Fried Takes the Lead Over Crist As Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate, According to a New Poll of Florida Democrats

Toby Hazlewood

Either will face a formidable competitor in DeSantis

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Fried and CristTwitter of NikkiFried

A poll released on August 16 suggests that Nikki Fried is now the more-likely candidate to win through in the Democratic primaries for November's gubernatorial election. It represents a significant shift in voter sentiment towards Fried - the state's current Agriculture Commissioner.

The poll was conducted by the Public Option Research Lab (PORL) at the University of North Florida, and considered the views of 1,624 registered Florida voters. Registered Democrats were asked their choices in the Aug. 23 primary for governor and Senate and in the governor’s race, 47% said they would vote for Fried, followed by 43% for Crist.

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Charlie Crist campaigningTwitter of CharlieCrist

Crist dismisses the poll in favor of his own

The team behind Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist will be dismissive of the results. In a recently-published poll carried out by Crist's own campaign organization, Crist was projected to have a solid lead over Fried in excess of 20%.

Given that the poll from June 29 originated from within Crist's own campaign, could it be that the mood has shifted since then, or that perhaps the results were biased towards those already engaged with his campaigning?

An alternative interpretation could be that since the end of June, the mood has shifted amongst Democrats, and the campaign efforts of Fried - particularly her efforts to engage with voters over the recent Roe V. Wade legislation - might be starting to gain traction.

Both claimed victory from their debate

In recent weeks the candidates faced-off in a televised debate - both claimed victory after the event but it is the opinion of voters rather than their own impressions that matter.

The poll from UNF suggests that it may just be that Democratic voters are coming around to Fried over Crist as their preferred candidate against the incumbent Republican, Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis - a formidable competitor?

Whoever triumphs in the Democratic primaries in August, they will face a formidable opponent in Ron DeSantis. A February 2022 poll from the same organization that projected Fried overturning Crist as the leading Democrat, showed that Ron DeSantis was likely to receive 55% of the votes in November's gubernatorial election against either opponent - Crist would receive 34% and Fried just 32%.

Perhaps more troubling for Governor DeSantis however, another poll of progressive voters in Florida has projected that he might not be guaranteed to win at all. The poll of 2,000 voters suggested that he could receive as little as 48% of votes, giving him just 3% advantage over either Democrat.

The only certain conclusion to draw, it seems is that nothing can be certain until the votes are counted in any election.

Which Democratic candidate would you prefer to compete with Ron DeSantis? Do you think that it is unimportant and that in fact, DeSantis is assured victory no matter who he goes up against? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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