TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott's bid for a second term could depend on how many supporters of a Libertarian candidate decide to switch before election day.
A Quinnipiac University Poll of likely voters released Wednesday showed Scott with a lead of only 2 percentage points over his challenger, former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican who turned Democrat after leaving office. That is within the poll's margin of error, putting the two in a statistical dead heat.
More than four out of five, 83 percent, said their minds are made up, while 17 percent said they might change their minds.
Scott is one of a number of governors locked in tight races this year, while at least one, Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, is trailing his Democratic challenger by more than 20 points. Because the incumbents were elected in the Republican wave election in 2010, most of them are from the GOP.
With Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie in the race, Scott gets 44 percent of the vote, Crist 42 percent and Wyllie 8. Given a straight-up choice between the two major parties, 46 percent of respondents went for Scott and 44 for Crist.
"The two voter groups that will tell the tale of the election are independent voters and those who are backing Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie," said Peter A. Brown, the poll's assistant director.
"Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist are doing about the same with their respective party bases and former Republican Crist is not having any trouble being accepted by members of his new party. Wyllie voters are the bigger unknown because there is little way of predicting if they will stay with the third-party challenger or decide to switch to Scott or Crist in order to be with a winner."
Both Scott and Crist got low marks for honesty, with 39 percent saying the incumbent is honest and trustworthy and 37 percent agreeing on the challenger.
"When fewer than four in 10 voters think both the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor are honest, you know this has been one of the nastiest races in state history," Brown said. "They have been throwing so much mud that they both are covered in it."
The poll surveyed 991 likely voters between Sept. 17 and Sept. 22. The margin of error is 3.1 points.