Gulp: Crist 42, Rubio 31, Meek 14

posted at 8:21 pm on June 21, 2010 by Allahpundit

Dude, I’m nervous.

A new Florida Chamber of Commerce poll suggests Charlie Crist may be widening his lead over Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek in the U.S. Senate race.

Where other recent polls showed Crist barely edging out Rubio, the June 9-13 survey of 607 likely voters by the Florida Chamber of Commerce Political Institute and Cherry Communications found 42 percent backing Crist, 31 percent Rubio and 14 percent Meek. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

How does a guy whose opportunism is quickly becoming the stuff of media legend manage to grow a lead, all while running a barebones organization and coping with massive desertions by fundraisers? Simple: A crisis fell in his lap.

The Gulf oil leak has yet to reach Florida’s shores in a major way, but it has already caused a sea change in the Sunshine State’s most prominent campaign. While Crist appears cool, composed, and in control—calling for tougher legislation to shut down offshore drilling—GOP wunderkind Rubio seems out of step with Florida’s populace, supporting a policy of continued offshore drilling that polling shows voters reject.

Standing among the suits, Crist is getting to play action hero. On Tuesday, he surveyed the shoreline in Pensacola Beach with President Obama. On Wednesday, he worked the phones, talking to fellow Gulf Coast governors and federal officials who are managing the Deepwater Horizon spill. Suddenly a whirl of activity, Crist has watched his popularity crest. Last week, a Quinnipiac poll had Crist, who trailed Rubio by 8 points in May, ahead anywhere from 4 to 7 points, depending on which Democrat eventually joins the pair in the race…

Since Crist lacks the support of a major party, his ability to raise campaign cash is seriously hampered—but the face time afforded by the environmental crisis is akin to free advertising.

Ever notice how he tends to end up right behind The One during speeches delivered in the gulf? Now you know why. Now, a question: Assuming Kendrick Meek wins the Democratic primary in late August — which is no sure thing, now that he’s got an eccentric moneybags candidate running against him — aren’t the Dems obliged to stick with him down the stretch even if he’s still hovering at around 20-25 percent? They’re betting, I assume, that a contested primary will help raise his name recognition and boost him into the low 30s, which will cost Crist dearly, but as NRO explains, Meek’s a weak candidate who’s underperformed thus far. If, heaven forbid, there’s some sort of setback in BP’s drilling of relief wells and it looks like the spill will drag on into fall, maybe the Dems will conclude that Meek has no chance of beating a Crist who’s on the news every day vis-a-vis BP and will encourage Meek to drop out before the primary. That would leave kooky, little-known Jeff Greene as the party nominee, a guy many of them would feel comfortable abandoning in order to back Crist. (There’s already been some talk of doing this, remember.) And suddenly, Crist would look very viable.

Another question: How does Rubio counter this possibility? I’m thinking maybe it’s time for him to start training his fire on Meek instead of Crist, which seems risky — why attack the also-ran instead of the guy in the lead? — but would have the virtue of boosting Meek’s name recognition, which would benefit Rubio long-term. In fact, if truly dire measures are called for, Rubio and Meek could try to freeze Crist out by holding a series of debates around the state between just the two of them. Sunshine Charlie will whine about “the machine” being unfair to an independent, but who cares? They can have three-way debates in the fall, after Meek’s support is safely above 30 and Crist starts to fade. Exit question via Jim Geraghty: Is it silly to start worrying now?


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If Florida votes for Christ, after his poor results as their Governor, and his blatantly obvious talking from both sides of his mouth, I hope they get hit with successive hurricanes and their tourist taxing economy goes to total crap along with their thousands of empty condos.

ray on June 21, 2010 at 10:35 PM

I agree with some of the other posters regarding a potential Crist win. If the Floridians turn out to be a bunch of retards and foist that nitwit Crist on the rest of us, I will never visit that state again. I live in Alabama and travel to Destin, FL yearly, but heck Orange Beach, AL is just as good (well, for now). I hope the Floridians realize that Crist will almost certainly caucus with the Democrats, meaning he will vote with Obama 100% of the time. God, I hope the Floridians aren’t retards.

WarEagle01 on June 21, 2010 at 10:56 PM

Rubio had the wind at his back until he stuck his foot in his mouth over the Arizona immigration law. Oddly enough that was right about the same time he teamed up with Jeb Bush. Conservatives are starting to back away from him for fear he may turn out to be another Scott Brown. I’m hoping the governor’s race will work in Rubio’s favor, though, because Rick Scott is starting to pull ahead. Rubio, despite his flaws, would be 10 times better than Crist any day of the week.

Redneck Woman on June 21, 2010 at 11:06 PM

Anyone who votes for Crist is a complete idiot and should be told so directly to their face.

We need to put an end to jackass moron idiots voting.

Pay them to stay home and smoke dope, give them shiny trinkets, just keep them away from voting.

This country can’t afford any more corruption and incompetence from politicians incredibly stupid people keep voting in.

NoDonkey on June 21, 2010 at 11:33 PM

Despite the tea party movement, etc, Repub’s continue to fail to excite or enthuse the electorate. Most voters aren’t happy w/the dem’s but neither are they jazz’ed about the GOP. The GOP continues with its loser strategy. DD

Darvin Dowdy on June 21, 2010 at 11:52 PM

I’m proud to be a what the HotAir majority considers a RINO, but this depressed me. Rubio isn’t just articulate. He’s actually talking about economics in wise ways. Crist is a hack unable to articulate a good reason for people to vote for him. Even if we ignore our current dire need for economic conservatives to be in Washington, Rubio still deserves to win.

I suppose I’m saying the thing that NoDonkey just said in a different way:

Anyone who votes for Crist is a complete idiot and should be told so directly to their face.

We need to put an end to jackass moron idiots voting.

Pay them to stay home and smoke dope, give them shiny trinkets, just keep them away from voting.

This country can’t afford any more corruption and incompetence from politicians incredibly stupid people keep voting in.

NoDonkey on June 21, 2010 at 11:33 PM

NoDonkey, I invite you to join me in advocating the repeal of the 26th Amendment! Maybe it’s not a windmill!

thuja on June 22, 2010 at 12:00 AM

Alvin Green/Crist 2012!

b1jetmech on June 22, 2010 at 12:21 AM

Right now the polling is based on what Crist is doing as governor, and running against the oil spill is good politics. But the closer you get to election day, the more the race will become what will Crist do as Senator? Congress has been quiet over the past two months since the ObamaCare® vote — once they start back to work and start getting people angry again, Crist is going to face questions on does he support or oppose the Reid-Pelosi agenda.

If he can navigate those waters without ticking off Democrats and/or Republicans, he really is a good politician.

jon1979 on June 22, 2010 at 1:30 AM

Now do you all see why Sarah didn’t go running off to Florida to endorse Rubio?

Rubio wasn’t able to put Crist away before the spill happened. Sarah saw this, and she wasn’t banging down the door to endorse Marco. Now Floridians are seeing Crist play Governor while Rubio has pig roasts down in Hialeah. No contest: Crist wins going away.

Rubio was Mitt and Jeb’s boy. And a good candidate. I plan to vote for him. But he purposely kept Palin at arm’s length because Jeb and Mitt wanted it that way, and Sarah can’t do a rally with Rubio without their say-so.

Now Rubio will need Sarah to gin up the Base in the fall. She’s his last shot. Mittens can’t do it, and Jeb doesn’t excite the magic like he used to.

I bet you there will be a bit of a price to pay now. You watch; Rubio will be forced to bring Palin in, and on her terms, not his.

victor82 on June 22, 2010 at 2:18 AM

That poll made me nauseous…..

RightXBrigade on June 22, 2010 at 4:02 AM

Rubio wasn’t able to put Crist away before the spill happened

Rubio only was able to overcome a 40 point deficit and kick the sitting Republican Governor out of the Florida primary. What a bunch of “run away! run away! run away!” Brave Sir Christopher Robins we have here.

Marcus on June 22, 2010 at 8:13 AM

People including AP need to calm down. Florida is very volitile from what I saw when the 2008 primaries were going on. They sway quickly based on the latest news. You need to wait till after summer for these people to focus and then see if Crist can survive. The same things and more of what made him blow a 40 point lead are the ones that will sink him in November when issues are more than getting on the news about the oil leak.

Conan on June 22, 2010 at 8:33 AM

Florida…seriously?

rollthedice on June 22, 2010 at 8:50 AM

OK, Take a breath and check back after Labor Day. Right now everyone is thinking about vacation. It’s too soon to worry about November.

potkas7 on June 22, 2010 at 9:02 AM

Floridians are starting to worry more about the oil coming ashore and Crist must be seen by them as doing something about it. It is hard for Rubio being a private citizen to show action rather than just concern. It seems as if he has been rather quiet lately and should rethink his position on amnesty. Someone needs to find a solution to this decades old thorny situation.

Kissmygrits on June 22, 2010 at 9:03 AM

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAAA!

ernesto on June 22, 2010 at 9:28 AM

I blame JetBoy…

JohnBG on June 22, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Anyone who votes for Crist is a complete idiot and should be told so directly to their face.

We need to put an end to jackass moron idiots voting.

Pay them to stay home and smoke dope, give them shiny trinkets, just keep them away from voting.

This country can’t afford any more corruption and incompetence from politicians incredibly stupid people keep voting in.

NoDonkey on June 21, 2010 at 11:33 PM

Calling people stupid is not going to win converts. Explain why you think their vote for Christ is a vote for Obama’s agenda and why that is bad for Florida.

It is harder to explain than to call someone else an idiot but in the long run you can’t win by insulting the people you need to win.

jpmn on June 22, 2010 at 1:30 PM

“Florida Chamber of Commerce poll”

hahahahahaha. yeah, ok

sidewinder22 on June 22, 2010 at 1:37 PM

I believe this is a crap poll! If not the majority of voters in Florida are idiots!

MCGIRV on June 22, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Comment pages: 1 2