FL Sen: Rubio’s Polling Lags – What Happened to Tea Baggers’ Great White Hope?

Orlando Sentinel:

In the U.S. Senate race, the [new Reuters/Ipsos] poll shows Gov. Charlie Crist – the ex-Republican now running as an independent — with a 35-to-28 percent lead over Republican former House Speaker Marco Rubio, with Democrat Kendrick Meek trailing with 17 percent. Should billionaire challenger Jeff Greene take out Meek in the Democratic primary, those percentages would be basically unchanged.

Other polls also have showed Crist and Rubio locked in a tight race, with the Democrat well behind each of them. The Reuters/Ipsos poll of 600 registered voters was taken July 9-11.

But Crist was supposed to have been flattened now by the enormous anger and energy on the right and Rubio’s ascendancy as the tea baggers’ great white hope. What happened?

…By now, Crist was supposed to be fading if not trailing. After a May poll showed Crist in the lead, Mason-Dixon polling director Brad Coker predicted that Crist would slip to third place as Meek’s profile rose and Democratic and African-American voters gravitate toward the Democrat.

“When you see that more than half of Crist voters are Democrats, that’s a big red warning sign,” Coker said then.
But Meek hasn’t made an impression in Central Florida, where the Brevard County teachers’ union recently hosted a reception and fundraiser for Crist on Merritt Island.

Rubio keeps appealing to the same conservative Republican primary voters who already squarely supported him — and who had already abandoned Crist.

And the formerly Republican governor keeps doing independent things — courting labor, calling a special session to permanently ban oil drilling within 10 miles of Florida’s shores — that inflame conservatives but reassure Florida moderates, liberals and civil servants…

Note that Crist’s seven-point lead over Rubio in the July poll is bigger than the four-point margin found in June by a Quinnipiac University survey. Like Coker, Quinnipiac’s assistant polling director, Peter Brown, predicted then that Crist’s lead would disappear once Republicans and Democrats started attacking him in advertisements in a general election.

One comment

  • July 15, 2010 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    It’s way too soon to count Rubio out. He raised $4.5 million in the quarter ending June 30, which is more than anyone else in this contest ever, including when Charlie Crist got in at the very beginning, back when he was still governor, a Republican, and had no challengers yet.

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