August 30, 2006 - Crist Holds 25-Point Lead In GOP Primary For Governor, Quinnipiac University Florida Poll Finds; Smith Gains Some Ground In Democratic Matchup
Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist leads Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher 57 - 32 percent among likely Republican voters in the gubernatorial primary, while state Sen. Rod Smith has narrowed the gap against U.S. Rep. Jim Davis in the Democratic contest, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Crist's margin among voters likely to cast ballots in the September 5 primary is similar to his 55 - 32 lead in the July 26 poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe- ack) University poll.

But on the Democratic side, Davis' lead over Smith has shrunk dramatically as the campaign enters the home stretch. Davis, who led Smith among likely Democratic primary voters 47 - 19 percent July 26 now leads 43 - 32 percent.

"It will take a political storm a lot bigger than Ernesto to give Gallagher much chance to defeat Crist in the GOP primary," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "It would be hard to think of a candidate who has blown that large a lead with so little time remaining until the actual voting.

"The Democratic race, on the other hand, is by no means over. Certainly a candidate would prefer to be 11 points ahead as is Davis, with less than a week before the primary. But Smith's ability to cut Davis' lead so sharply has to make the Congressman nervous."

Crist's lead in the Republican race is correlated by the fact that those likely to vote in the primary have a better impression of him than they do of Gallagher.

Fifty-one percent have a favorable impression of Crist, compared to only 11 percent who view him unfavorably. By comparison, 32 percent view Gallagher favorably, with 17 percent unfavorable.

Only 18 percent of Crist voters, compared to 27 percent of Gallagher supporters, say they might change their mind before going to the polls Tuesday. On the Democratic side, only about a third of voters for both men say they might change their mind. Smith's run comes after both men began airing television commercials to introduce themselves to those who did not know them.

In the July 26 poll, only 15 percent of likely primary voters viewed Smith favorably, 5 percent unfavorably. Davis's numbers were similar, 16 percent favorable, 6 percent unfavorable.

But after their televised debates and barrages of television commercials, both men have improved their standing without driving up their negative ratings. Davis is now viewed favorably by 40 percent and unfavorably by just 2 percent; Smith scores 33 percent favorable and 7 percent unfavorable. In both cases, 41 or 42 percent of likely Democratic primary voters say they don't know enough to form an opinion of the candidates.

From August 23 - 28, Quinnipiac University surveyed 317 Florida likely Republican primary voters, with a margin of error of +/- 5.5 percentage points, and 312 likely Democratic primary voters, with a margin of error of +/- 5.6 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. (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? (If undecided q1) As of today, do you lean more toward Davis or Smith? This table includes Leaners.

                        LIKELY DEMOCRATIC
                        PRIMARY VOTERS


Davis 43% Smith 32 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) - DK/NA 24

TREND: (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? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Davis or Smith? This table includes Leaners.

                        LIKELY DEMOCRATIC
                        PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Aug 30  Jul 26
                        2006    2006


Davis 43 47 Smith 32 19 SMONE ELSE 1 - WLDN'T VOTE - - DK/NA 24 33



1a. (If candidate choice q1) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the primary?

                        LIKELY DEMOCRATIC
                        PRIMARY VOTERS..........
                                CANDIDATE CHOICE
                        Tot     JD       RS


Made up 62% 60% 66% Might change 37 39 33 DK/NA 1 1 1



2. (If registered democrat) Is your opinion of Jim Davis favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        LIKELY DEMOCRATIC
                        PRIMARY VOTERS


Favorable 40% Unfavorable 2 Mixed 13 Hvn't hrd enough 41 REFUSED 4

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

                        LIKELY DEMOCRATIC
                        PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Aug 30  Jul 26
                        2006    2006


Favorable 40 16 Unfavorable 2 6 Mixed 13 11 Hvn't hrd enough 41 66 REFUSED 4 1



3. (If registered democrat) Is your opinion of Rod Smith favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        LIKELY DEMOCRATIC
                        PRIMARY VOTERS


Favorable 33% Unfavorable 7 Mixed 14 Hvn't hrd enough 42 REFUSED 4

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

                        LIKELY DEMOCRATIC
                        PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Aug 30  Jul 26
                        2006    2006


Favorable 33 15 Unfavorable 7 5 Mixed 14 6 Hvn't hrd enough 42 73 REFUSED 4 1



4. (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? (If undecided q4) As of today, do you lean more toward Crist or Gallagher? This table includes Leaners.

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS


Crist 57% Gallagher 32 SMONE ELSE(VOL) - WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) - DK/NA 12

TREND: (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? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Crist or Gallagher? *This table includes Leaners

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Aug 30  Jul 26
                        2006    2006


Crist 57 55 Gallagher 32 32 SMONE ELSE (VOL) - 1 WLDN'T VOTE (VOL) - - DK/NA 12 12



4a. (If candidate choice q4) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the primary?

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS..........
                                CANDIDATE CHOICE
                        Tot     CC      TG
                                
Made up                 78%     82%     71%
Might change            21      18      27
DK/NA                    1       -       3




5. (If registered republican) Is your opinion of Charlie Crist favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS


Favorable 51% Unfavorable 11 Mixed 20 Hvn't hrd enough 15 REFUSED 4



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

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Aug 30  Jul 26
                        2006    2006


Favorable 51 57 Unfavorable 11 6 Mixed 20 14 Hvn't hrd enough 15 23 REFUSED 4 -



6. (If registered republican) Is your opinion of Tom Gallagher favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS


Favorable 32% Unfavorable 17 Mixed 28 Hvn't hrd enough 18 REFUSED 4

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

                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN
                        PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Aug 30  Jul 26
                        2006    2006


Favorable 32 44 Unfavorable 17 11 Mixed 28 18 Hvn't hrd enough 18 27 REFUSED 4 -