Former state House Speaker Marco Rubio has now jumped to a 12-point lead over Governor Charlie Crist in Florida’s Republican Primary race for the U.S. Senate.It would appear that, once again, Charlie Crist has been harmed more than helped by his association with President Obama. Obama was here in Tampa just this past Thursday to announce that Florida would be receiving 1.25 billion dollars to partially fund one of Charlie's pet projects, the bullett train to Hell. "Partially" being the operative word. The citizens of Florida will need to pony up the other five billion or so dollars needed to complete the project which, based on the past history of light rail, will lose tons of money for every moment it is in existence.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely GOP Primary voters in the state finds Rubio leading Crist 49% to 37%. Three percent (3%) prefer another candidate, and 11% are undecided.
The new numbers mark a stunning turnaround. Crist was the strong favorite when he first announced for the Senate seat, and Rubio was viewed as a long-shot challenger.
But Crist’s support fell from 53% in August to 49% in October. By December, the two men were tied at 43% apiece.
Rubio leads Crist by 17 points among men and by seven among women. He also carries 52% of the conservative GOP vote, while moderates prefer Crist.
Crist’s fortunes appear to be tied in part to national unhappiness over President Obama and his policies. Many conservatives began rebelling against Crist when he became one of the few Republican governors to embrace Obama’s $787-billion economic stimulus plan last year. The national Republican party establishment endorsed Crist early on, but a number of prominent national party conservatives have since announced their support for Rubio. Nationally, the GOP’s Florida Senate race is being watched as a test of the new “Tea Party” mood among many conservative and traditionally Republican voters.
In Florida's Senate general election contest, Crist and Rubio both hold a double-digit lead over their likely Democratic opponent, Congressman Kendrick Meek, in the latest Rasmussen Reports polling of likely voters in the state.
We are still a little more than six months away from the August primary. For Crist, that means he still has a long way to drop.