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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Are GOP straw polls meaningless or real trouble for Crist?




Attending a local political party's executive committee meeting, a prominent (Democratic) Florida politician has observed, is a lot like hanging out at a bus depot at 2:30 in the morning. Lots of interesting people to see and hear, maybe, but not exactly a representative sample of normal Americans.

So what are we to make of all these GOP straw polls -- Marion County's REC last night had one where Rubio received 40 votes, Crist eight and there were four nonvotes -- where the most hard-core Republican activists keep snubbing Charlie Crist and overwhelmingly favoring Marco Rubio?

Two explanations that aren't necessarily mutually exclusive: 1. Charlie Crist has a serious problem with the conservative base that eventually could spell trouble. 2. Local Republican executive committee members are breathtakingly out of touch with mainstream Republican voters.

"I recognize that these straw polls are an outlet for some frustrations that I think don't even have anything to do with the campaign, but they're not in the mainstream of what Republican voters are thinking,'' said state Republican Chairman Jim Greer, noting that an internal state party poll last week by Public Opinion Strategies found that 67 percent of likely Republican voters approve of Gov. Crist's performance and 63 percent of all Florida voters do.

"These straw polls just don't seem to demonstrate that the (local) leadership of the party is in synch with Republican voters," Greer said. "But it is certainly their prerogative to hold them."

Here's the running tally of straw poll results (and let me know if I'm forgetting any):

Marion County GOP: Rubio 40, Crist 8, abstain 4
Hernando County GOP: Rubio 46, Crist 0
Gilchrist County GOP: Rubio 11, Crist 1
Republican Women's Club of Duval Federated: Rubio 65, Crist 4
Northwest Orange Republican Women Federated: Rubio 49, Crist 3
Jefferson County GOP: Rubio 30, Crist 6
Highlands County GOP: Rubio 75, Crist 1
Pasco County GOP: Rubio 73, Crist 9
Lee County GOP: Rubio 60, Crist 9
Florida Federation of College Republicans: Rubio 19, Crist 6.
Bay County GOP: Rubio 23, Crist 2


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:19pm]


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