Shock Poll: Rubio Now Tied With Crist in Senate Race
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely GOP Primary voters finds Crist and Rubio each with 43% of the vote. Five percent (5%) prefer another candidate, and nine percent (9%) are undecided.
Crist’s support had fallen from 53% in August to 49% in October. Rasmussen Reports noted at the time, “The fact that Crist has fallen below 50% in a primary against a lesser known opponent suggests potential vulnerability.”
Rubio’s name recognition has grown in recent months and he is now viewed Very Favorably by 34% of Likely Primary Voters. That’s up from 18% in August. As his name recognition increased, Rubio’s support in the polls has jumped from 31% in August to 43% today.
Crist, well known throughout the state, has seen his ratings go in the opposite direction. Just 19% now have a Very Favorable opinion of him, a figure that represents a double digit decline since August.
Rubio now leads by 12% points among men but trails among women voters by 11%.
Nationally, the GOP’s Florida Senate race is being watched as a test of the new “Tea Party” mood among many conservative and traditionally Republican voters. The GOP Primary is scheduled for August 24.
Fifty-two percent (52%) of self-described conservatives favored Rubio. In October, Crist still had support from just over half the conservative primary voters.
Crist angered many conservatives in the state when he supported President Obama’s $787-billion economic stimulus plan. While the Republican establishment has endorsed Crist, some prominent GOP conservatives including Mike Huckabee, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint and former Bush adviser Karl Rove are backing Rubio.
Both Crist and Rubio are vying to be the Republican nominee in next year’s race to fill the seat vacated by retiring GOP Senator Mel Martinez. In August, Crist as governor named his former chief of staff, George LeMiuex, to serve the remainder of Martinez’s term, but LeMieux is not running for a full term next year.
Fifty-six percent (56%) of likely GOP Primary voters approve of Crist’s performance as governor. Forty-three percent (43%) disapprove of the job he is doing.
Republican candidates have a seven-point lead over Democrats in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot. That means 44% say they would vote for their district’s Republican congressional candidate while 37% would choose his or her Democratic opponent.