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Monday, August 15, 2022
HomeNewsElectionsTuesday’s Primary Results Suggest Charlie Crist Is Likely To Lose

Tuesday’s Primary Results Suggest Charlie Crist Is Likely To Lose

Charlie Crist Florida governor race
Charlie Crist Florida governor race

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican turned-independent-turned-Democrat, makes a campaign stop in Boynton Beach, Florida on Aug. 26, 2014. Crist became the first candidate to win both party primaries Tuesday. (Photo: AP)

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist won the Democratic primary Tuesday and will now go on to face incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott in November. Crist is the first candidate to win both party nominations for governor in the Sunshine State.

In the weeks leading up to the primary election Crist openly and frequently touted the fact his campaign had President Obama’s GOTV operation on-loan, an advantage that Democrats said would close the Republican enthusiasm gap and take Gov. Scott by surprise.

“The president’s campaigns, in both 2008 and 2012, have really rewritten the book on how you get out the vote,” Crist said in an interview. “I can tell you, since I used to be one, Republicans don’t know how to do this.”

However, in politics talk is rarely truth, and Tuesday’s primary results suggest the Obama operation is not translating into energy for the former Republican.

Crist defeated Democratic challenger Nan Rich with 620,689 to 214,111 votes, or 74.4 to 24.6 percent. In 2010, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink not only defeated her primary challenger by a slightly larger margin, but she earned roughly 43,200 more primary votes than Crist, or 663,802 (76.9 percent). That’s a huge disappointment for Democrats who have spent the last two months listening to the Crist camp claim their efforts in the vote-rich, Democratic bastion of South Florida had exceeded Alex Sink’s.

Considering population growth and Democrat voter registration roles, Crist’s showing Tuesday was less than unimpressive. Incumbent Gov. Rick Scott remains the favorite in the race according to PPD’s 2014 Governors Map Predictions model for numerous reasons. For now, let’s stick with ground game operations since we are already on topic.

“Bottom line, it’s going to be who has the best ground game and can get their message out,” Scott said in an interview. “We’ve got to have a better ground game than our opponents.”

Unlike Crist, Scott built his GOTV operation from scratch, which currently boasts more than double the number of field offices Crist has borrowed from the Obama campaign. The Scott campaign says they estimate that their volunteers have already knocked on the doors of 700,000 Floridians, blowing the 200,000 doors that the Romney camp had knocked on by this point in the 2012 election out of the water.

Despite the hype and hope on the Left, Tuesday’s results clearly show Scott has a greater advantage than polls have shown, though he has now pulled ahead of Crist slightly. Scott not only won his primary with more votes — or, 833,593 votes, approximately 210,000 more votes than Crist — but he won it by a larger margin, suggesting the governor has solidified his base to a greater extent than Crist. That said, the Democratic primary was a bit more contested, so it was to be expected that Crist received a somewhat lower level of support.

But while Scott begins with 87.65 percent base support, Crist has nearly a quarter of his own party he still must win over. There can be little doubt that those who voted for Rich rejected Crist, because even though he is a well-known candidate, many Democrats simply do not trust him yet.

Now, many of those voters are more than likely to come home, but this puts Crist at a significant disadvantage, particularly in a midterm electorate. Since we first examined the Florida Governor race back in April, PPD, which is based in Florida, has been warning others not to put too much stock into notoriously inaccurate pollsters. This contest is shaping up to have built-in disadvantages for Crist most pundits and prognosticators have either honestly missed, or blatantly ignored. Instead, we have argued and continue to argue that it is best to focus on the “big picture” fundamentals and historical trends.

First, the senior voting bloc, which in recent cycles has represented an average 24 percent of the electorate, has become an increasingly reliable Republican voting bloc. Obama only carried Florida by 70,000 votes in 2012, and in midterm election cycles seniors have a far greater impact. Earlier polling in Florida historically underestimates the senior vote, and they are now beginning to break for Scott in droves.

Second, Crist is underperforming among Florida Hispanics. He leads Gov. Scott by just 47 – 35 percent in notable polls conducted in the Democratic stronghold of Miami-Dade. In fact, Crist has just half the support President Obama had in the region in 2012. Though a lot can happen between now and Election Day, this is a clear sign of a real danger that Scott will draw significant crossover Democratic support. Crist’s weak base of support is largely due to his pathetic showing among the county’s Hispanic voting bloc, who currently favor Scott 50 – 31 percent.

In truth, Hispanic voters have never liked or supported Charlie Crist. Even when he was a relatively popular Republican governor, prior to switching to the Democratic Party, he failed to win a majority of Hispanics. Crist was only able to carry the county once, and that was during the landslide reelection of former Gov. Jeb Bush. He was clobbered by now-Sen. Marco Rubio among Hispanics in 2010.

The Florida Governor race is eerily similar to Crist’s experience in 2010. He started out with double-digit leads over both Rubio and Scott, only to see them slowly wither away as Election Day drew closer. In early Spring, we suspected 2014 was likely to be deja vu for the former governor all over again and, after examining Tuesday’s results, it would appear our suspicions were correct.

2014 Florida Governor Polls

Poll Date Sample MoE Scott (R) Crist (D) Spread
PPD Average 7/5 – 8/18 43.5 42.5 Scott +1.0
SurveyUSA* 8/15 – 8/18 564 LV 4.2 44 41 Scott +3
Rasmussen Reports 7/29 – 7/30 900 LV 3.0 42 41 Scott +1
CBS News/NYT/YouGov 7/5 – 7/24 6873 RV 48 43 Scott +5
Quinnipiac 7/17 – 7/21 1251 RV 2.8 40 45 Crist +5

2010 Florida Governor Polls

Poll Date Sample Scott (R) Sink (D) Spread
Final Results 48.9 47.7 Scott +1.2
RCP Average 10/23 – 11/1 45.7 44.5 Scott +1.2
Sunshine State News/VSS 10/31 – 11/1 1526 LV 49 45 Scott +4
PPP (D) 10/30 – 10/31 773 LV 47 48 Sink +1
Quinnipiac 10/25 – 10/31 925 LV 43 44 Sink +1
Rasmussen Reports 10/27 – 10/27 750 LV 48 45 Scott +3
Mason-Dixon 10/25 – 10/27 625 LV 43 46 Sink +3
Florida Poll/NYT-USF 10/23 – 10/27 696 LV 44 39 Scott +5

2010 Polling At This Point In Cycle

Rasmussen Reports 8/25 – 8/25 750 LV 45 42 Scott +3    
PPP (D) 8/21 – 8/22 567 LV 34 41 Sink +7
Quinnipiac 8/11 – 8/16 1096 RV 29 33 Sink +4
Mason-Dixon 8/9 – 8/11 625 RV 24 40 Sink +16
St. Petersburg Times 8/6 – 8/10 602 RV 30 29 Scott +1
Rasmussen Reports 8/2 – 8/2 750 LV 35 31 Scott +4
Florida Poll/NYT-USF 7/24 – 7/28 590 LV 30 28 Scott +2
Quinnipiac 7/22 – 7/27 969 RV 29 27 Scott +2
PPP (D) 7/16 – 7/18 900 RV 30 36 Sink +6
Reuters/Ipsos 7/9 – 7/11 600 RV 34 31 Scott +3
FL Chamber of Commerce 6/9 – 6/13 607 LV 30 26 Scott +4
Quinnipiac 6/1 – 6/7 1133 LV 42 32 Scott +10
Rasmussen Reports 5/16 – 5/16 500 LV 41 40 Scott +1
Mason-Dixon 5/3 – 5/5 625 LV 36 38 Sink +2
Written by
Data Journalism Editor

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

Latest comments

  • Florida needs to look at itself. When you have two like this running. And their adversity there dishonesty. Florida can do better than that.

  • Good article. My opinion however is don’t base a prediction for a general on primary turnout. See the 2002 Democratic Primary in Florida for governor between Reno and McBride, which had high turnout only for the winner (Mcbride) to lose to Jeb by like 10%. The Democrats did not have as many compelling races as the Republicans in Florida yesterday, which included some hot GOP primaries for congress (the reality is that there will always be more competitive GOP races in the primary in Florida, which drives turnout up for that party). The democrat party governor primary was not competitive, so you had less of a turnout for that race alone. The bigger story would have been if Crist was dented by Rich in his margin. Both general election campaigns are running close and they know it. In regards to the polling, both of their numbers are really low right now, (the only number that had Scott up beyond 4 were a leaked internal poll and then that NYT internet poll which a lot of people are discounting as it didn’t match up with the other polling from Florida.). We have a long way to go.

  • Come of Florida, take a stand.! Adrian Wyllie deserves my vote and yours too. He is a honest average
    Floridian just as you and I , that is willing to stand up and do
    something for the interest of all of us here in Florida. The other
    candidates both Republican and Democrat are owned and controlled by
    special interest, like puppets and will lie to your face to gain your
    vote, then continue the same old agenda that we complain about year
    after year. Time to get off this merry-go-round, election after
    election, thinking it will be any different. Take a stand, vote for the
    candidate that loves this state and is willing to take time out of his
    life, effort and money to SERVE the people of Florida and stop voting
    for these ‘paid for’ career politicians that are only out for money and
    fame and have zero interest in us Floridians. Even if it’s just for
    honesty alone, vote for Adrian Wyllie instead of the other two
    (Scott/Crist) which are proven liars. The choice is yours and yours
    alone, if you want the same old corruption and slap in the face, go
    ahead and vote for one of the two puppets (Scott/Crist) OR do what is
    right for our (yours and your children’s) future and vote for Adrian
    Wyllie. Support him by donating to his campaign, spreading the word and
    contribute to the super brochure program which I think is very powerful.
    Visit his website today.,..,

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