Quinnipiac shows Crist edging Rubio with an independent bid

posted at 11:36 am on April 15, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Small wonder Charlie Crist’s advisers have suddenly started dropping big hints about an independent bid.  Their polling may have matched that published today by Quinnipiac.  While the Q-poll confirms that Marco Rubio will blow Crist out of the water in a Republican primary, it predicts a very narrow win for the embattled governor in Florida’s Senate race:

Marco Rubio has opened up an elephant-sized 56 – 33 percent lead over Gov. Charlie Crist in Florida’s U.S. Senate Republican primary, but in a three-way general election with Rubio on the GOP line, Crist as an independent and Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, Crist has a razor- thin edge, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Gov. Crist leads Meek 48 – 34 percent in a general election matchup, while Rubio’s margin over the Democrat is just 42 – 38 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds.

If Crist were to file as an independent for the general election, he would get 32 percent of the vote, compared to Rubio’s 30 percent and Meek’s 24 percent.

That’s quite a change from Rasmussen’s poll from last month. That survey showed Rubio winning a three-way race handily over both Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meeks. What’s the difference? Quinnipiac polled registered voters, while Rasmussen polled likely voters. The latter is a far better predictive model, although the wide differences are rather startling even considering the different sample models.

It may be enough, though, to convince Crist to pull out of the primary and risk an all-or-nothing shot at the general election.  If so, Crist only has 15 days to decide.  That’s the filing deadline for Florida, and Crist would have to change his mind before that date to pull out.

And if he does, Crist may get even lonelier than he is at the moment.  His hand-picked seatwarmer in the Senate, George LeMieux, refused to state whether he’d back Crist as an independent:

Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL), one of FL Gov. Charlie Crist’s (R) closest advisors, said this morning he does not believe Crist will leave the GOP, even as Crist’s campaign has seemingly left the door open for a last-minute party switch.

On a conference call previewing Pres. Obama’s trip to the Kennedy Space Center today, LeMieux declined to say whether he would support Crist’s potential independent bid.

“I have no information that he’s going to run as an independent. He’s a Republican. He’s always been a Republican, and I expect him to run as a Republican,” LeMieux said when asked whether he would continue backing Crist in the event Crist becomes an independent.

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it doesn’t put LeMieux’s support totally out of reach, either.

Quinnipiac’s Peter Brown rightly notes that Crist winning a GOP primary now would be the equivalent of hiking up a “90-degree mountain,” a virtual impossibility. I’d be surprised if Crist doesn’t go indy by the end of the month.


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At least another “Republican” is being flushed out.

rickyricardo on April 15, 2010 at 11:40 AM

I don’t trust Quinnipiac to get anything right and neither should Crist.

He can attempt to run as an indy if he wants, but it’ll be a high-stakes race because walking away from the Republican party to avoid a primary against Rubio will finish his political career if it doesn’t work.

teke184 on April 15, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Pull a Specter and join the demonrats, Crist, go for it all in an effort to stay on the public dime.

Bishop on April 15, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Nothing like sticking by your principles and political ideology…

… Anything to get elected, huh, Crist?

Seven Percent Solution on April 15, 2010 at 11:43 AM

AS lorien1973 commented yesterday, the damage this would do to the GOP could be immense. Why should a tea party candidate that loses a GOP primary not run as an independent in the general if Crist goes this route?

If you lose the semi-final, do not compete in the finals.

WashJeff on April 15, 2010 at 11:46 AM

I sure hope the voters in FL are smarter than to vote for crist as an I or a R. If I lived in FL, I would vote for Rubio.
L

letget on April 15, 2010 at 11:46 AM

And what if by some miracle Crist does win the Senate seat as an independent(he won’t, BTW)? He’ll be a pariah. Conservatives will hate him. The left will only like him as a useful idiot(ala Graham and McCain). I don’t even wanna imagine what the Latino community will be saying about him.

Doughboy on April 15, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Yeah, Charlie, run as an I and split the vote so the D wins in Nov. This is exactly what the dems want to see. You can believe the Q poll if you want to stoke your ego, or do the right thing for the state and country and get outta the race after the primary.

Kissmygrits on April 15, 2010 at 11:47 AM

My God! People are stooopid.

Just because Crist sticks an I behind his name, people will totally forgive and forget it is the same person?

Oh, wait, it is from which source?

Sir Napsalot on April 15, 2010 at 11:47 AM

one poll does not a trend make. Would Crist’s team put all of its chips on one poll, more specifically, a Quinnipiac poll?
time will tell. I bet they don’t. I see the Oompa Loompa getting thrown in the chocolate river.

ted c on April 15, 2010 at 11:48 AM

I don’t buy it…this polling makes no reasonable sense. Rubio is going to lose Independents to Crist…yeah right. more likely he is drawing from Dems.

PatriotRider on April 15, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Snooki Crist!

Jaibones on April 15, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Third Party here we come bishes!!!

abobo on April 15, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Now, of course, Crist wants to run away from that photo op — but Floridians have long memories. Crist revealed himself as a political opportunist rather than a principled conservative, and now even the moderates are walking away from Crist. (via Jim Geraghty, who uses a cool Hunt for Red October reference)

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/01/26/rubio-passes-crist-in-new-quinnipiac-poll/

ted c on April 15, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Charlie Crist is John Anderson with a spray-on tan. Anderson lost the Republican primaries, ran as an Independent. . . and got 6%.

Emperor Norton on April 15, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Broken poll. He’s going to siphon off 12% of Rubio’s votes and 14% of Meek’s votes? No way. No how. Not going to happen.

The numbers don’t add up with the previous questions. There is only a 5% swing with people voting against their party affiliation, but throw in Crist and that triples for each party?

I don’t buy it.

ButterflyDragon on April 15, 2010 at 11:52 AM

“I’d be surprised if Crist doesn’t go indy by the end of the month.”–Ed Morrissey

Joe Liebermann found the indy route the key to success when faced with the probability of losing in a primary in his own party.

Basil Fawlty on April 15, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Broken poll. He’s going to siphon off 12% of Rubio’s votes and 14% of Meek’s votes? No way. No how. Not going to happen.

The numbers don’t add up with the previous questions. There is only a 5% swing with people voting against their party affiliation, but throw in Crist and that triples for each party?

I don’t buy it.

ButterflyDragon on April 15, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Good Post. I am in this camp also.

Dire Straits on April 15, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Orange you glad I am an Independent?

WashJeff on April 15, 2010 at 11:55 AM

He should pull out and try for 2012… and then, if he must, go Indy during that election cycle if he doesn’t win…

Joe Liebermann found the indy route the key to success when faced with the probability of losing in a primary in his own party.

Huge difference, Liebermann actually lost his primary… and then went Indy… and Liebermann was being primaried for a seat he already held…

ninjapirate on April 15, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Let’s wait to see this confirmed by at least one more poll. I’m skeptical.

Jimbo3 on April 15, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Huge difference, Liebermann actually lost his primary… and then went Indy… and Liebermann was being primaried for a seat he already held…

ninjapirate on April 15, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Another advantage for Lieberman was that he had no real opposition from the GOP. They ran a no-name candidate, but most GOP donations probably went to Lieberman’s campaign and not their own nominee.

Doughboy on April 15, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Orange you glad I am an Independent?

WashJeff on April 15, 2010 at 11:55 AM

ai seez wut u did there.

fiatboomer on April 15, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Quinnipiac’s polls are doubtful. They had Specter beating Toomey in PA by 7 while every other poll had Toomey with a lead ranging from 4%-10% (source).

That said, this will give ol’ Oompa pause to consider an indy run.

crushliberalism on April 15, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Broken poll. He’s going to siphon off 12% of Rubio’s votes and 14% of Meek’s votes? No way. No how. Not going to happen. The numbers don’t add up with the previous questions. There is only a 5% swing with people voting against their party affiliation, but throw in Crist and that triples for each party?
ButterflyDragon on April 15, 2010 at 11:52 AM

…Even more importantly, the expected numbers also triple among independants once Crist “joins them.” Because – of course – they’re going to magically become straight-ticket voters for the first time in history, blindly punching the chad for whoever slaps the I-word on his ass.

These aren’t professional pollsters. They’re not even BAD professional pollsters. These numbers come from liberal Arts college students. Knock me over with a feather.

logis on April 15, 2010 at 12:07 PM

I dont buy this poll. The difference from Rasmussen is waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy to drastic regardless of who is sampled. I mean Rubio went from 45 to 30 percent in less then a month in a three way race just when he is shown to be increasing his lead in a two way race with crist???? hmmmm

Dritanian on April 15, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Crist has no chance running as an independent. The poll is meaningless.

Likely that Quinnipiac is being subsidized by Democrat money
to try and encourage Charlie to jump ship.

Similar to the phoney “Tea Party” candidate trying to split the vote out in Nevada with Reid.

Transparent dipsh*ts.

there it is on April 15, 2010 at 12:09 PM

If Crist does that he will sink in the polls in 5 minutes. Why? Because he said he wouldn’t do it. It’s on video.

People, except liberals, hate a liar.

Jaynie59 on April 15, 2010 at 12:11 PM

I’m voting for Rubio.

As for the Indies in Florida, if you think for one second that Crist is “center right” you are dead wrong. A vote for Crist is a vote for the democrat party. Look a Joe Lieberman. He’s and Indie who cacuses with the dems. Crist will do the same.

milwife88 on April 15, 2010 at 12:12 PM

Christ stands for nothing except himself — how could anyone support him?

If he changes, do the Rs that gave him money get it back like with Spector?

Stephanie on April 15, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Huge difference, Liebermann actually lost his primary… and then went Indy… and Liebermann was being primaried for a seat he already held…

ninjapirate on April 15, 2010 at 11:57 AM

I forgot that Liebermann did lose his primary and it is true the primary was for a seat he already held so your right there is a huge difference. But if Crist wants the Senate seat bad enough and realizing that he has no chance against Rubio in a Republican primary and realizing also that polling seems to give him a chance in a three way race he may decide to take the gamble and go indy. I believe Crist will give the indy route serious consideration.

Basil Fawlty on April 15, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Quinn. is not reliable and besides,who cares?

ohiobabe on April 15, 2010 at 12:23 PM

C’mon. This is Quinnipiac. The only poll that’s fit to be wrong in every race.

Tennman on April 15, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Crist won’t have the $$ if he is not a R/D. Money raised as a State candidate cannot be used in a Federal election. He can give the money to a party or other candidates, but there is no I party to reciprocate.

barnone on April 15, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Crist is dead meat whatever he does. Nobody will support a waffler who abandons his own party when the going gets tough.

exceller on April 15, 2010 at 12:25 PM

If Crist (and his ‘Republican’ strategists) wants to stake his entire political life on this poll, I say… go for it. The liberal media is salivating at the prospect of splitting the Republican vote so Meek could squeak through hence the push polls – but they are underestimating the coming November rout.

No matter how they try to spin it, Rubio will be the next senator from Florida so they better get used to it. America is sick and tired of ‘professional’ politicians who have no principles and only go to Washington to pander to the media.

TheRightMan on April 15, 2010 at 12:25 PM

i don’t want to see it but it would be interesting in the general to see Jeb campaigning for Rubio and attacking his replacement Crist. Where the RINO Senators who recruited Crist come out in the battle will also be interesting (frightening)

phreshone on April 15, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Quinnipiac polled registered voters, while Rasmussen polled likely voters.

I suspect the effect is exaggerated in the case of Crist, the moderate governor with huge name recognition. A majority of people who don’t follow politics and probably won’t vote probably answered “Crist”

forest on April 15, 2010 at 12:29 PM

hmmm when the conservative goes thrid party its the end of days. however, when the moderate goes third party it is seen as saving the GOP.

double standard?

yeap.

If crist goes third party he is toast in the GOP forever. He will never get higher office.

unseen on April 15, 2010 at 12:31 PM

I’d be surprised if Crist doesn’t go indy by the end of the month.

As a FL resident, Crist WILL go “I” because it has always been about Crist not the office he holds.

GrayDog on April 15, 2010 at 12:34 PM

I’d be surprised if Crist doesn’t go indy by the end of the month.

Oh, no Ed…no.

I’d be flabbergasted if Crist does switch. It just doesn’t seem like it would be something he would do. Like I said yesterday, if by some strange flux in the universe Crist switches, he’s lost my support.

Which isn’t much, granted.

JetBoy on April 15, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Crist has just vetoed the teacher merit pay bill.

NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOP AND DEMOCRATS.

THEY BOTH SUPPORT UNION THEFT.

tetriskid on April 15, 2010 at 12:50 PM

When Rubio starts talking he’s going to win over those Crist supporters. Crist’s political beliefs are an anchor wrapped around his neck.

hisfrogness on April 15, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Quinnipiac is trying to pick the candidate, IMO. Anything to screw the Conservative. Crist might just buy into it because he is just enough of a narcissist.

SurferDoc on April 15, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Okay, NOW Rubio has a reason to call on Sarah Palin. I say he shouuld throw caution to the wind and go for it.

manwithblackhat on April 15, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Crist just vetoed the bill tying teachers’ pay to results.

Cindy Munford on April 15, 2010 at 1:01 PM

I don’t buy it…this polling makes no reasonable sense. Rubio is going to lose Independents to Crist…yeah right. more likely he is drawing from Dems.

PatriotRider on April 15, 2010 at 11:48 AM

According to the Q-poll internals, in a three-way race, Crist gets 38% of Indies to 29% for Rubio and 15% for Meek. Crist gets 27% of Democrats to 5% for Rubio, while Rubio wins Republicans 64% to 30%, pretty much the way they split in the primary.

This is a Quinnipiac poll, which notoriously lean left, and even then Meek only gets 24% total.

Crist should be careful not to put too much stock in what happened in CT in 2006, when Lieberman won as an Independent after losing the Dem primary to Ned Lamont. Voter registration in CT is about 45% Independent, 33% Democrat, and 22% Republican. Lieberman cleaned up with Independents in CT, and pulled some Republican votes due to his hawkish policy with Iraq, and everybody knew the “sacrificial lamb” Republican candidate had no chance anyway, so Republicans referred Lieberman over Lamont as “the lesser of two evils who could win”.

http://election.dos.state.fl.us/voter-registration/statistics/xls/2008/2008genParty.xls

But the Florida electorate is more polarized than that of CT, with 42% registered Democrats, 36% Republicans, and 22% “other” in 2008. If they turn out in the same proportions as registrations, and voted in the same proportions as the Q-poll internals, we get Rubio 31.5%, Crist 30.5%, and Meek 26.4%, with 11.6% undecided.

Since the Q-poll shows Crist leading by 2%, and applying its internals to the Florida electorate shows Rubio leading by 1%, the Q-poll must have either over-sampled Indies or under-sampled Republicans.

Crist may be tempted to run as an Independent based on this poll which gives him a whopping 2% advantage, but this poll is 7 months before the general election, and BEFORE the
Republican primary.

But if Crist actually ran as an Independent after losing the primary, most of those 30% of Republicans who voted for Crist in the primary would see him as a “sore loser” and “spoiler”, and switch to Rubio, the “official” Republican candidate, in the general election. Rubio might lose some of his Independent support to Crist, but since there are more Republicans than Indies in Florida, and Republicans are VERY energized in Florida this year, this would be a net gain for Rubio.

Crist needs to take his Q and be a man–if he loses the GOP primary, he should gracefully bow out and endorse Rubio.

Steve Z on April 15, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Okay, NOW Rubio has a reason to call on Sarah Palin. I say he shouuld throw caution to the wind and go for it.

manwithblackhat on April 15, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Maybe he already did. When Sean Hannity did his show from The Villages in FL two days ago, Sarah Palin had spoken there earlier in the day, and Hannity interviewed Rubio on TV before a large crowd, while Crist was nowhere to be found.

Steve Z on April 15, 2010 at 1:10 PM

I know Quinnipiac is generally respected but I’m with Jim Geraghty at NRO that they’re close to being losing it due to really weird, generally anti-conservative, poll results that no one else but Daily Kos and Democrat Party polls reproduce.

Until other polling outfits (especially Rasmussen) say Crist is ahead in a 3-way match up it’s nothing noteworthy.

jarodea on April 15, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Crist stated on Fox news he would not seek the independent party ticket. So, if he does, it means he is a liar and should fit right in with the bafoons in DC.

shar61 on April 15, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Crist just vetoed the bill tying teachers’ pay to results.

Cindy Munford on April 15, 2010 at 1:01 PM

He needs to just go away now, but he will probably run as an Independent. I hope that both him and the Democrat lose to Rubio, and Crist will disappear from the political landscape forever.

DFCtomm on April 15, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Rasmussen has the complete opposite of this poll.He has Chris losing just as bad as a independent and i trust Rasmussen.

thmcbb on April 15, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Well this poll is about to change… Crist vetoed the teacher merit bill.

Buh-bye, Crist.

Enoxo on April 15, 2010 at 1:31 PM

If anyone wants to know The Quinnipiac poll had Scott Brown down by 9% the day before his win.

thmcbb on April 15, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Crist stated on Fox news he would not seek the independent party ticket. So, if he does, it means he is a liar and should fit right in with the bafoons in DC.
shar61 on April 15, 2010 at 1:17 PM

No, it means Crist is a liar on Fox News.

To liberals, that’s not lying; that’s disinformation. It’s their patriotic duty. And he won’t just fit in with the current administration; he’s the closest thing they recognize to a war hero.

logis on April 15, 2010 at 1:48 PM

What are the ballot qualifications for an independent in Florida? He’s going to have to collect signatures. That would tip everything off.

Credo on April 15, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Yeah right… ahem I belive it… I don’t put any stock in any poll anymore… I just prefer to support Those who aligns with my core beliefs ( no one fills them all)…

CCRWM on April 15, 2010 at 1:55 PM

If anyone wants to know The Quinnipiac poll had Scott Brown down by 9% the day before his win.

thmcbb on April 15, 2010 at 1:34 PM

So I was wrong — they are not trying to sway the news with bogus polls…they’re just utterly incompetent.

Jaibones on April 15, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Only poll that really matters is the one in the polling booth.

Special K on April 15, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Crist needs to go ahead and add an “L” behind his name, and while he’s at it, add one to his forehead too.

ornery_independent on April 15, 2010 at 3:58 PM

What are the ballot qualifications for an independent in Florida? He’s going to have to collect signatures. That would tip everything off.
Credo on April 15, 2010 at 1:53 PM

That’s what SEIU is there for. A thousand signatures? No muss, no fuss, and no going door-to-door. Just a hundred guys, at $40 an hour, with a bunch of colored pens.

logis on April 15, 2010 at 6:46 PM