Pollster calls Charlie Crist ‘defanged’ after Florida survey shows him badly trailing DeSantis

New poll shows DeSantis up 11 points over Crist

A pollster called Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist "defanged" after a survey showed him badly trailing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis

The Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy survey showed Crist trailing DeSantis by an 11-point percentage, so Brad Coker attempted to explain why the Democratic challenger is losing. 

A pollster called Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist "defanged" after a survey showed him badly trailing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

A pollster called Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist "defanged" after a survey showed him badly trailing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.  (Thomas Wheelock/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The survey was conducted Sept. 28, as Hurricane Ian was putting the Sunshine State in the national news cycle. In an NBC News report, Coker suggested Crist is at a disadvantage because he wasn’t in office during the deadly storm. 

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"DeSantis is going to be Governor Hurricane for the next couple weeks. The disadvantage Crist has is two-fold: he’s completely out of the news and he never managed a hurricane so he can’t stand up and point to what he did. So Crist is totally, totally defanged," Coker said. 

NBC News put a spotlight on the comment, headlining an article about the survey, "DeSantis leads ‘defanged’ Crist after hurricane, poll shows." 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives an update Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, on the damage from Tropical Storm Ian.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives an update Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, on the damage from Tropical Storm Ian. (Florida Governor's Office)

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Despite the pollster noting that Crist has a "disadvantage" because he wasn’t in power during the hurricane, NBC later added that "Mason-Dixon’s poll results are essentially unchanged from a prior survey Coker conducted in February." 

The same pollster once urged voters not to overlook Nikki Fried, who lost by a landslide to Crist in the August primary. 

"Don’t count her out. I wouldn’t bet my house on it, but if I had 100 bucks I found under a rock, I’d bet it on Nikki Fried," Coker told CNN ahead of the primary. 

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Charlie Crist, a former GOP governor of Florida, is attempting to return to the governor's mansion as a Democrat.

Charlie Crist, a former GOP governor of Florida, is attempting to return to the governor's mansion as a Democrat. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

NBC News added that the poll "shows DeSantis is winning a higher share of the Republican vote than Crist is of the Democratic vote, and the governor is getting more Democratic voters when compared to the percentage of Republican voters picking Crist."

Crist, a former governor of Florida, is attempting to return to the governor's mansion after serving from 2007 to 2011. The former Republican – who switched parties in 2012 -- was a Democratic representative serving Florida's 13th Congressional District but resigned from Congress after winning his party's nomination for governor. 

Fox News' Power Rankings rate the Florida gubernatorial race as "likely Republican."

Fox News’ Aubrie Spady and Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report. 

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