A new statewide poll by the St. Leo University Polling Institute shows the governor’s race virtually tied, with incumbent Gov. Rick Scott 2 percentage points ahead of likely Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, more than erasing a 12-point lead Crist held in January.
At the national level, the poll shows Democrat Hillary Clinton holding leads of 18 to 24 percentage points against half a dozen Republican challengers in the 2016 presidential race, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush coming closest to her.
Crist led Scott 46-34 percent in St. Leo’s poll in January, and 43-39 percent in March.
Scott’s lead in the new poll, 43-31 percent, with 16 percent undecided, is within the margin of error and should be considered a statistical tie, the pollster said.
“Scott and Crist are locked in a war of attrition; voters aren’t in love with either one of them,” said St. Leo political scientist Frank Orlando.
The poll is one of several that have shown Scott catching up to Crist after an unusually early, massive advertising blitz that included some $13.5 million worth of television time, concentrated heavily in Tampa, Orlando and West Palm Beach, since Crist announced in November.
In the presidential poll, Clinton led:
-- Bush by 53-35 percent
-- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 52-34 percent
-- U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, 55-34 percent
-- U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, 54-33 percent
-- U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, 53-31 percent
-- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, 54-30 percent
“At this stage, Hillary Clinton appears to be untouchable,” said St. Leo political scientist Frank Orlando.
In a Republican primary matchup including 16 candidates, Bush led the field with 16 percent. Besides him, only Christie registered in double digits, with 11 percent.
The May 28-June 4 national poll included 1,016 respondents for an margin of error is 3 percentage points; for the Republican primary question, the sample would be smaller and the error margin larger.
The state poll included 500 respondents for an error margin of 5 points.
St. Leo uses online polling methodology in which the sample is drawn randomly from a large online panel. Full results of both polls here.