Disaster for Crist: Meek set to romp in Democratic primary tomorrow

Great news for Rubio, great news for Crist-haters. Geraghty made a good point 10 days ago about how Meek losing to Jeff Greene might not have been the end of the world, since Greene would have tons of money available to tear down Crist with attack ads over the next three months. The flaw in that theory, though: Check out Greene’s favorables within his own party below. Those salacious news articles in the Florida papers did lots of damage; Dems would have deserted him in droves, attack ads or no, and Sunshine Charlie would have benefited. Crisis averted.

Kendrick Meek is headed for a blowout victory in Tuesday’s Florida Democratic Senate primary. He’s now at 51% to 27% for Jeff Greene with the other candidates splitting 9% and 13% still undecided.

Jeff Greene made a bad first impression on Florida Democrats and the more they got to know him the less they liked him. His favorability numbers on a mid-July PPP poll with the primary electorate were 22/33. Now millions more dollars later they’re 28/47. It’s not often someone manages a -19 favorability spread within their own party but Greene’s candidacy has been one of a kind…

While it appears Meek is headed for an impressive victory on Tuesday night these poll numbers also exemplify the trouble ahead for his candidacy. Meek’s favorability with Democratic voters is 50%. Charlie Crist’s job approval rating with them is 57%. Given that his road in the general election is a very tough one.

In other words, Meek may be too weak to win the general but not too weak among Democrats to bleed Crist of the support he needs to win. In fact, Greene’s primary challenge might have inadvertently done Meek a favor by boosting his name recognition statewide. Result: Everything’s coming up Marco!

In the general election Senate numbers we’ll release tomorrow Charlie Crist has a 24 point lead over Jeff Greene with Democrats. But he trails Kendrick Meek by a point with them. It’s hard to see a path to victory for Crist without winning the Democratic vote.

The last time we polled the race Crist had a 9 point lead over Meek with Democrats, but Meek’s primary campaign has had the impact of increasing his support for the general election within his own party.

Neither can win without heavy Democratic support, and since Meek’s the party nominee, most of it should go to him. (The perfect set-up for a 45/35/20 Rubio win!) Rubio’s been tacking a few inches to the center lately too — note his gentle dismissal of the GOP’s recent push against birthright citizenship here — so he should do okay with some of the indies Crist is counting on. Exit question: So this is what optimism feels like, huh? Groovy.

Update: Yet another benefit of Meek’s victory: He’ll draw funds from the DSCC coffers on what’s likely to be a futile campaign.

While most neutral Democratic observers insist that the DSCC simply cannot afford to put money behind Meek in a prohibitively expensive state like Florida when the party has lots of other more winnable races around the country, the calculation may not be that simple.

Meek is African American and, if he wins the nomination, he would be the only credible black Democratic nominee for the Senate — a Senate, it’s worth noting, that won’t have a single black member once Sen. Roland Burris (D) retires this fall.

Add that to the fact that the first black president occupies the White House and that African Americans comprise a central pillar of the Democratic party’s base and there could be significant pressure brought to bear on national operatives to spend some money for Meek in Florida.