Florida’s Senate race remains all about Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist and likely GOP nominee Marco Rubio, according to Rasmussen Reports.
The two candidates remain neck-and-neck again this month, with Rubio earning 36 percent support and Gov. Crist capturing 34 percent of the vote, according to Rasmussen’s July 6 survey of 500 likely voters. Prospective Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek remains a distant third, picking up 15 percent, while 14 percent of the state’s voters remain undecided.
A month ago, Rubio, former speaker of the Florida House, and Crist were tied at 37 percent apiece. Meek, a black congressman from the North Miami area, was at 15 percent then, too.
Crist, who opted in early May to run as an independent when Rubio began to run away with the Republican primary race, bounced to a modest lead — and his highest level of support at 38 percent — following that announcement. Rubio’s support in the same period has ranged from 34 percent to 39 percent. Meek hit a high of 22 percent in the three-way race in April.
If Meek’s Democratic primary challenger, billionaire real estate Jeff Greene, is their opponent, Rubio gets 37 percent of the vote to Crist’s 33 percent, Rasmussen’s survey found. Greene earns 18 percent support, while 12 percent remain undecided. Crist’s support is down 8 points from the previous survey, while Greene is up 5.
According to recent news reports, some influential Democrats are gravitating toward Crist, who has been moving to the left legislatively in recent weeks. Greene, meanwhile, has been spending heavily to introduce himself to Florida voters.
Both parties will choose their nominees in Aug. 24 primaries.
Regardless of which Democrat is in the race, Rubio carries roughly 60 percent of the GOP vote, while Crist earns 29 percent support from voters in his former party. Democrats are narrowly divided between Crist and the candidate from their own party.
Voters not affiliated with either party give a slight edge to Crist. But nearly 1-in-5 Democrats and unaffiliateds remain undecided.
Rubio runs stronger among voters over 40, while Crist earns his best numbers among voters ages 18 to 39. Most conservatives like Rubio. Moderates and liberals give the edge to the governor.
The Florida Senate race remains a tossup in the Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power ratings.
The majority of all Florida voters approve of the job Crist is doing as governor, but his 53 percent is down 7 points from last month. Crist had seen his ratings decline over the past year as he struggled in the Republican primary. Then, he enjoyed a bounce following his decision to run as an independent. Last month, his numbers moved higher as he responded to the Gulf oil spill.
That issue was an important reminder that a sitting governor has ways to remain in the news that are not normally available to independent candidates.
Meanwhile, 45 percent now disapprove of the governor’s performance.
Tossing the national healthcare law into the mix, 57 percent favor repealing it, comparable to national sentiment, while 37 percent oppose repeal. This includes 47 percent who strongly favor repeal and 26 percent who strongly oppose it.
Rubio earns more than 60 percent support from those who strongly favor repeal, regardless of his Democratic opponent. Crist captures just over half of those who strongly oppose repeal in both match-ups.
Just over 60 percent of voters in the state favor passage of an immigration law like Arizona’s in Florida, slightly stronger than support nationwide. One-fourth oppose such a law.
Fifty-five percent of those who favor an Arizona-like law support Rubio, a Cuban-American. Voters opposed to that kind of law in Florida lean toward Crist.
Almost 20 percent of Florida voters have a very favorable opinion of Crist, while 19 percent view him very unfavorably, up 6 points from last month.
Rubio is regarded very favorably by 24 percent and very unfavorably by 25 percent, an 8-point increase from the previous survey.
For Meek, very favorables are 8 percent and very unfavorable, 17 percent.
Just 4 percent hold a very favorable view of Greene, while 19 percent view him very unfavorably.
At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen considers the number of people with a strong opinion more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.
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