February 22, 2006 - GOP's Crist Has Early Lead In Florida Governor's Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Say Use Surplus For Services, Not Tax Cuts
Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist is emerging as an early favorite in this year's Governor's race to replace incumbent Gov. Jeb Bush, leading in a possible Republican primary and slightly ahead of possible Democratic contenders, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Among Republican voters, Crist leads State Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher 40 - 31 percent, with 27 percent undecided, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. In general election matchups:
  • Crist leads U.S. Rep. Jim Davis 40 - 36 percent;
  • Crist leads State Sen. Rod Smith 42 - 32 percent;
  • Gallagher gets 37 percent, to 36 percent for Davis, a tie;
  • Gallagher leads Smith 38 - 34 percent.
In a Democratic primary, Davis tops Smith 29 - 13 percent, with 53 percent undecided.

"It's early in the election year and a lot of voters are undecided, but at this point Attorney General Charlie Crist is the strongest candidate to succeed Jeb Bush in Tallahassee," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "In a possible matchup between Crist and U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, the Democratic leader at this point, the campaign could focus on independent voters, who presently favor the Republican 35 - 31 percent."

Crist is the most well known of the four contenders, but even here 47 percent haven't heard enough to form an opinion. For Gallagher, 49 percent haven't heard enough. That number jumps to 77 percent for Davis and 82 percent for Smith.

State Budget Surplus

By a 60 - 33 percent margin, Florida voters want to use surplus funds in the state budget to address state needs, rather than for property, sales and investment tax cuts as proposed by Gov. Bush. Republican voters favor tax cuts 53 - 40 percent while Democrats want to address other needs 75 - 17 percent and independent voters want to address other needs 64 - 30 percent.

In an open-ended question, where voters can give any answer, 21 percent of Florida voters listed education-related issues as the most important problem facing the state today, with 10 percent who list economic issues, 9 percent who list housing and over-population and only 2 percent who list taxes.

"Gov. Bush may face a tough sell on his tax cut package. Voters, even 40 percent of Republican voters, apparently think that the tax windfall from the real estate boom could be better spent on other state programs, rather than returning part of it to them in tax cuts," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Based on other questions, education is a likely voter priority for spending the budget surplus."

From February 15 - 20, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,076 Florida registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points. The survey includes 429 Democratic voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percentage points and 443 Republican voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the nation as a public service and for research. For additional data-www.quinnipiac.edu and quicklinks

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jeb Bush is handling his job as Governor?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 54% 85% 27% 52% 58% 50% Disapprove 35 9 62 33 33 37 DK/NA 11 6 11 15 9 13

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Approve 56% 53% 59% 61% 47% Disapprove 30 36 34 24 42 DK/NA 14 11 7 14 12

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jeb Bush is handling his job as Governor?
                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Feb 22  Nov 23  Aug 31  Jun 30  Apr 13  Sep 23  Aug 12
                        2006    2005    2005    2005    2005    2004    2004


Approve 54 53 53 49 51 62 45 Disapprove 35 37 39 40 39 30 44 DK/NA 11 9 8 10 9 8 11



2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 44% 64% 26% 42% 49% 39% Disapprove 36 15 56 38 34 38 DK/NA 21 20 19 20 18 23

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Approve 48% 46% 40% 54% 39% Disapprove 30 38 40 24 38 DK/NA 22 17 20 22 23

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Feb 22  Nov 15  Aug 31  Jun 30  Apr 13  Sep 23  Jun 29
                        2006    2005    2005    2005    2005    2004    2004


Approve 44 41 44 42 44 51 39 Disapprove 36 41 38 40 40 34 42 DK/NA 21 18 18 19 16 15 18



6. Is your opinion of Congressman Jim Davis favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favorable 11% 11% 10% 9% 11% 10% Unfavorable 3 3 3 4 5 2 Mixed 7 7 9 6 7 7 Hvn't hrd enough 77 79 77 78 76 79 REFUSED 1 - 1 3 1 2

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Favorable 10% 18% 7% 7% 11% Unfavorable 2 7 6 - 1 Mixed 8 8 6 6 7 Hvn't hrd enough 80 66 80 86 79 REFUSED 1 1 1 1 3



7. Is your opinion of State Senator Rod Smith favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favorable 7% 7% 7% 8% 8% 6% Unfavorable 4 2 4 3 6 2 Mixed 6 3 9 7 5 7 Hvn't hrd enough 82 87 79 80 80 84 REFUSED 1 - - 2 1 1

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Favorable 9% 13% 5% 5% 6% Unfavorable 4 3 5 - 4 Mixed 11 4 6 6 5 Hvn't hrd enough 75 80 85 89 84 REFUSED 1 - - - 2



8. Is your opinion of Attorney General Charlie Crist favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favorable 31% 39% 16% 36% 34% 28% Unfavorable 8 3 12 9 10 7 Mixed 13 14 14 12 10 16 Hvn't hrd enough 47 43 56 42 45 48 REFUSED 2 1 2 1 1 2

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Favorable 27% 41% 28% 27% 29% Unfavorable 4 8 10 9 9 Mixed 17 14 14 7 11 Hvn't hrd enough 50 36 46 56 50 REFUSED 2 1 2 1 1



9. Is your opinion of State Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favorable 27% 35% 19% 27% 30% 24% Unfavorable 9 3 13 11 12 7 Mixed 14 16 15 11 11 17 Hvn't hrd enough 49 45 53 49 47 51 REFUSED 1 - - 1 - 2

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Favorable 27% 22% 24% 18% 35% Unfavorable 7 13 10 8 8 Mixed 16 13 11 19 16 Hvn't hrd enough 50 51 55 53 40 REFUSED - 2 1 1 1



10. If the 2006 election for governor were being held today, and the candidates were Jim Davis the Democrat and Charlie Crist the Republican for whom would you vote?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Davis 36% 5% 72% 31% 35% 36% Crist 40 77 8 35 44 36 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 2 1 1 4 2 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 1 1 1 2 2 1 DK/NA 22 16 19 29 17 26

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Davis 32% 30% 38% 33% 40% Crist 44 48 36 40 35 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 2 1 2 5 - WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 1 2 2 1 1 DK/NA 21 18 22 22 24

TREND: If the 2006 election for governor were being held today, and the candidates were Jim Davis the Democrat and Charlie Crist the Republican, for whom would you vote?

                        Feb 22  Nov 15
                        2006    2005


Davis 36 40 Crist 40 39 SMONE ELSE 2 1 WLDN'T VOTE 1 1 DK/NA 22 19



11. If the 2006 election for governor were being held today, and the candidates were Jim Davis the Democrat and Tom Gallagher the Republican for whom would you vote?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Davis 36% 7% 71% 31% 38% 35% Gallagher 37 72 9 32 39 36 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 1 - 1 2 1 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 1 1 1 1 1 1 DK/NA 25 19 19 34 21 28

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Davis 29% 36% 39% 28% 41% Gallagher 43 42 35 47 29 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 2 - 1 2 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) - 1 2 1 - DK/NA 26 21 23 22 29

TREND: If the 2006 election for governor were being held today, and the candidates were Jim Davis the Democrat and Tom Gallagher the Republican, for whom would you vote?

                        Feb 22  Nov 15
                        2006    2005


Davis 36 41 Gallagher 37 38 SMONE ELSE 1 2 WLDN'T VOTE 1 1 DK/NA 25 18



12. If the 2006 election for governor were being held today, and the candidates were Rod Smith the Democrat and Charlie Crist the Republican for whom would you vote?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Smith 32% 6% 66% 23% 31% 33% Crist 42 78 10 38 46 38 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 2 1 - 5 3 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 1 1 1 3 2 1 DK/NA 23 15 22 31 18 28

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Smith 27% 26% 36% 28% 36% Crist 46 53 38 46 33 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 3 2 1 3 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 1 2 2 2 - DK/NA 22 17 23 21 29



TREND: If the 2006 election for governor were being held today, and the candidates were Rod Smith the Democrat and Charlie Crist the Republican, for whom would you vote?

                        Feb 22  Nov 15
                        2006    2005


Smith 32 36 Crist 42 41 SMONE ELSE 2 2 WLDN'T VOTE 1 1 DK/NA 23 20



13. If the 2006 election for governor were being held today, and the candidates were Rod Smith the Democrat and Tom Gallagher the Republican for whom would you vote?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Smith 34% 6% 67% 29% 36% 32% Gallagher 38 73 11 33 40 37 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 2 2 1 3 2 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 2 1 1 2 1 2 DK/NA 25 18 20 34 21 28

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Smith 28% 30% 35% 32% 39% Gallagher 44 42 38 41 32 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 3 1 2 2 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 1 2 2 1 1 DK/NA 24 24 23 24 27

TREND: If the 2006 election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Rod Smith the Democrat and Tom Gallagher the Republican, for whom would you vote?

                        Feb 22  Nov 15
                        2006    2005


Smith 34 36 Gallagher 38 41 SMONE ELSE 2 2 WLDN'T VOTE 2 2 DK/NA 25 19



21. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Florida today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Very satisfied 15% 31% 2% 14% 20% 10% Smwht satisfied 43 48 35 49 43 43 Smwht dissatisfied 26 17 37 23 24 28 Very dissatisfied 14 4 24 12 12 16 DK/NA 2 1 2 2 1 3

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Very satisfied 22% 15% 14% 19% 10% Smwht satisfied 39 46 45 47 41 Smwht dissatisfied 25 25 22 24 32 Very dissatisfied 13 13 16 8 15 DK/NA - 2 2 2 2

TREND: In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Florida today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?

                        Feb 22  Nov 15  Aug 31  Jun 30  Apr 13  Feb 24  Dec 7 
                        2006    2005    2005    2005    2005    2005    2004  
                                                                              
Very satisfied          15      15      15      14      12      15      16    
Smwht satisfied         43      43      42      43      47      48      43    
Smwht dissatisfied      26      20      25      27      24      22      23    
Very dissatisfied       14      21      17      15      15      15      16    
DK/NA                    2       1       1       2       2       1       2    




22. What do you think is the most important problem facing Florida today?

                        Tot


Education Total 21% Education general 15 Teachers 1 Funding education 4 School choice/Vouchers 1 Economy Total 10% Economy general 2 Unemployment/jobs 4 Minimum wage too low 1 Cost of living 3

Housing Total 9% Housing Costs/avail. 2 Overcrowding/Over-pop. 7 Crime Total 7% Crime/Violence general 4 Gangs/Youth crime 1 Drugs 1 Criminal justice system 1

Immigration 6%

Hurricanes 5%

Healthcare/Costs/Ins. 4%

Environment/Pollution 3%

Open space/Urban sprawl 3% Energy Total 2% Energy costs general 1 Gas prices 1

Taxes Total 2% Taxes general 1 Property tax 1

Transportation Total 2% Highway traffic/ congestion 1 Poor condition of roads/highways 1

Politicians Total 2% Pols/Campaigns gen. 1 Gov/State leadership 1

Budget priorities 1 Children's issues 1 Drought/Water problems 1 Senior issues 1 Social security 1 War (Iraq) 1 Other 6 DK/NA 7



23. The real estate boom has produced a state budget surplus of more than 3 billion dollars. Governor Bush wants to use 1.5 billion dollars of the surplus for property, sales, and investment tax cuts. Do you support Governor Bush's proposed tax cuts or would you prefer the surplus money be spent on other state needs?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Tax cuts 33% 53% 17% 30% 40% 27% Other needs 60 40 75 64 56 64 DK/NA 7 6 8 6 4 10

North/ PnHnd Bay Cntrl SthW SthE

Tax cuts 37% 34% 28% 36% 32% Other needs 55 58 62 61 62 DK/NA 8 8 9 3 5



33. (If registered Republican) If the 2006 Republican primary for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher for whom would you vote?

                        REGISTERED REPUBLICANS
                        Tot     Men     Wom


Crist 40% 42% 37% Gallagher 31 29 33 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 2 3 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 1 1 1 DK/NA 27 26 28



34. (If registered Democrat) If the 2006 Democratic primary for governor were being held today and the candidates were Jim Davis and Rod Smith, for whom would you vote?

                        REGISTERED DEMOCRATS
                        Tot     Men     Wom


Davis 29% 33% 27% Smith 13 18 9 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 1 1 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 3 4 3 DK/NA 53 44 59