The Washington Times - March 20, 2013, 10:45AM

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat, would trounce the state’s current GOP Gov. Rick Scott in a hypothetical 2014 matchup, a new poll says.

Mr. Crist, running as a Democrat, would get 50 percent of the vote, while Mr. Scott would garner just 34 percent, according to results of a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday. Only 36 percent of voters approve of how Mr. Scott’s handles his job, according to the survey.


The poll also shows that Democrat Alex Sink, the state’s former chief financial officer who lost to Mr. Scott in 2010, would beat him in a rematch by a margin of 45 percent to 34 percent.

Still, it’s not all bad news for Mr. Scott, as the survey shows him beating State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam by 23 percentage points in a GOP gubernatorial primary.

“Scott’s support among Republicans appears pretty solid, although he has a lot of fences to mend with independent voters and he has virtually no crossover appeal to Democrats,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“The fact that voters think it’s an asset that former Gov. Charlie Crist moved from conservative Republican to a Democrat with very different political views will be a key metric to watch between now and the 2014 voting.”

Mr. Crist was once a rising star in the Republican Party and even was whispered as a possible vice presidential candidate in 2008. But his popularity crashed soon after, and in 2010 — after leaving the GOP — he ran for Senate as an independent and lost in a three-way race won by Republican Marco Rubio.