Republican Marco Rubio has widened his lead over Gov. Charlie Crist and Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek in their U.S. Senate race. Rubio has 45 percent of likely voters in the Florida contest, compared with Crist’s 29 percent and Meek’s 22 percent, according to a new Sunshine State News Poll
Many Republicans view Crist as a villain because they figure he hurt the GOP’s effort in the race when he bolted the party to run as an independent, which explains the poll’s finding that Republicans dislike him 64 to 25 percent. On the other hand, Republicans favor Rubio 43 to 40 percent.
Meek has a 68 percent negative rating among Republicans, leaving him with a “50-50 chance of finishing third in this race,” says Jim Lee, president of Voter Survey Service, who conducted the poll. Lee described Meek as “simply not viable,” based on his unpopularity with independents and Republicans.
Rubio also leads in other polls, with Quinnipiac University listing him at 44 percent to 30 percent over Crist, and Meek at 22 percent, and a Public Policy Polling survey finding 44 percent for Rubio, compared with 33 percent for Crist and Meek at 21 percent.
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