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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

A closer look at the Daily Kos' U.S. Senate GOP primary poll



The liberal Daily Kos blog has released a poll with some intriguing results in Florida's Republican U.S. Senate race between Gov. Charlie Crist and former House Speaker Marco Rubio. Crist leads 47 percent to 37 percent among likely Republican voters, according to the poll, which is bad for the governor for two reasons:

A) That's a 43-percentage-point swing in 10 months.

B) The once-wildly popular Crist is below 50 percent.

If Crist switched parties to become a Democrat or an independent, the poll suggests he would do better.

The poll has loads of stuff and can be read  here. It asked Republicans if they believed President Barack Obama was U.S. born: 35 percent said yes, 29 said no and 36 percent were unsure. When the Kos analyzed the cross-tabs of the birther/nonbirthers, it found a "clear correlation. The crazier the Republican, the better Rubio does. Of the sanest Republicans - those who don't buy into the crazy birther conspiracy theories, only 16 percent support Rubio compared to the whopping 73 percent who support Crist. The governor's problem is that only 35 percent of Florida Republican primary voters fall under that category. Note the birther crosstabs for both the general and GOP primary election samples - the general election sample is less crazy, with 57 percent of Republicans saying Obama was born in the U.S., compared to 35 percent of likely GOP primary voters."

Interesting. Funny. But then the blog engages in a little not-from-Florida lib fantasy:

"These trendlines are bleak for Crist, and there's little chance of him surviving a Republican primary. Remember, Rubio hasn't spent much on media yet. This is all grassroots driven, and the GOP base is engaged, angry and looking for the next Scozzafava. Crist is in their crosshairs, and the governor has been flopping all over the place hoping to stem this growing tide against him (and failing). Note - 50 percent of Republicans still don't know who Rubio is. The more he raises his name ID, the better he does."

"Little chance?" Certainly could be true, but it ignores the fact that Florida's U.S. Senate contest is a media race (i.e., he with the most money and name ID wins. And that's likely Crist). This isn't a chicken-dinner teabag retail politics race like a puny House contest in New York. Also, expect Crist camp to get real mean, real quick with Rubio. So just because Rubio raises money doesn't mean he'll continue poll climbing.

The Crist camp has some work cut out for it: Rubio's stewardship of a pork-filled budget (that Crist took a veto ax to), his use of proviso language to help a friend, an intriguing home loan deal, his post-employment consultancy with a hospital that he steered money toward, etc.

But right now, Rubio's camp and candidacy is tighter and more disciplined than Crist's. Plus, the governor needs to learn to stop fibbing about his relationship with President Barack Obama.

Marc Caputo, Times/Herald Tallahassee bureau


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:06pm]


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