The 2014 Florida gubernatorial election pitted a highly unpopular incumbent Republican against a former Republican governor since turned independent to Democratic challenger. For the duration of his first term in office, Governor Rick Scott was plagued by low approval ratings generated directly from a series of decisions that proved unpopular to most Florida voters. Fortunately for Scott, however, his opponent for reelection was none other than Charlie Crist, his predecessor in Tallahassee who chose to vacate the governorship in 2010 in a failed bid for the U.S. Senate in which he shed his Republican affiliation only to lose to Republican Marco Rubio. Since then, Crist switched from no party affiliation to the Democratic Party and then launched a spirited bid to win back his old job from Governor Scott. In this study, we use survey data supplemented by other popular accounts to demonstrate that the 2014 Florida gubernatorial election was a classic case of voters perceiving their choice as the lesser of two evils. And in this case, the low approval rating of Governor Scott was less damaging than Crist's party switch, an action that proved electorally fatal.
- Gubernatorial election
- Party switch