There’s no spinning this one. Rubio is 4 points under 50 percent (among “likely voters”) Crist is back in the 30s, Meek’s “surge” apparently at an end. Is this the poll that finally helps Democrats make up their minds?
Republican Marco Rubio holds a solid 46 – 33 percent likely voter lead over Gov. Charlie Crist, running as an independent in the race for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat, with Democrat U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek at 18 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
Rubio, a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and a favorite of the Tea Party movement, is benefitting from strong voter anger at the federal government, likely voters tell the independent Quinnipiac University survey, conducted by live interviewers. This first likely voter survey in Florida in this election cycle can not be compared with earlier samples of registered voters.
Asked to evaluate their feelings toward the federal government:
* 48 percent say they are angry;
* 29 percent say dissatisfied;
* 19 percent say satisfied;
* 3 percent say enthusiastic.
“It is no coincidence that Rubio is getting 46 percent of the vote and 48 percent of the electorate is angry at Washington,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Rubio’s double-digit lead in the horse race is confirmed by a 53 – 41 percent margin for a senator who will oppose President Barack Obama’s policies and a 47 – 38 percent preference that the Republicans rather than the Democrats control the U.S. Senate.
“Not only does Marco Rubio have a double-digit lead in the U.S. Senate race, but more of his supporters say their mind is made up than those backing Gov. Charlie Crist and Congressman Kendrick Meek,” said Brown.
“Almost half of Florida’s likely voters are angry at the federal government, and Rubio gets 68 percent of these angry voters. Moreover, with only 3 percent of voters undecided, Rubio just needs to hold onto what he’s got, while Crist and Meek, especially, have their work cut out for them if they want to pass the leader,” Brown added.
“If Gov. Crist winds up losing the race, he may kick himself for giving up his day job in Tallahassee. Even though he gets only 33 percent of the vote in the three-way race for senator, voters still give him a healthy 51 – 43 percent approval rating for his job as governor. Usually, approval for one office translates into support for another, but this is not the typical political year,” said Brown. “The biggest imbalance is among Democrats, 72 percent of whom approve of his job performance, but only 46 percent of whom say they will vote for him for the Senate.”
Rubio is getting 83 percent of the Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 8 percent of Democrats. Crist gets just 13 percent of Republicans, but 46 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of independents. Meek gets 43 percent of Democrats, but just 12 percent of independent voters and 1 percent of Republicans.
While only 10 percent of Rubio voters say they might change their minds, 29 percent of Crist voters say they might change, as do 38 percent of Meek voters.
“The real threat to Rubio is that somehow the Meek and Crist voters get together and decide to support one of the two,” said Brown.
Florida likely voters, by a 49 – 35 percent margin, have a favorable opinion of Rubio. Crist gets a split 45 – 47 percent favorability and Meek gets a negative 29 – 39 percent score.
Rubio fares best when voters are asked who most shares their values, with 44 percent, almost the same number who support his candidacy. Crist’s 27 percent “shares your values” mark is below his 33 percent in the horse race. Meek’s 20 percent on shared values is statistically the same as his share of the horse race.
From September 23 – 28, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,151 Florida likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.