These trendlines are bleak for Crist, and there’s little chance of him surviving. Remember, Rubio hasn’t spent a dime on media yet. This is all grassroots driven, and the teabaggers are 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…
If I’m Charlie Crist, I realize that I’m toast in the Republican primary. I note that a three-way race is a coin flip at best. But as a Democrat… switching parties and making an earnest transition on the issues would be the cleanest path to a Senate seat.
Not only hasn’t Rubio spent on media yet, but he can count on boatloads of earned media from the right. The question, then: Will Crist pull a Specter and switch? As in Pennsylvania, Florida’s primary is closed so the centrist can’t count on independents to bail him out. As a Democrat, Crist leads Rubio in a general election match-up 45/34 — but even there, 21 percent are undecided. If he doesn’t switch, the primary will likely decide who wins the Senate seat, as Crist leads big over likely Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek and Rubio trails narrowly despite most of the electorate being undecided. Of course, this all assumes that my nightmare scenario of a bloody primary suppressing Republican turnout in the general election won’t come to pass. Will it?
Sarahpalooza-flavored exit question: Palin is bound to endorse Rubio eventually, but will he have her come and campaign for him? Sarahcuda is useful primarily as a spur to turnout among the base, but Rubio is less in need of that than any other candidate running next year. He’s already the base’s darling; all she can do for him, potentially, is spur turnout among Palin-haters on the left (which is the not-too-secret reason Bob McDonnell politely declined her generous offer in Virginia).