A University of North Florida poll puts a gubernatorial race between Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist in virtually a dead heat.
Forty-four percent of 526 registered Florida voters polled Sept. 30-Oct. 8 chose Crist, widely expected to be the Democratic candidate, while 40 percent picked Scott, a Republican.
The results are within the margin of error of plus or minus 4.27 percentage points.
The remaining respondents were split between “other” candidates (2 percent) and undecided (14 percent).
The results are in contrast to others taken in June and September, where Crist had a double-digit lead in polls by Quinnipiac University and Public Policy Polling, respectively.
Crist’s lead is more pronounced among Independents, where he has a 41 percent to 31 percent lead over Scott.
The poll showed Scott leading declared Democratic Party candidate Nan Rich by 43 percent to 28 percent.
The governor’s job-approval rating is 49 percent.
Fifty-four percent of those polled said that Medicaid should be expanded to cover more Floridians.
However, only 41 percent said they would be willing to pay more for health care to ensure that everyone in the state could have access to health care.
The Public Opinion Research Laboratory at UNF conducted the survey with the use of a 27-station telephone-polling laboratory on campus.
A sample of the polling universe was selected through the use of Random-Digit-Dialing methodology. An additional cellphone sample was used to increase representation.
Thirty-nine percent of the respondents said they were registered Democrats, 35 percent were Republicans and 25 percent responded “other” or “no party affiliation.”
Approximately 180 UNF political science students participated in the data collection.
Michael Binder, assistant professor of political science at UNF, said this is the first time the university has polled voter preference in the 2014 race for the governor’s office.
“There hasn’t been a lot of polling done so far in Florida. It’s early, but Crist is getting a lot of interest, even though he hasn’t declared,” Binder said.