Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is leading the most recent polls as he runs for his former office against current Gov. Rick Scott.
Crist, who is running as a Democrat but previously served in the post as a Republican, has a 10-point lead over Scott, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released early Wednesday. It found 48 percent of Floridians prefer Crist, compared to Scott's 38 percent.
Scott has trailed behind Crist for months in the polls. In late January, he was eight points behind; in November, seven points behind. Florida voters also say 53-39 percent that Scott does not deserve reelection.
It appears female voters are responsible for Crist's lead. Women back Crist 51-33 percent; men back Crist 44-43 percent.
"Florida voters think former Gov. Crist is more compassionate, more honest, and trustworthy and was a better governor than Gov. Scott," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll. "The difference may be simple: Voters like Crist, whose strength always has been his ability to connect. Voters sometimes elect candidates they don't like personally, but not that often."
More than 50 percent of voters polled are not bothered by Crist's shift in political views, from Republican to Independent and now to Democrat. Fifty-two percent of voters, including 60 percent of registered independents, believe his shift in party affiliation shows he is pragmatic. Alternatively, 40 percent believe it shows Crist has no core beliefs.
Scott recently launched a series of television ads to promote his reelection campaign.
"So far, Florida Gov. Rick Scott's television barrage apparently has had no impact on the race," said Brown. "The incumbent has not been able to reduce former Gov. Charlie Crist's lead."
Quinnipiac University conducted the poll from April 23 to April 28, questioning 1,413 registered voters. The margin of error is +/- 2.6 percentage points.