Poll shows Charlie Crist maintaining lead in Democratic primary for Fla. Governor

Crist, Fried, Taddeo 1
But he's vulnerable to messaging about his voting record on the border wall.

New polling shows U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist continues to hold a double-digit lead in the Democratic Primary for Florida Governor. But all candidates appear vulnerable to negative campaign messaging.

A survey conducted by Alvarado Strategies shows 43% of likely Democratic Primary voters favor Crist, with 33% picking Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, and 15% liking state Sen. Annette Taddeo. Only about 8% of respondents started out unsure.

The poll was conducted from March 17-20 for Floridians for Economic Advancement, a political committee that has supported state legislative candidates from both parties. Results shows significant growth for all candidates since the last time the committee polled the race in February.

Participants in the poll were read flat biographies of each of the three major Democratic candidates for Governor.

Pollsters also conducted negative messaging on each of the candidates. That didn’t have a huge impact on standings, but it hurt the level of support for all. Post hitjob, about 34% of respondents supported Crist, 23% backed Fried, 11% supported Taddeo and 33% fell in the undecided column.

For Crist, the most effective negative messaging came from informing respondents that he voted for a $1.6 billion funding bill that included money for “Donald Trump’s border wall.” About 62% of those polled said they were less likely to back Crist based on that knowledge, with about 38% “much less likely.”

Less effective was messaging that Crist backed Florida’s same-sex marriage ban, but 53% of voters still reacted negatively to that information.

Fried seemed especially vulnerable to messaging about a failure to disclose more than $350,000 in lobbying income. About 55% of respondents were less likely to support her based on that, about 29% much less likely.

The fact Fried counts Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz as a personal friend was less poisonous, but 46% were less likely to support her over that fact.

For Taddeo, about 63% of voters were less likely to back the Miami state Senator when they learned she voted against the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act in the wake of the 2018 Parkland shooting. About 42% were much less likely, the strongest reaction to any negative messaging tested in the poll.

There was also a strong response on messaging Taddeo supported Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in denouncing President Joe Biden for removing a Colombian group from a terrorist list.

The poll found visceral concern among Primary voters about the direction of the state. About 65% of those surveyed feel Florida is on the wrong track, compared to 25% who think it is on the right track. By comparison, about 54% of the Primary voters polled think the nation is on the right track, and 35% see it on the wrong track.

The poll suggests there may be less concern than might be expected about what critics dub the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. About 52% of respondents say students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade should not be taught about sexual orientation in class by teachers.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • L Middleton

    March 22, 2022 at 12:17 pm

    An unscientific sample from my Miami-Dade dog park (neighborhood is affluent, mostly white non-Hispanic, 65% Biden / 33% Trump) tells me that there is not much enthusiasm for any of the Democrats. And oddly, grudging admiration for DeSantis. Like, “Yeah, he’s awful, but have to marvel at what he gets away with. He’s crazy. Like a fox.” Most think he is much smarter than the national media gives him credit. I’d guess come November DeSantis, just because he has the look of a winner, will pick up maybe five or six points here over his 2018 performance.

  • Joyce Bunting

    March 26, 2022 at 12:23 am

    I’m curious about these pollsters you reference, Floridians for Economic Advancement and Alvarado Strategies. I’ve seen their polls referenced by other media outlets as credible too but there’s no evidence of any credentials, methodology, etc. The link you posted for Floridians for Economic Advancement goes to their Florida Elections Committee Tracking info page. They have no website and I can’t find much more information publicly available anywhere aside from the FEC’s campaign database. All I could find was their address which happens to be the same address listed for Alvarado Strategies. Odd. And isn’t Isn’t Alvarado Strategies the company that orchestrated the whole fake candidate scandal in the last election? Why would anyone treat any info offered by PACs and shifty political advisors as credible in any way shape or form? Isn’t there enough mis and disinformation out there already? Why would anything these two “pollsters” produce be treated as credible? I’d questions ANY poll a PAC produced even without trying to find out who signs their paychecks.

  • Tom

    March 27, 2022 at 7:09 pm

    What a disaster poll.
    54% of these self identified moronic Dums say things are good in America. What do you do all day, nothing. Sit in your room you idiots?
    What kind of people are you? Biden/Harris is a disaster. Unbelievable.

    Oddly grudgingly like for Desantis. America’s Governor is a saint compared to this crowd.

    You Dums need help.

  • Tom

    March 29, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    L Middleton, Joyce and all extremist Manchurian Dums. If that’s a Manchurian Dums poll it’s a disaster for you and your party. Wow.

    This poll is a disaster in describing the extremism of Dems. What a nightmare, train wreck. 65% of you Manchurians think Florida is wrong track,

Comments are closed.


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