- A new poll for the gubernatorial Democrat primary shows candidates Nikki Fried and Charlie Crist tied
- Each candidate received 39 percent of support, with 22 percent still undecided
- Fried polled higher with younger demographic groups while Crist held strong among older voters
- The Fried campaign holds optimism, claiming Fried holds the momentum heading into early voting
A new poll released on Friday conducted by Kaplan Strategies, a non-partisan research firm, shows a tie between Rep. Charlie Crist and Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried in the gubernatorial Democratic primary, going so far as to now declare Fried, who has trailed in nearly all polls to this point, the favorite.
Both Crist and Fried received support from 39 percent of respondents, while 22 percent remained undecided. Fried polled higher among the 18-to-29 demographic, where she outpaced the former governor by a margin of 28 points. Crist, however, kept steady among the 65 and older crowd, where he bested Fried by 25 points.
The poll indicates Fried is holding a reliance on younger voters to turn out, a strategy that has burned many lawmakers in the past. Despite this, members of the Fried campaign remain optimistic.
The non-partisan poll validates everything we already knew about this race,” said Fried campaign Senior Advisor Matthew Van Name. “The momentum is behind Nikki, and her message is resonating with voters. People may know Charlie’s name, but when they are reminded of his anti-choice, pro-NRA record, they’re turned off.”
According to the study, Fried has a 60 to 10 percent positive approval rating from likely Democratic primary voters, while 30 percent remain unsure. Though just 13 percent of respondents are undecided, Crist enjoys a positive margin of 66 percent to 21 percent. Democrat disdain of Republican incumbent Governor Ron DeSantis, who has an 8 percent to 86 percent favorable rating, is one item that unifies Democrats, though.
“The primary is up for grabs at the moment,” said Doug Kaplan of Kaplan Strategies. “Despite Crist being a former Governor and having been on a statewide ballot so many times in the past, Fried is still within striking distance of winning the nomination. He has name ID, but she has momentum.”
Internal polling provided by the office of Fried in June showed a 4-point deficit to Crist. The poll suggested Fried is faring better than some statewide pollsters may report, even providing a metric that indicates Fried leads Crist by 17 points when respondents are given a ‘positive bio read’ before selecting a candidate.
In an attempt to obtain the bio read used in polling, Fried campaign Press Secretary Carolline Korba intially agreed to provide The Capitolist with a copy before rebuking the statement without explanation.
“A new poll of likely 2022 Democratic primary voters in Florida shows a dead heat in the race for Governor as Nikki Fried is well-positioned to take advantage of an electorate that is ready to replace Ron DeSantis,” the poll report states. “Nikki Fried is closer to former Republican Governor Charlie Crist than previous public polls showed, with a significant portion of voters undecided even as Crist is very well-known. Moreover, a simulated campaign in the poll shows a clear path to victory for Fried if she has the resources to communicate the message.”
Findings reflect the name-brand status of Charlie Crist’s campaign, conveying that Crist holds a 26-point familiarity advantage over Fried.
Fried’s internal poll marked the first poll she holds a lead in since February.