‘Who cares?’ explained

The answer may make folks cringe, and make for a good Marco Rubio web ad:

… but there’s a reason why Charlie Crist won’t say who he’d caucus with. From PPP:

Charlie Crist led most polls from the time he left the Republican race for Senate until now because he was winning the Democratic vote. Now that Democrats in the state have gotten to know and like Kendrick Meek better some of Crist’s support there has evaporated and as a result Marco Rubio is back in the lead. So what does Crist do now?

One thing Crist could do is flat out say he’s going to caucus with the Democrats. Our poll last weekend found 66% of Kendrick Meek’s voters said they would support Crist instead if he committed to siding with the Dems. 9% of Meek’s voters said they wouldn’t vote for Crist if he did that and 25% weren’t sure.

There are perils for Crist in doing that too though. Only 63% of those currently supporting him say they would still do so if he said he would go with the Democrats while 20% say they explicitly would not vote for him if he did that and 17% aren’t sure. Most of his remaining Republican support would dry up and he’d lose a fair number of independents as well.

Crist polled at 32% on this survey. 37% say they’d vote for him if he caucuses with the Democrats while 47% explicitly say they would not. Out of that 47% about 44% are Rubio people (Rubio’s current supporters plus Republicans for Crist who say they wouldn’t be if he went with the Dems) and 3% are Meek people. So you’d basically have a 44-37-3 race at that point with Crist needing to win somewhere in the neighborhood of 75% of the undecideds. It is a Democratic leaning group of voters, mostly folks currently supporting Meek or already supporting Crist but unsure if they would continue to do so if he committed to being a Democratic vote.

Crist’s path to victory depends on Democrats decisively abandoning Meek, which isn’t going to happen any time soon. But locking them in by committing to caucus with the Dems could cost him enough independent and moderate GOP support to elect Marco Rubio. Either way, the Crist-Meek dynamic is good news for Rubio. Crist is walking one hell of a tightrope.

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