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September 2014

With new ad Rick Scott hopes ObamaCare will help defeat Charlie Crist

Do Florida voters loathe ObamaCare? That's the underlying question in this new ad for Republican Governor Rick Scott. Clearly his campaign believes that Democrat Charlie Crist's support of ObamaCare will hurt him in November.

Some of the biggest critics of ObamaCare are older voters who love Medicare and Social Security but don't believe in "government entitlements."

President Obama is so unpopular that most Democratic candidates around the country want Obama to stay far away from their campaigns. While former President Bill Clinton made a campaign appearance for Crist, and Hillary Clinton is about to do the same, there is still no indication that Obama will be dropping by the Sunshine State to campaign for Crist.

Should Obama show up, one thing is certain - the Scott campaign will pounce hard.

Whether or not Obama shows up, as this ad demonstrates, he is part of the Florida governor's race.


Tens of millions spent and Charlie Crist and Rick Scott are still tied in Quinnipiac poll

If they were trying to increase donut sales, Rick Scott and Charlie Crist would be staring through the donut hole wondering why sales aren't climbing. Maybe the biggest takeaway from today's Quinnipiac Poll is that the folks making the ad are also making tons of money.

The consultants rarely lose.

Here's the news release with full results from Quinnipiac.

The Florida governor's race is too close to call, with 44 percent of likely voters for Republican Gov. Rick Scott and 42 percent for former Gov. Charlie Crist, and 8 percent for Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. 

With Wyllie out of the race, Gov. Scott gets 46 percent of likely voters, with 44 percent for Crist, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. This survey of likely voters can not be compared to prior surveys of registered voters. 

In the three-way matchup, Scott edges Crist 44 - 37 percent among independent voters, with 11 percent for Wyllie. Scott leads 80 - 11 percent among Republicans, with 7 percent for Wyllie and Crist leads 83 - 7 percent among Democrats, with 6 percent for Wyllie. 

Women are divided with 43 percent for Crist, 41 percent for Scott and 8 percent for Wyllie. Men go Republican 48 - 40 percent with 8 percent for Wyllie. 

With six weeks until Election Day, 81 percent of voters say their mind is made up, while 17 percent say they might change their mind. 

"When fewer than four in 10 voters think both the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor are honest, you know this has been one of the nastiest races in state history," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "They have been throwing so much mud that they both are covered in it. 

"The two voter groups that will tell the tale of the election are independent voters and those who are backing Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie. Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist are doing about the same with their respective party bases and former Republican Crist is not having any trouble being accepted by members of his new party. 

"Wyllie voters are the bigger unknown because there is little way of predicting if they will stay with the third-party challenger or decide to switch to Scott or Crist in order to be with a winner," Brown added. 

"At this point, neither major party candidate is doing markedly better as a second choice of Wyllie voters. It is also worth considering that there is a consensus that negative campaigning tends to be a turnoff more to the very people who seem to hold the keys to the kingdom - independents and third-party voters." 

Florida likely voters do not like or do not know the candidates for governor, as Crist gets a negative 41 - 49 percent favorability rating and Scott gets a negative 42 - 48 percent favorability. For Wyllie 86 percent don't know enough about him to form an opinion. 

The major candidates also score low on character:
  • Crist is not honest and trustworthy, voters say 49 - 37 percent. Voters also say 51 - 39 percent that Scott is not honest and trustworthy;
  • Florida likely voters are divided 46 - 45 percent on whether Crist cares about their needs and problems, but they say 50 - 42 percent that Scott does not care;
  • Voters also are divided 46 - 44 percent on whether Crist has strong leadership qualities, but say 58 - 34 percent that Scott does have strong leadership qualities.
From September 17 - 22, Quinnipiac University surveyed 991 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. 

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and the nation as a public service and for research. 

For more data or RSS feed-, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter. 

1. If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Charlie Crist the Democrat, Rick Scott the Republican, and Adrian Wyllie the Libertarian, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) If you had to choose today, would you vote for Crist, Scott, or Wyllie? (Table includes leaners)
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Crist                42%    11%    83%    37%    40%    43%
Scott                44     80      7     44     48     41
Wyllie                8      7      6     11      8      8
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      1      1      1      -
DK/NA                 5      1      4      7      3      7
1a. (If candidate chosen q1) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY VOTERS................
                     CANDIDATE CHOSEN Q1..........
                            CANDIDATE OF CHOICE Q1
                     Tot    Crist  Scott  Wyllie
Mind made up         81%    82%    83%    67%
Might change         17     16     16     32
DK/NA                 1      2      1      1
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     MATCHUP Q1 WITHOUT WYLLIE.............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Crist                44%    14%    86%    39%    43%    46%
Scott                46     81      8     47     50     43
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2      1      1      4      3      2
DK/NA                 7      4      5      9      5      9
3. Is your opinion of Charlie Crist favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Favorable            41%    16%    76%    37%    39%    42%
Unfavorable          49     78     12     52     53     45
Hvn't hrd enough      8      4     11     10      6     10
REFUSED               3      2      2      2      2      3
4. Is your opinion of Rick Scott favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Favorable            42%    72%    10%    41%    45%    40%
Unfavorable          48     21     78     50     47     50
Hvn't hrd enough      7      5     10      6      6      7
REFUSED               3      2      1      3      2      4
5. Is your opinion of Adrian Wyllie favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Favorable             8%     5%     6%    13%     9%     7%
Unfavorable           4      5      5      2      5      3
Hvn't hrd enough     86     89     87     84     85     87
REFUSED               2      1      2      2      1      3
6. Would you say that Charlie Crist - is honest and trustworthy or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Yes                  37%    17%    65%    32%    35%    38%
No                   49     71     16     55     56     43
DK/NA                14     11     18     13      9     19
7. Would you say that Charlie Crist - cares about the needs and problems of people like you or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Yes                  46%    26%    76%    42%    44%    48%
No                   45     65     15     52     49     41
DK/NA                 9      9      9      7      6     11
8. Would you say that Charlie Crist - has strong leadership qualities or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Yes                  46%    22%    78%    43%    43%    49%
No                   44     68     13     48     50     38
DK/NA                10     10      9      9      6     12
9. Would you say that Rick Scott - is honest and trustworthy or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Yes                  39%    64%    10%    39%    43%    35%
No                   51     25     81     51     48     53
DK/NA                10     10      9     10      9     12
10. Would you say that Rick Scott - cares about the needs and problems of people like you or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Yes                  42%    71%    13%    41%    45%    40%
No                   50     24     78     52     47     52
DK/NA                 8      5      9      7      8      8
11. Would you say that Rick Scott - has strong leadership qualities or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Yes                  58%    82%    28%    59%    64%    52%
No                   34     12     63     32     31     38
DK/NA                 8      6      9      9      6     10

New Republican Party ad says Charlie Crist swindled Florida

Tossing out the words "swindled" and "conned" this new GOP ad hits Democrat Charlie Crist hard but leaves you wondering whether it may also be hurting the candidate it is intended to help - Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Scott has suffered throughout thee-plus years in office from very low approval ratings. Polls repeatedly suggested that most voters simply do not like Scott. While his campaign has run a few - isn't Scott swell - ads, the overwhelming majority of the ads have been negative.

Despite outspending Crist nearly two-to-one, Scott holds a only slim lead over the former governor. And while Scott has managed to plummel Crist's approval ratings - at times using ads of questionable integrity - Scott's still remains one of the nation's least popular governors.

Of course these ads are the work of campaign consultants who walk away after campaigns are over with little mud are their hands. A win gets them more clients. A loss is always blamed on the frailties of the candidate.

Campaign consultants never take the blame for a loss - "Golly, I guess our strategy sucked." 

Crist has been no saint. His campaign ads batter Scott sometimes going well over the line. The campaign ad tagline is most Crist ads states that Rick Scott is "too shady for the Sunshine State."  The line implies that Scott is dishonest.

Scott's campaign is doing the same thing. In his new ads words "swindled" and "conned" are tossed around freely - again implying that Crist is dishonest.

Campaign consultants will tell you that negative ads work. Unfortunately, there is much truth to that. And nearly every candidate does it.

While the late Governor Lawton Chiles was loved by many, he could be just as ruthless in a campagin. During his 1994 campaign against Jeb Bush, Chiles ran nasty, dishonest ads that helped lead to Bush's defeat.

It isn't money that has always poisoned elections - it is how the money is spent.


Rick Scott's rapid response to Charlie Crist ad

Well that didn't take long. Earlier today Crowley Political Report told you about a new ad from the Florida Democratic Party about Republican Governor Rick Scott cutting money for education.

Now, Scott's people have taken the Democratic Party ad, tinkered with it, and turned into an ad against Democrat Charlie Crist. 

This is the second time, in a very short amount of time, that Scott's folks have grabbed a Crist ad and reworked it to their advantage.

The new ad is below. The Crist ad is here.


NextGen Florida planning Rick Scott ark tour

This just popped up on the NextGen Florida website. NextGen, which has run a number of television ads attacking Governor Rick Scott, is now planning a 10 city "Ark Tour."

Stops include: Tallahassee, Tampa Bay, Orlando, Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeah, Davie, Gainesville and Jacksonville.

NextGen is the organization backed by billionaire Tom Steyer, a hedge fund manager and environmentalist. He is pouring millions into campaign around the country targeting candidates who do not believe in climate change.

Scott met briefly with a few scientists to hear what they had to say about climate change but he Scott appears to remain skeptical. 

NextGen Florida on its website says the tour is because "Florida Governor Rick Scott has found a solution to climate change after all these years of denying science and ignoring scientists - build an ark."

"Now he and his special interest friends can escape  - two-by-two - on the ark while the rest of Florida's families fight against rising sea levels."

And there is this picture:


There are not a lot of details about the tour. The NextGen website is here.

Steyer's effort to influence the Florida governor's race is a continuation of the ongoing trend of weathy outsiders - he lives in California - trying to have an impact on races that are well outside where they live.

Steyer also comes to this issue with less than clean hands. He has profited handsomely over the years from coal mining interests only himself away from coal two years ago.

Steyer also has been involved in presidential campaigns with little luck. He came a tad late to the party when he finally supported Barack Obama for president in 2008. He had been on board with Hillary Clinton. Prior to that, Steyer supported presidential candidates Walter Mondale, Bill Bradley and John Kerry.

Now Steyer is helping Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist. 

The question: Do Florida voters care enough about climate change and sea level rise to make it an issue in this campaign?

Not likely.

New Charlie Crist ad says Rick Scott hurt teachers and kids in favor of corporations

In this new Florida Democratic Party ad, Republican Governor Rick Scott is accused of slashing teacher jobs, increasing class size and cutting school spending by $1.3 billion.

The ad claims that Scott cut education so that he could use the money "to pay for millions in handouts to big corporations."

While it is true that Scott cut education spending during his first year in office, it seems to be a bit of stretch to suggest those dollars for education were then used as "handouts" to corporations.

Today, Scott would tell you that his cuts to education were purely a result of the need to balance the budget during the Great Recession. That is partly true. It is also true that Scott took office as a Tea Party-supporter who believed that Florida's education budget was bloated and wasteful. 

With an eye on a very close reelection campaign, Scott has supported increased education spending. But many teachers and school leaders have not forgotten the pain of the spending cuts. 

This ad is intended to appeal to them.

With somber music and a troubled sounding narrator, the ad beings with scenes of teachers and students in classrooms:

"They don't fly on private jets

"or float on fancy yachts.

"But the job Florida teachers do couldn't be more valuable.

"And when Rick Scott cut education by over a billion dollars thousands of them lost their jobs.

"Class sizes went up.

"Our kids paid the price.

"Why'd he do it? To pay for millions in handouts to big corporations."

The ad closes with a scene of a corporate boardroom with narrator saying: "Tax cuts here."

Then a scene of an empty classroom: "Budget cuts here."

Thousands of teaching jobs gone."

Here is the ad.

Follow us on Twitter @CrowleyReport 

Rick Scott walks the beach with Ann in new ad

After months of ads that swing a baseball bat at the head of Democratic candidate Charlie Crist (and getting bashed by Crist as well), Republican Governor Rick Scott is strolling the beach hand-in-hand with his wife, Florida First Lady Ann Scott.

Not surprisingly, she thinks he is just swell.

Once again, we can see Scott wearing his new favorite cap, with Navy on the front and 45 on back. (He is Florida's 45th governor).

The ad closes with Mrs. Scott saying: "Rick believes in Florida, and Florida can count on Rick."


Rick Scott internal poll shows him leading Charlie Crist by 7

Art by Patrick Crowley. Copyright 2014

A reliable Republican source tells Crowley Political Report that Governor Rick Scott's campaign is feeling pretty good about internal polling that shows the Republican incumbent leading Democrat Charlie Crist by 7 points among likely voters.

Important information is missing - like all the details about the poll - but it is worth noting that if indeed the campaign is looking at those kinds of numbers the mood there must be pretty good.

Of course, even a 7 point lead can collapse. 

Still, several recent polls have shown Scott with a lead - including a University of Florida/Tampa Bay Times poll that gave Scott a 5 point edge over Crist. Other polls have suggested that Crist has a small lead within the margin of error - essentially placing him even with Scott.

What does it all mean?

Win or lose, this is already a remarkable turn around for a governor who barely won four years ago and throughout most of his first term has been enormously unpopular with Floridians. Scott's campaign strategy has been less about trying to improve his approval ratings and more about destroying Crist.

One thing is clear - Crist still has a lot of work to do if he wants to become the first person to serve as both a Republican and Democratic governor.



New Rick Scott campaign ad has Charlie Crist debating Charlie Crist on abortion

After decades of being a Republican, a very brief stint as an unsuccessful independent, and now a new-born Democrat, Charlie Crist leaves behind lots of old campaign speechs, video, and campaign phone messages that contradict many of the things he is saying now as candidate for Florida governor.

This is a huge gift to Republican Rick Scott's reelection campaign. (To be fair, there is no shortage of issues that Scott has flipflopped on during the last four years). 

Responding to a new Crist ad showing a series of women criticizing Scott for opposing abortion and other issues, the Scott campaign takes the Crist ad and inserts some previous Crist comments that have Crist, well, disagreeing with Crist.

The fact is that Crist always weaved between being a conservative Republican and being a moderate Republican. But the effect of this Scott response ad is to once again create doubt in the mind of voters as to where Crist really stands on these issues.

Which Crist do you believe?

Another interesting thing about the Scott ad is that it does not dispute anything said in the Crist ad which says  Scott opposes abortion, "even for victims of rape and incest," supports mandatory ultra-sounds, allowing employers to deny women birth control coverage, and that Scott does not support new laws for equal pay for women.

Instead, this ad keeps the Crist ad message that Scott opposes abortion message and would reverse Roe v. Wade.

Interesting approach.

New ad suggests abortion is becoming an issue in the Florida governor's race

A new Florida Democrat Party ad uses a lot of emotion in a clear effort to convince women voters that Republican Governor Rick Scott is harming women.

The ad opens with a woman saying: "Rick Scott wants to take away a woman's right to choose."

Another woman states: "He wants to overturn Roe v. Wade."

A third woman says:  "And restrict access to abortion."

The ad goes back to the first woman who says: "Even for victims of rape and incest."

And on it goes with a variety of women saying these lines:

"He signed laws that require a mandatory ultra-sound."

"And thinks employers should be able to deny women coverage for birth control."

"Rick Scott even refused to support new laws for equal pay."

"When it comes to doing what's right for Florida women, Rick Scott has been wrong every single time."

With Democrat Charlie Crist trailing in at least one poll and tied with Scott in most others, this ad is aimed at getting women - especially Democratic women - worried enough about Scott to actually vote.

Women are important to the Democratic Party and Crist will need huge numbers from women, and other groups, to overtake Scott.

Whether women will respond to the ad is the question.


Pam Bondi's new campaign ad

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is offering herself as a crime fighter in her first ad her campaign against Democrat George Sheldon. 

The ad seems a bit overly dramatic - it's not like Bondi kicks down door chasing felons. But, compared to Sheldon's ad - oops he doesn't have one yet, it's not bad.


Republicans launch new ad with great music and a hard hit at Charlie Crist

Very little about this new Florida Republican Party ad is factually incorrect. Unfortunately, the facts are used to dramatically distort the truth.

You'll love the visuals and the ad has great music. And, frankly, the ad is very effective.

The ad starts with a confetti theme noting that when Charlie Crist became Florida governor - as a Republican, the state's unemployment was 3.5 percent.

The narrator in somber tones notes that during Crist's four years as governor, state unemployment "went up to 11 percent."

The narrator continues:

"Dark days. And Charlie. He fled. Ran away. Tried to get a job in Washington. But now - he's baaack. and he needs a job."

"The only job Charlie Crist cares about is his own."

Basically, this ad counts on the stupidity of voters. Clearly Governor Rick Scott's advisors are convinced that voters understand so little about the recession that they will be willing to blame Crist.

Of course that is nonsense. Crist had nothing to do with the global recession. It would be fair to give Scott credit for working tirelessly to bring jobs to Florida but even there he would have been able to do little if the national economy had not improved.

Recessions do not care who is governor. Neither do recoveries. 

Still, the Crist folks should be very worried about this ad which does accurately portray Crist as someone all to willing to give up a second term to go to Washington to be a junior U.S. Senator.

It is one reason that Crist is trailing Scott in recent polls.


Charlie Crist drops by the diner in his new campaign ad

 Democratic candidate for Floirda governor, Charlie Crist, stares directly at the viewer in this new campaign ad dubbed "Powerful."

The ad opens with a boy and girl leaving a house, apparently heading to school, with mom looking on.  Crist begins speaking as he enters a small diner:

"Government of the people. by the people, for the people. That's how it's supposed to be but under Rick Scott we've got government of the special interests, by the big corporations, and for the powerful.

Crist sits down at a lunch counter and continues:

"Tax breaks and state contracts for them. Cuts in education, higher utility bills and property tax bills for you."

As the scene of a woman apparently looking at bills fades, Crist says:

"You deserve a governor who will put you the people first. Who will fight for hard working families like yours. That's exactly what I will do - every   single   day."

What may make this ad effective is the weariness folks are having about the months of unrelenting negatives ads that Crist and Republican Governor Rick Scott have been huring at each other. 

If nothing else, this is a refreshing change of pace. Will it help Crist who in a new Tampa Bay Times poll is trailing Scott by 5 points?

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport. 


Charlie Crist calls on Bill Clinton to resign

In 1998, when Charlie Crist first ran for the U.S. Senate as a Republican candidate against incumbent Democrat Bob Graham, he called for President Bill Clinton to resign because of the Monica Lewinsky fiasco.

During a televised debate with Graham, moderated by the late Tim Russert of NBC, Crist is apparently asked about Clinton's foibles in this snippet from the debate by "Democrat Flashback."

In the clip, Crist says:

"Regrettably, I believe the president has shattered the confidence and trust of the American people. And I think he needs to be accountable for that. That's why I think the best thing he can do for the country is to resign the office of president."

Lots of cheering can be heard after Crist's remarks.

We suspect will not come up - at least among Democrats - on Friday when Clinton is campaigning for Crist in Miami.