On the day of the Florida primary comes word of a new PPP poll that shows Marco Rubio 8 percentage points ahead of Charlie Crist in a three-way race also involving Kendrick Meek, who expected to secure the Democratic nomination. Crist has been leading in most polls I’ve seen, including the previous one by PPP, which had him up by 6 points.
The 14 point swing is due, not surprisingly, to a change in the dynamic with both Democratic and Republican voters. Democrats seem to be “coming home” to Meek, a traditional liberal Dem. According to PPP, they are now breaking for Meek 39-38, whereas before they favored Crist 44-35.
Republicans also seem to be “coming home.” Rubio’s 54-23 lead with GOP voters in July has now increased to 69-20. Crist still has his core of Republican support, but the undecided Republicans are moving into Rubio’s camp, if the latest poll is correct.
Crist faces an obvious dilemma. The more he reaches out to Democrats, the less popular he becomes with Republicans. But his real problem seems to be that, even as he has reached out to Dems, these voters are swinging towards Meek. And since Meek is an African-American, he has a large built-in advantage with a substantial portion of Florida’s Demcratic electorate. In addition, if Meek becomes the actual nominee, instead of just the leading contender in a tough race, more Democrats may be inclined to come home to him.
Even so, Crist is a formidable candidate; one poll certainly doesn’t change that. This race is best viewed as a toss-up.
To add to the intrigue, I wouldn’t be completely shocked if control of the Senate ends up turning on whether the Republicans maintain this seat or whether it falls to an ex-Republican who might well caucus with the Democrats.
You can support Marco Rubio, the real deal, by going here.
Via Battle ’10.
JOHN adds: I’m pretty confident Rubio will win, because he is a great candidate. As he gets more exposure he is going to get more support. And, speaking of good news, how about this from Missouri: Roy Blunt has opened up an 11-point lead over Robin Carnahan. The race was polling as a tossup not long ago. A reader emailed me the link and commented that he thinks Carnahan’s decline may be due to the mosque controversy. Sounds doubtful; I don’t know why the issue would have that much importance in Missouri. Still, for whatever reason, it seems clear that with not much over two months to go until Election Day, momentum has swung back to the Republicans.
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