The race for the U.S. Senate in Florida continues to be all about Governor Charlie Crist and former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, regardless of which Democrat they face.
The Aug. 9 Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of 750 likely voters in Florida shows Rubio with 38 percent of the vote and Crist at 33 percent if Congressman Kendrick Meek is the nominee. Meek earns 21 percent. Only 1 percent prefer some other candidate, and 7 percent are undecided.
If billionaire Jeff Greene is the Democratic candidate, Crist gets 37 percent support to Rubio’s 36 percent, with Greene trailing at 20 percent, while 2 percent like another candidate, and 5 percent are undecided.
Last month, Rubio also held a narrow lead if Meek were the Democratic nominee, and Crist was slightly ahead with Greene in the race.
But the lead in this race has seesawed between Crist and Rubio for months, ever since the former abandoned his losing bid for the GOP Senate nomination and opted to run as an independent. The race remains a tossup in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Balance of Power summary.
Florida Democrats will pick their nominee on Aug. 24, and Crist’s campaign is hoping to draw support from Democrats unhappy with whichever candidate wins.
In both matchups, Rubio gets 66 percent of the Republican vote, and Crist draws 25 percent support from his old party. If Meek is in the race, he earns 48 percent support in his own party, while Crist picks up 36 percent of the Democratic vote. If Greene is the nominee, Democrats break even between Greene and Crist. Among voters not affiliated with either party, Crist has the edge only if Greene is in the race
Rick Scott remains the stronger of the two Republican hopefuls for governor of Florida against Democrat Alex Sink, with independent candidate "Bud" Chiles siphoning votes from both parties.
Crist is viewed as a moderate by most Florida voters, and 49 percent of those voters say his views are in the mainstream. Almost 30 percent say his views are extreme.
Rubio, who is considered a conservative by the majority of the state’s voters, holds views that are seen in the mainstream by 40 percent and extreme by 34 percent.
Meek is regarded as liberal to moderate by most voters. One-fourth put his views in the mainstream, while 34 percent see them as extreme. Greene similarly is viewed largely as liberal to moderate, and 26 percent say he holds mainstream views while 33 percent say extreme.
But 40 percent of voters don’t know enough about either Meek or Greene to venture any kind of opinion about their views. Roughly 25 percent have no opinion of the views of Crist and Rubio.
Almost 60 of Florida voters approve of the job Crist is doing as governor, up five points from the previous survey, and 40 percent disapprove.
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