Charlie Crist isn’t just winning in the Florida Senate race. His lead is actually getting bigger. A new poll put out by the Florida Chamber of Commerce shows Crist leading Marco Rubio and Kendrick Meek 42%-31%-14%. In other words, Crist is polling well outside the four point margin of error.
The poll is the first indication that GOP nominee Marco Rubio just might be in real trouble. It was not long ago that Rubio was the darling of not only the Tea Partiers but also many establishment Republicans (including our very own David Frum). The game has totally changed. Rubio’s message of fiscal responsibility has been drastically overshadowed by the Gulf oil spill and the impact that it could have on the Florida economy if/when the oil finally reaches the Florida coast. Ironically, by having to run as an independent, Crist got out at just the right time. By not being called a Republican, Crist is less likely to be identified with the GOP position on drilling.
Rubio’s chances have also been adversely impacted by the Democratic candidate’s complete inability to gain any traction in the race. As the polling numbers show, Crist is successfully wooing the voters that just recently opposed him and the party he represented in Tallahassee. But the game has changed and the Rubio camp is stalled. If Mr. Meek fails to reassure the Democratic base, there is a real chance that mainstream Democratic voters will transfer their support to Crist to deny the GOP a win.
If Marco Rubio does not do something to win back the independents and moderate Republicans currently supporting Crist, he has no chance to beat the current governor. And if Meek keeps running a weak campaign, it may already be too late to catch Crist anyway. Uh oh, Marco.