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Rubio Opens Huge Lead in Senate Primary; Surprising Age Gap Develops

rubio-cristA new poll from North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling shows that Charlie Crist leads Marco Rubio by 49% to 36% among Republicans who describe themselves as moderates. However, among self-described conservatives, Rubio leads Crist by an absolutely staggering 71% to 17% margin.

Unfortunately for the governor, conservatives outnumber moderates by about a 2-1 margin among likely Republican primary voters.

The survey of 492 likely Republican primary voters, taken from March 5th to 8th, has a margin of error of 4.4%.  Overall, Republicans prefer Rubio to Crist by 60% to 28%, with 12% either unsure or backing another candidate such as former Senator Bob Smith.

Privately, the Crist camp is crying foul. Sources tell us that they believe the polling firm is an agenda-driven entity backed by Democrats. They allege that the polling questions are skewed to call Crist's party-loyalty into question and that the firm's ultimate goal is to undermine the Republican primary process.

“It’s been an amazing fall for Charlie Crist,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “At this point it doesn’t look like he could win a Republican primary for Dog Catcher.”

The Crist campaign disagrees.

"Ultimately, elections are about choices: this election will come down to the choice between an honest public servant with a strong conservative record in Charlie Crist and a Miami lobbyist-politician Marco Rubio, who has traded on his connections for everything from $135 haircuts to fat lobbying deals," said Crist campaign Communications Director Andrea Saul. "Charlie Crist will win this race and win it decisively."

For that to happen, something big will need to change in the mind of Republican primary voters who now overwhelmingly disapprove of the job that the governor is doing. The PPP poll shows that the governor's job approval has fallen to 29%.

The poll numbers also reveal a sharp and somewhat surprising age gap. While you might expect the young and fresh-faced Rubio to appeal to younger voters, he's actually polling far better among older segments of the electorate.

Rubio leads Crist by 55% among voters over 65 years of age, but Crist actually holds an 18% advantage among voters who are under the age of 30.

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UPDATE: 

The Jacksonville Observer spoke directly with Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling, confirming first-hand that the firm only does work for Democratic clients.  However, Jensen explained that they occassionally do nonpartisan polls of major races around the country and that this was one such poll.

"The private polling we do commercially, we only work for Democratic clients,"  Jensen said.  "However, we occassionally poll big races on our own and these polls are very nonpartisan." 

Jensen also shared the results of this poll from the Jacksonville-area.  It shows Marco Rubio leading Charlie Crist 70% to 12%.   However, with only 33 responses the sample has a huge margin of error -- plus or minus 17%.

11 Responses »

  1. Well, the founder and President of Public Policy Polling is a big Democrat donor.

  2. Its pretty sad that a person like Rubio has such a following, its like people have lost their mind, Crist isn't great, but Rubio is far worse for Florida and Republicans, he is on scale with Palin, and thats about as bad as you can get these days. All I have to say is this, want to see Florida fail, want to see the country fail, then by all means elect Rubio.

  3. Why would Democrats want Rubio? Are you kidding? Oh I see, perhaps he will be the weaker candidate?

  4. All I can say is, if Rubio paid $135 for that haircut, he shouldn't be trusted with public funds.

  5. The state of Florida needs Marco Rubio now more than ever. We need someone who will stand up for the core values that this country was founded on, not someone who will pander to the progressives that are running this country into the ground. Come November 2010 we'll be roasting a pig on the steps of the Capitol!! Go Marco!!

  6. Some of us "seniors" are ready for a revolution. Marco Rubio may, or may not be, a Scott Brown, but Gov Charlie is just more of the same stuff we already have in D.C.

  7. If people are comparing Marco to Sarah then I say GOD BLESS HIM, I want candidates with guts, back bone, and a true conservative strength - not compromising, spineless, wimps.

  8. @ Rene.

    You do know that Rubio RAISED over $12MILLION for the RPOF over the last few years right?

    And you may want to look into what that #135 was actually for.

    Rubio's spokesman Alex Burgos has the details:
    "Marco paid $20 for a haircut with a razor on the neck, and he
    bought some items that went into a silent auction, including gift
    certificates," he said.

  9. TrueAmerican56 = True democratic operative.

    You must be part of the local MOVEON chapter.

  10. Unless we carve this country up into little pieces-we will need people who can study both sides of an issue and make decisions that protect a broad fair playing field for business. We have real complex problems that need to be solved-and we need to elect leaders we trust to work together for real solutions. I am very disappointed the debates in this race have been delayed. I want to hear these guys talk issues not platitudes.

  11. I think Charlie will win if he runs as a Democrat. Why is Chalie running on the Republican ticket. His two biggest projects are Cap and Tax, which he supports and is an Al Gore democrat idea and Stmulous money which he backs with no apologies and is an Obama idea. Why not run as a Democrat. He would beat Kindrick Meek easily. Why does he pretend to be a Republican and why would any Republican support him. If you beleive in Charlie's ideolody you need to really search your own ideaology and realize that you need to reeregister as a Democrat because you political beleif system is not Republican. Marco Rubio is winning by such huge margins in the Republican Party because his ideology is allingned with the conservative Republican beleifs.