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Florida Senate Race: Crist Lags Rubio, but Would do Better in November

4 years ago
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The latest Florida Senate survey -- conducted April 8-13 by Quinnipiac University -- tells us what the polls have been saying for weeks: former state House Speaker Marco Rubio is way ahead of Gov. Charlie Crist in the GOP primary race, while Crist runs far better than Rubio in a general election against Democrat Kendrick Meek.

Rubio leads Crist in the contest for the nomination by 56 percent to 33 percent with 10 percent undecided. Rubio leads among conservatives, who make up most of the GOP voter base, by 67 percent to 25 percent with 8 percent undecided.

In a general election matchup, Rubio leads Meek 42 percent to 38 percent with 17 percent undecided, while Crist bests Meek by 48 percent to 34 percent with 14 percent undecided.

Although Crist issued a strong statement on April 8 seeking to put "rumors to rest once and for all" that he might run as an independent or as a "no party affiliation" candidate, Quinnipiac posed the question about a hypothetical three-way race. It had Crist leading Rubio 32 percent to 30 percent with 24 percent for Meek and 13 percent undecided. That's within the poll's 2.8 percentage point margin of error. Crist would draw support from 30 percent of Republicans, 27 percent of Democrats, and 38 percent of independents (he's 9 points ahead of Rubio among independents).Despite all the attention Rubio's challenge to Crist has received nationwide, 41 percent of Florida voters say they haven't heard enough about Rubio to form a favorable or unfavorable opinion. Meek has an even steeper name-recognition mountain to climb with nearly three-quarters of voters having no opinion of him.

"Anything is possible in politics and we have a long way to go until the August primary, but Rubio's surge against a sitting governor from his own party is similar to Ned Lamont's Democratic primary win over Sen. Joseph Lieberman in Connecticut in 2006," said Quinnipiac's Peter A. Brown.

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