But two other surveys suggested that the governor may already be slipping. The polling firm Mason-Dixon placed Rubio 5 points ahead of Crist this month, giving the Republican a 38 percent to 33 percent lead, with Meek trailing at 18 percent. A survey from Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling showed Rubio taking a 40 percent to 32 percent lead over Crist (Meek was at 17 percent) and prompted pollster Dean Debnam to conclude: “Kendrick Meek’s likely victory … could kill the tripartisan coalition Crist had been building.”
However shaky, that’s the coalition the governor’s still hoping to hold together. Given his need to draw both Democratic and Republican votes in a three-way race, Crist is highly unlikely to declare before Election Day which party he’d caucus with in the Senate, according to a source familiar with his campaign. And despite signs of movement in the polling numbers, the winning percentage for a candidate like Crist could still be in the high 30 percent range.