Tags: Poll | Crist | Leads | Florida | Senate | Race

Poll: Crist Leads Florida Senate Race

Friday, 07 May 2010 11:05 AM

By Dan Weil

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Former Republican turned independent Charlie Crist leads Florida’s three-way Senate race by 6 percentage points, according to a new Mason-Dixon poll.

The governor has 38 percent support, compared to 32 percent for Republican Marco Rubio and 19 percent for Democrat Kendrick Meek.

The results nearly match a Rasmussen poll released earlier in the week showing Crist with 38 percent support, Rubio with 34 percent and Meek with 17 percent.

Two weeks ago Crist trailed Rubio by 7 percentage points in a Rasmussen poll.

Star political consultant Dick Morris, a Newsmax contributor, minimized the significance of the new polls in an interview with Newsmax.TV.

“He can’t win,” Morris said of Crist. “It’s just a burst of enthusiasm after his declaration. He just had a lot of statewide media attention.”

Morris expressed disgust with the governor’s decision to leave the GOP.

“Crist engaged in an unpardonable act of egomania,” Morris said. “But if he’s elected, so be it. Just as long as he doesn’t split the vote and elect the Democrat Meek.”

One result of the Mason-Dixon poll is troubling for Crist: much of his support comes from Democrats and blacks. Fifty-five percent of Democrats support him, and so do 19 percent of blacks.

Those groups may well shift their support to Meek, a congressman from South Florida, once they learn more about him.

About 40 percent of likely voters remain unfamiliar with him.

"When you see that more than half of Crist voters are Democrats, that's a big red warning sign," says pollster Brad Coker, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Crist's support, he wrote in an analysis of the poll, could implode like "a proverbial house of cards."

Republicans are solidly behind the former state House speaker Rubio. He has 70 percent of Republicans’ support, compared to 18 percent for Crist and 3 percent for Meek.

Coker says Crist's chances to cut into Rubio's lead among GOP voters "appear bleak," because only 20 percent of Republicans have a favorable opinion of Crist, down 17 percentage points from a month ago.

The conservative Rubio, moderate Crist and liberal Meek are vying for the seat vacated by the retirement of Republican Mel Martinez.

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