Crist Sees Women as Key to Ousting Scott in Florida

Charlie Crist has many of the women in Florida in his pocket and he wants more.

The Republican-turned-Democrat, fighting Gov. Rick Scott (R) to get his old job back, scores with women in the latest polls of Florida’s gubernatorial election.


Public Policy Polling, leaning so much to the blue that they surveyed more Democrats than Republicans even though Republicans usually win the turnout battle by four percent, shows Crist has 43 percent of the women’s vote, as compared to Scott’s 36 percent.

The survey released Sept. 9 mirrors the latest SurveyUSA poll that gives Crist 48 percent of the female vote, with Scott receiving 41 percent.

Crist is hoping to double down on those female numbers with a new ad, “Extreme,” released Sept. 9. It accuses Scott of doing the “wrong thing for women” every time he has a chance to do ”the right thing.”

Six women tell viewers that Scott “has been wrong every single time” on the issues of equal pay, abortion and even affordable contraception.

Crist will be getting more help from Planned Parenthood and its backers too, according to a Sunshine State News report. Those organizations are going to spend $3 million in advertising to push the case for women’s abortion rights.

Crist has a history of being on the left side of women’s issues. He put equal pay on his campaign agenda July 29, announcing to his supporters that “women in Florida make 83 cents for every dollar a man makes.”

Crist laid out a series of executive orders that he is promising to issue if elected to correct the pay disparity.

His campaign website points out that Crist supports “a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.” Crist vetoed legislation, while he was governor of Florida, which would have forced women seeking abortions to first undergo an ultrasound examination.


“Rick Scott, meanwhile, signed wildly anti-choice bills that open the door to governmental interference between a woman and her doctor. He also vetoed $1.5 million from the state’s budget for rape crisis prevention centers,” according to the Crist campaign.

Crist must also be taking comfort in the PPP survey that shows Florida’s medical marijuana amendment still gets more than the 60 percent approval it needs to become law, and Hillary Clinton would trounce all of the most talked about GOP candidates for president if the election were held today. Well, her run against Jeb Bush would be very, very close. But the PPP survey shows Hillary would win by two points, and a win is a win.

However, it must be true that a good man is hard to find. The Florida gubernatorial election still is coming down to a choice of the lesser of two evils as far as voters are concerned.

The Public Policy Polling survey shows that voters still don’t like either candidate much better than the other.

Just 40 percent of them think Scott is doing a good job as governor. The PPP survey shows 49 percent of voters disapprove of his performance in office.

How could an opponent fail to take advantage of those numbers? Crist is running a textbook campaign on how to do it. Forty percent of voters like the man who once was their governor when he was a Republican. But 46 percent view him negatively.

What about the Libertarian, Adrian Wyllie? He wins support of 8 percent of Florida voters, but Public Policy Polling numbers show he no longer seems to be having much of an effect on the race. He is drawing voters equally from both Crist and Scott.


PPP has Crist in the lead overall, with 42 percent to 39 percent for Scott, and 8 percent for Wyllie.

The SurveyUSA poll conducted for WFLA-TV shows a different story. It has Scott in the lead 45 percent to 44 percent with Wyllie capturing 3 percent of the vote.

The SurveyUSA pollsters also reach a different conclusion about the impact of Wyllie on the race.

“Wyllie today hurts Crist, taking twice as many votes from the Democrat as he does from the Republican. Normally, this wouldn’t matter with a 3rd-party candidate who is at 3%, but in a contest that may be decided by a few thousand votes, each one is precious,” said a SurveyUSA statement included with the poll numbers.

So the race for governor in Florida is equal parts a nail-biter with both candidates bouncing back and forth in the margin of error, and a barn burner in terms of attack ads flying through the air and over the Internet.

Or as Dean Debnam, the president of Public Policy Polling, put it in a statement issued with her company’s latest survey, “This one is definitely headed down to the wire just like the razor-thin contest Scott was first elected in.”


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