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Christmas has come early for former Governor Charlie Crist, with a new private poll showing him with as much as a 25-point lead over Alex Sink in a possible primary for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Steve Bousquet has the details: In a coincidence of timing, about half of the poll was done before Crist's Dec. 7 announcement that he was becoming a Democrat, and half was conducted afterward. The poll showed Crist increasing his lead over Sink from 17 points to 25 after his switch became public at a White House holiday reception. Respondents were likely primary voting Democrats who also identified themselves on the phone as Democrats.

The poll was done for an undisclosed client of ClearView Research from Dec. 4-9, and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. ClearView, a market research firm, is run in part by Screven Watson, a former executive director of the Florida Democratic Party and a Tallahassee political operative who said he has no connection to Crist.

"This was not done to promote or demote anybody," Watson said. "A client had a curiosity. We do not have a dog in this fight."

According to the poll, 79 percent of Democrats have a somewhat or very favorable view of Crist compared to 58 percent for Sink. Crist, a former Republican governor who ran as an independent Senate candidate in 2010, completed his conversion to the Democratic Party Thursday.

The poll tested six other names, all of whom were in the low single digits: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, former Sen. Nan Rich, former Attorney General Bob Butterworth, Florida Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith and former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio.

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