It starts: Crist within 7, Meek down to 15 in Quinnipiac poll

Florida 2010 Senate candidates, Crist, Rubio and Meek.

I’ve been saying for weeks that at some point, Democrats would begin to pick a side, and that Kendrick Meek is the most vulnerable to seeing his support (mostly among white Democrats) begin to slide, as “Anybody But Rubio” voters begin to freak out in the shadow of Election Day. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows that may be starting to occur.

The poll shows Rubio still stuck at 42 percent (they don’t poll Snitker) with Charlie Crist up 5 to 35 percent, and Meek down to just 15 percent. The innards:

In the Senate race, Rubio is carrying 77 percent of Republicans, 6 percent of Democrats and 38 percent of independent voters. Crist receives 19 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of independents. Meek gets just 1 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of Democrats and 9 percent of unaffiliated voters.

…”Gov. Charlie Crist has cut into Rubio’s margin, but the former state House speaker remains the clear favorite to become Florida’s next U.S. senator,” said Brown. “With his supporters less likely to change their minds than those of his two opponents, Marco Rubio is in the driver’s seat with only five days to go until Election Day. Most of the closure came not from Rubio voters deserting him, but from Congressman Kendrick Meek’s voters moving to Crist.”

The pollster also adds this helpful GOTV caveat, which I’m not sure is all that relevant to a pollster, but there you go:

“Gov. Crist has pulled within hailing distance of Rubio, but there are a couple of unique factors that probably work against him in the home stretch. First of all, he is listed at the bottom of the ballot below a number of unknown independent and minor party candidates. And, since he is without a party, he lacks the ground operation that the Democrats and Republicans have to turn out their voters,” said Brown.

The poll shows 9 percent of voters still undecided — something that still matters in this environment.

Meanwhile, Crist’s numbers holding up pretty well with men:

                     LIKELY VOTERS(Includes Early Voters)..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl

Meek                 15%     1%    36%     9%     9%    22%     5%
Rubio                42     77      6     38     45     39     64
Crist                35     19     51     43     40     30     26
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      2      -      1      1      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
DK/NA                 7      2      7     10      5      9      4

Meanwhile, the trend is moving ever so slowly Crist’s way (though time is short):

                     LIKELY VOTERS.........
                     Oct 28  Oct 13  Sep 30
                     2010    2010    2010

Meek                 15      22      18
Rubio                42      44      46
Crist                35      30      33
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       -       -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -       -       -
DK/NA                 7       4       3

And Crist and Meek voters remain the most volatile about their decision:

                     LIKELY VOTERS..........
                            CAND CHOICE Q4..
                     Tot    KM     MR     CC

Made up              89%    83%    95%    84%
Might change         11     17      5     15
DK/NA                 -      -      -      -

Incredibly, 28 percent of voters including 20 percent of Democrats in this sample said they don’t know enough about Meek to make a decision about him, though 63 percent give him favorable approval ratings and just 15 see him negatively. That is pretty stunning this far in, but it also collapses the theory that Meek’s problem stems from negative impressions of him left over from his primary with Jeff Greene.

Rubio’s unfavorables are almost equal to his favorables (42-44) pulled down by the 67 percent of Democrats who view him negatively, plus a quite high 53 percent of indies — which explains why he’s stuck at 42 (13 percent of Republicans even view Rubio unfavorably.) But in what may be a sign of more “enthusiasm gap,” almost as many Democrats (18 percent) don’t know enough about Rubio to make a decision, as don’t know about the Democratic candidate. Not paying attention, people? And Rubio’s unfavorables have been growing — up from 35 percent in September.

As for Charlie Crist, he’s a bit better off than Rubio, but not by much. His 46-44 favorable/unfavorable ratio is pretty good in this environment, and given that two-thirds of Republicans now view him negatively. But Crist’s hope may lie in the 22 percent of Republicans, the whopping 70 percent of Democrats (versus 19 negative) and 53 percent of independents (versus 38 negative) who view him favorably.

One caveat: this poll was taken last week – October 18-24, so adjust your thinking accordingly.

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3 Responses to It starts: Crist within 7, Meek down to 15 in Quinnipiac poll

  1. Precious says:

    Joy-Ann, I am not at all sure that this assessment, “Kendrick Meek is the most vulnerable to seeing his support (mostly among white Democrats) begin to slide, as “Anybody But Rubio” voters begin to freak out in the shadow of Election Day. ..” is 100% correct.

    Yesterday, I asked a question about whether a vote for Meek would turn into an unwilling vote for Rubio and, as I sought help to see my way through how my vote could most benefit the country under a democrat’s values, my question has gone unanswered.

    Also, I think I would not be so quick to blame white angst for Meek’s slide in the polls, as much as I would blame the talking head pundits like Chris Matthews who really uses his program to push his own agenda while disguising it in informed and balanced programming. Hah!

    I do remember an editor in Tallahassee during the Janet Reno primary who replied to a letter I had written in support of Janet Reno that if she would let her heart do the voting she would vote for Janet Reno in a heartbeat, but the polls showed she had no chance, according to that editor the polls had McBride as the winner.

    If there is a wave of white angst over who can beat Marco Rubio and his ungrateful Cuban heart on the gifts America has given him, blame the polls and the pundits who push it. They do quite well in manipulating public angst.

    Also wonder about questions that go unanswered.

  2. Flo says:

    Precious, you make some fair points, but clearly Crist’s gains are coming at the expense of Meek, and not Rubio, who is still over 40%. I’m on the fence between Crist and Meek, and polls like this will probably convince me to vote for Crist. (But I did support Janet Reno.) I think Joy’s assessment of the Anybody but Rubio voters has been correct all along, because I’ve been one of those voters all along.

  3. Precious says:

    Yes., Flo. You are right. I do hold Joy Ann in hig regard. I think she knows that. I too want to vote for Meek but am torn between will my vote for Meek translate to an unwanted vote for Rubio. I am now straddling the fence. Don’t know which way to go. I know I do not want Rubio in. I am just wondering will my vote for Meek translate into a vote for Rubio. I just think this angst is not just “white angst” … if it is, it is due in large part to pollsters and pundits who interpret, interpret, interpret … often times MISINTERPRET the tea leaves, (or read them in the ways they wish would be the way it is) only to sell out a politician they dislike and, with that, the whole country that suffers from their misinterpretation of polls, their disregard of standing up for what their own heart tells them, and their own blinders.

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