wylie?) spamming the message board won't make anyone change their mind.

Get Real

Plus, typo in the article: Crist was up 50-38 in September, not 58-30.

Peter Richter

Wyllie For Governor! Media stop ignoring him! The last scientific poll that included Adrian Wyllie and he had 10%.


I'm not happy with the lack of choice in Scott and Crist. I'll find someone else to vote for. Anyone has to be better than these two promoters of Common Core.

Get Real

Why was my typo post deleted?

Crist was up 50-38 in September, not 58-30. The article says the lead was 12 points, not 28.

Objective Reality

@Get Real
It's highly unlikely that the people posting in favor of candidate Wyllie are fake. His supporters are highly motivated and very fed up with being ignored.


Give em hell Charlie!

Libertarian Voter

Adrian Wyllie has my vote. If he were to be included in the polls and was able to get fair media coverage he would win this election. Dems and Repubs control who gets included in the polls and that is why third party candidates never get a fair shake at elections.

William Copps

Add me as another person fed up with Adrian being ignored. This is why I'm going around the lame media and hitting them on the campus I go to. You can't filter a student organization. Once I get it together on the campus, more and more people will hear a Libertarian point of view and your little duopoly (secretly a monopoly) will end in this state. Makes me sick.
Adrian Wyllie for governor!


Never go on the polls. Follow the person who is running for office and if this person is in line with what you feel would be good for Florida then give them your vote. Where would Florida be today without Marco Rubio as our U.S. Senator? Thanks go to Charlie Crist for opening the door for Mr. Rubio, now that's something to think about. Mr. Crist appointed Mr. Rubio so poll that.

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