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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Insider Poll: Can Marco Rubio win reelection against Patrick Murphy?

16

June

It looks increasingly likely, if not certain, that Marco Rubio will run for reelection to the Senate. 

But will Rubio WIN re-election to the Senate? 

His home state poll numbers have taken a hit since his presidential campaign, where Donald Trump beat him by nearly 20 percentage points among Florida Republicans. Unlike his first campaign in 2010, Rubio will be running in presidential election cycle with strong Democratic turnout. Trump at the top of the ticket could be a drag on all Republican candidates. Yes, an incumbent has a significant advantage, and Rubio is likely to be well-funded. But he still faces a big challenge winning a second term.

We asked more than 150 experienced Florida politicos to asess Rubio's reelection prospects, and a remarkable 96 percent in the Florida Insider Poll predicted Rubio would win if the Democratic U.S. Senate nominee is Alan Grayson. But if Democrats nominate Patrick Murphy, only 55 percent think Rubio will win a second term.

More than three in four people surveyed expect Hillary Clinton will beat Donald Trump for Florida's 29 electoral votes. A May Florida Insider Pollow found 68 percent predicting Clinton winning Florida, suggesting conventional wisdom is turning even more skeptical of Trump's prospects.

"Rubio running for re-election would be a game-changer," a Republican said, "but it's also not a sure thing with Trump and his baggage at the top of the ticket."

"Rubio has no idea how much Democratic money and enthusiasm will rain down on his head if he decides to run -- we'll spend every penny to end his career forever," said another Republican. "He will lose because of his awful votes on guns, his chronic absenteeism, his radical anti-choice views — and of course, running with Trump in a state that's 23% Hispanic."

Another Republican who predicted Rubio would beat Murphy acknowledged doubts: "I'm not so certain that Marco Rubio is elected as the GOP nominee.  The guy couldn't muster up the GOP vote to win the PPP.  Maybe the patch to victory would include Donald Trump endorsing and pushing for Marco in the Primary??" 

Given the deep doubts about Trump's electability, we asked whether Republican delegates would be wise to change their nomiinating rules and pick a nominee other than Trump at the national convention in July. Sixty percent said no.

"The Republican Party is going to lose the November presidential election. The question for party leaders is whether they will let the G.O.P. brand become permanently radioactive in the process," a Democrat said. "Allow Trump to leave Cleveland as the nominee, and the "party of Lincoln" may never recover. Stop him, and Republican stalwarts could win the larger struggle over the party's heart and soul even while losing the election. This Democrat's advice? Choose the latter, and live to fight another day."

"Republicans are screwed. If we change rules to get rid of Trump, his supporters will kill us in Cleveland," lamented a Republican. "If we don't, Democrats will kill us in November. Either way, it looks bleak."

Another: "As a life long Republican and as much as I would like to see the delegates nominate someone else at the Republican national convention, they MUST follow the wishes of the GOP primary voter.  The Republican establishment and it's leaders are clearly to blame for the creation of Donald Trump. The GOP voters spoke out loud and clear during the primaries not some much bc of their love for Trump but disgust with thier elected officials from Tallahassee to DC. "

Not every Republican politico surveyed was so pessimistic. "Rubio and Trump will help each other to victory here in Florida as they both will help the Republican ticket with different demographics," said one.

This week's Insiders:

Joe Gruters, David Colburn, Nick Hansen, Henry Kelley, Julia Gil Woodward, Richard DeNapoli, Karen Thurman, Rich Heffley, Bob Poe, Chris Hand, Ann Herberger, Susie Wiles, Bud Shorstein, Stephen Bittel, John Morgan, Andy Ford, Husein Cumber, Darrick D. McGhee, Donald Hinkle, Bernie Campbell, John Konkus, Ken Jones, Kristen Dougherty, Arlene DiBenigno, Ana Navarro, Scott Arceneaux, Richard Swann, Abel Harding, Karl Koch, David Johnson, Christian Ulvert, Daminen Filer, Peter Wallace, Karen Unger, Geoffrey Becker, Seth McKee, Matt Bryan, Ryan Tyson, Doug Kaplan, Joshua Karp, Steve Geller, Eric Jotkoff, Kevin Cate, Chip Case, Clarence McKee, Al Hoffman, Doc Dockery, Charles Dudley, Ana Cruz, Stephen Shiver, Christian Camara, Mike Hightower, Marc Reichelderfer, Jason Roth, Erik Kirk, Roly Marante, Rich Ramos, David Rancourt, Nan Rich, Alan Clendenin, Ralph Arza, Jackie Lee, Towson Fraser, Eric Johnson, David Bishop, Patrick Slevin, Eric Zichella, Monica Russo, Cory Tilley, Jack Seiler, Jon Woodard, Van Poole, Pete Mitchell, John Wehrung, Fred Cunningham, Jon Mills, Sarah Rumpf, Allan Bense, Justin Day, Jeff Hartley, Javier Manjerres,  Barry Edwards, Trey Traviesa, Mike Fasano, Bridget Nocco, Robert Wexler, April Schiff, Brian Hughes, Jim Davis, Kathy Mears, Frank Tsamoutales, Alex Heckler, Steve Schale, Screven Watson, Ellen Freidin, Alex Patton, Dan Gelber, Steve Uhlfelder, Stafford Jones, Betty Castor, Bob Sparks, Jamie Wilson, Chris Dortworth, Wayne Bertsch, Dave Aronberg, Fred Karlinsky, Susan Glickman, Scott Barnhart, Greg Turbeville, John Stemberger, Scott Peelen, Greg C. Truax, Mike Hamby, Jason Unger, Jon Ausman, Mark Ferrulo, Bill Lee, Darryl Paulson, Jill Chamberlin, Travis Blanton, Ron Pierce, Susan Smith, Alex Sink, Alan Stonecipher, Peter Antonacci, Brad Coker, Marion Hammer, Bob Graham, Aubrey Jewett, Ron Klein, Tom Lewis, Jim Rimes, Gretchen Picotte, Ron Gunzburger, Tom Scarritt, Pablo Diaz, Matthew Isbell, Lucy Morgan, Zach Zachariah, Paula Dockery, Ron Bilbao, Nikki Lowrey, Mac Stipanovich, Jack Hebert, Nancy McGowan, Kirk Fordham, Mark Zubaly

[Last modified: Thursday, June 16, 2016 7:10am]

    

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