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Charlie Crist Hears Rick Scott's Footsteps: New Poll

October 14, 2013 - 6:00pm

The Florida Chamber of Commerce released a poll Tuesday that confirms another onea released last week by the University of North Florida (UNF):Gov. Rick Scott is making up ground on former Gov. Charlie Crist, favorite for the Democratic nomination. The Florida Chamber is backing Scott in the 2014 contest.

The poll, unveiled at the Florida Chambers Future of Florida Forum Tuesday, finds Crist taking 46 percent of voters while Scott follows with 41 percent. The UNF poll released on Thursday found Crist at 44 percent and Scott at 40 percent. Like the UNF poll, Scott did much better in the Florida Chambers poll when matched against former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich, routing her 40 percent to 29 percent.

While top concerns for voters remain jobs and the economy, their support of Governor Scott is a signal they approve of his strong ability to create private-sector jobs, said Marian Johnson, the Florida Chambers senior VP of political strategy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Its likely that voters also remember that while Governor Scott gave Floridas great schoolteachers a raise this year, it was Charlie Crist who actually vetoed a bill (SB 6) that would have boosted teacher pay.

In the competition for jobs, Florida is winning, said Mark Wilson, the president and CEO of the Florida Chamber. Governor Scott is more than halfway to his jobs goal, and I believe Florida voters are beginning to see the importance of a jobs governor.

Scott is upside down in the poll, with 45 percent viewing him as unfavorable and 39 percent as favorable. Despite that, 47 percent of those surveyed approve of the job Scott is doing in Tallahassee. Crist is in better shape, though his numbers have declined since past polls, with 43 percent viewing the former governor as favorable and 37 percent as unfavorable.

The poll also found job creation and the economy on the minds of Florida voters, with a quarter of those surveyed saying this is their top issue. Education is the most important issue for 14 percent of those surveyed.

While 11 percent say the most important issue is health care, Florida, which was the first state to file a constitutional challenge to President Barack Obamas health care law, remains unhappy with the law. A majority of those surveyed -- 51 percent -- oppose Obamas health care law.

Obama himself gets mixed marks despite carrying the Sunshine State in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, with 49 percent viewing him as favorable and 46 percent seeing him as unfavorable.

The poll was taken by Cherry Communication on behalf of the Florida Chamber from Oct. 4-8 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter at @KevinDerbySSN. Kevin was previously employed by the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

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