Charlie Crist opens the 2022 gubernatorial race with a solid majority of Florida Democrats ready to back him, while few Democrats show confidence that his likely Democratic rival Nikki Fried would have much chance to oust Gov. Ron DeSantis.
A new poll from St. Pete Polls survey, commissioned by Florida Politics, finds the former Republican Governor turned Democratic Congressman is a commanding favorite over the state Agriculture Commissioner if the Democratic primary were held now between Crist and Fried.
The poll shows nearly 55% of registered Democratic voters would vote for Crist.
Just under 22% would pick Fried.
Another 11% of voters are holding out for another candidate. More than 12% remain undecided.
Pollsters surveyed 2,572 voters between May 24 and 26 and reported just a 1.9% margin of error.
It’s still more than a year before Democratic voters choose the nominee who will confront DeSantis. It’s certainly possible the polling reflects a difference in name recognition, but the numbers show electability appears to be a big factor.
Asked about Crist’s chances of beating DeSantis, about 30% of voters give the Congressman better than even odds to unseat the Republican incumbent. Another 38% give him a 50/50 chance of winning. A smaller 27% see only a small chance of victory with Crist, and 5% remain unsure where things stand.
There’s less confidence in Fried. Only 14% of Florida Democrats expect that Fried would have the advantage over DeSantis, while 29% call a DeSantis-Fried contest a coin flip. At this point, 42% of Democrats think that Fried has only a small chance of victory. The other 16% simply are not sure.
If elected, Fried would be Florida’s first woman to become Governor, but that gives her no advantage with female voters, who break 57% for Crist and 20% for Fried. By comparison, Crist leads among male voters by 52% to Fried’s 24%, a considerably closer margin.
Fried is Florida’s only Democrat currently holding statewide office. Crist ran for Governor before, narrowly losing to then-Gov. Rick Scott in 2014 and winning as a Republican in 2006.
Crist leads with all racial groups and in every media market as well, along with holding majority support in every age demographic.