The Florida governor’s election between former Gov. Charlie Crist and incumbent Gov. Rick Scott is statistically tied, according to a new poll from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute via a press release.
With less than two weeks before the election, Crist leads, 43-40 percent, with Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie pulling 8 percent, and 9 percent of likely voters saying they are undecided. Crist’s lead is within the poll’s margin of error, and the race can be described as a statistical tie.
With speculation about what effect Libertarian Wyllie may have on the final outcome, Saint Leo University also asked voters to imagine Wyllie were not on the ballot. Given a choice of voting for only Scott or Crist, the two candidates deadlocked at 45 percent each, with 10 percent undecided. A majority of voters say they have either never heard of Wyllie (46 percent) or don’t know enough about him to offer an opinion (11 percent).
“It appears as though Charlie Crist’s attacks against Rick Scott are working, as the race has swung away from the incumbent in the last few months,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. According to Orlando, Crist’s lead is still tenuous. “Pre-election polls tend to overstate support for third party candidates. When it comes time to cast their ballots, voters seem to settle on one of the two main parties for fear of ‘wasting’ their vote. It appears that Wyllie is drawing more support from Scott than Crist, and, if Wyllie is removed from the race, Scott gains 5 percent of the vote, while Crist only gains 2 percent and the poll is a dead heat,” stated Orlando.
Orlando also thinks voter turnout is critical to the election’s outcome. “Despite the negative nature of the campaign, voters’ valuations of candidates haven’t really changed. This suggests that voters have had their minds made up for a while and that there is a very small group of undecided voters. The election seems certain to hinge on mobilization and the amount that Wyllie can pull voters from Scott,” concluded Orlando.