In what seems to be a stunning development for the party of the left, Florida Democrats are looking to that most hated of characters to try to derail the Gov. Ron DeSantis juggernaut:
The straight, middle-aged white man.
A new poll by a Washington firm GBAO Strategies shows Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist with a “commanding” lead over his top party rivals in the gubernatorial primary.
Crist, who held three of Florida’s highest elected state offices when he was still a Republican, and then switched to being a Democrat during the Obama years, was supported by 54 percent of the 800 Florida Democrats polled by GBAO.
State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried was second, with 28 percent. State Sen. Annette Taddeo, who ran as Crist’s lieutenant governor in 2014 when he was beaten by incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott, was a distant third, with 7 percent. The rest were undecided.
“Across the ideological spectrum,” GBAO says in the poll text, “voters prefer Crist to his opponents.”
This is an odd way to phrase it, since the “ideological spectrum” among Democrats is about as wide as a shoestring, ranging from far left to really far left.
Still, the GBAO survey shows Crist far ahead among the various groups broken down by the pollster.
For example, Crist is supported by 61 percent of black Democrats, 54 of whites, and even leads among Hispanics – Taddeo is Hispanic, and from South Florida – with 44 percent.
He is backed by 52 percent of Democratic women, while running against two Democratic women, and 57 percent of Democratic men.
He commands 56 percent support in the Interstate 4 corridor, 52 percent in Miami, 50 percent in Palm Beach, 66 percent in southwest Florida, and 45 percent in North Florida.
In any of these categories, the closest to Crist is Fried’s 34 percent in the northern part of the state.
Crist’s problem, though, is that a few recent polls show him trailing the Republican incumbent, in a state where the number of registered GOP voters just surpassed that of Democrats for the first time in Florida’s 167-year history.
DeSantis has led Crist by between six and 11 points in at least three polls taken since November.