updated 10/10/2006 2:30:11 PM ET 2006-10-10T18:30:11

Republican Attorney General Charlie Crist has a commanding lead over Democratic nominee U.S. Rep. Jim Davis in their race to replace Gov. Jeb Bush, a new poll shows.

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Crist was backed by 53 percent of likely voters, compared to 43 percent who said they favored the Democratic congressman from Tampa, with 3 percent undecided.

The random telephone survey of 783 likely voters was taken between Oct. 3-8 by Quinnipiac (Conn.) University Polling Institute. Crist was favored by 50 percent to Davis' 39 percent in a larger sampling of 968 registered voters.

The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points in the sampling of likely voters and 3.2 percentage points among registered voters. 2006 key races

Bush, a Republican, is prohibited from seeking a third term.

Voters were split on whether they wanted the new governor to continue with the policies Bush has championed, including state standardized tests being used as a requirement for student promotion.

Nearly three of every five respondents, 58 percent, ranked property insurance costs as their main concern, 20 percent listed tax cuts and 19 percent regarded the school test as the No. 1 issue.

Davis' biggest obstacle, according to the poll, seems to be that he remains largely unknown, only weeks from Election Day. Nearly three in five respondents, 57 percent, said they still didn't know enough about him.

"He hasn't come close to introducing himself to enough Floridians to win," said Peter Brown, Quinnipiac's assistant poll director.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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