Politics

Poll: Crist Slumping Toward Third Place In Senate Race

With Rubio 20 points ahead and Meek inching up, is governor political toast?
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: October 28, 2010 6:26 PM
Charlie Crist-Marco Rubio-Kendrick Meek-Sunshine State News Poll

Gov. Charlie Crist, Marco Rubio, and Rep. Kendrick Meek

According to Sunshine State News' nightly tracking poll, in the U.S. Senate race independent Charlie Crist has lost 2 percentage points since the surveys began Oct. 13. Meanwhile, Republican Marco Rubio has padded his lead by 4 points and Democrat Kendrick Meek has picked up a point.

Crist calls himself an "optimist," but his sunny disposition is being tested as never before.

With Rubio running away with the race -- he holds a 47-27 lead over Crist -- the only real contest to be decided is who will finish in second place.

The race for silver is getting tighter by the day, with Meek edging up and Crist falling back. On Oct. 13, Crist led Meek 29-22. Now his margin has shrunk to 27-23.

Some of that decline may be attributable to Crist's lackluster showing in the televised debates, where he has been hammered from both right and left by Rubio and Meek.

In the final debate this week, NBC News' David Gregory, serving as moderator, zeroed in on Crist's shifting stands on issues ranging from abortion to gay adoptions to Social Security.

Kendrick Meek-Charlie Crist-Marco Rubio Sunshine State News Poll Table
Crist's slump in the polls also coincides with voters' historic tendency to gravitate back to Democratic and Republican roots as Election Day draws near.

The governor is further hampered by his placement on the ballot. Running with No Party Affiliation, his name appears ninth on a 10-name list of Senate contestants behind a Libertarian candidate, a Constitution Party hopeful and four other NPAs. Rubio and Meek appear fist and second.

Once ranked among the most popular governors in Florida, with a high job-approval rating, Crist still retains strong name recognition. But when he bolted the Republican Party in April, he left behind a well-oiled political machine, and generated lots of skepticism about his true intentions.

The Sunshine State News Poll shows that he garners only 14 percent of the GOP vote while Rubio is statistically tied with him among independents.

Seth McKee, a political science professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, thinks that Crist will hang onto second place.

"I seriously can't fathom Crist finishing third. That said, if Crist ends up third then his political career may be on ice for a long time," McKee said.

But even with that humbling result, McKee wouldn't count Crist out for good. "Crist is a career politician who isn't likely to go into permanent retirement from public life any time soon," the professor said.

So, how does a chastened Crist find his way back?

"In contemporary American politics, the increasing electoral instability created by a large segment of independent and other weakly aligned partisans (who shift with the political winds) makes it very possible that the pendulum swings back in favor of the Democrats by 2012," McKee theorizes.

"An interesting scenario is if Crist re-emerges down the road as a centrist Democrat positioned to defeat Rubio in 2016. Who knows, maybe the governorship will be open again if whoever wins this time only serves a single term."

Pundits predicted that Crist's high water mark in the polls would come immediately after he announced his independent bid for Senate. Initially, and briefly, he pulled ahead of Rubio. But support for the "People's Governor" eroded in the weeks that followed, and those early prognostications of his political flame-out appear to be right on the money.

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Contact Kenric Ward at kward@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 801-5341.

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Comments (25)

Amazeon Bookmarks
1:14AM SEP 8TH 2012
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duck_prince
10:17PM JUN 7TH 2012
Teleprompter alert!

There is only a request and a promise to revisit, not exactly concrete. I am an amature student of rhetoric and I can say that these are meaningless words. Did either of these turds state:”We will end these regulations”? No, they will revisit ….. This process will take them past 2012 …. If Obuma is reelected, his minions will be at it again..
trishan
5:27PM MAY 7TH 2012
Thanks for giving us such a detailed article about the Race bet the U.S Senates.
Sheena
1:48AM APR 9TH 2012
Actually, Crist is quite good looking. I will take him home anytime.
Incassobureau
8:42PM MAR 28TH 2012
Great story. Good written and nive to read...thanks!
flannel
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Marilyn
3:01AM FEB 25TH 2012
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Pulse Oximeter
3:46PM FEB 24TH 2012
Well the fact of Running with No Party Affiliation, you can see that his name appears 9th on a ten-name list of Senate contestants which is right behind a Libertarian candidate
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Olympiad
2:18AM DEC 21ST 2011
maybe the governorship will be open again if whoever wins this time only serves a single term."
jamesdikhi
12:37AM DEC 20TH 2011
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Maria
9:47AM NOV 21ST 2011
My favourite is Marco Rubio and I am sure he will win. And that's not because he's the one I voted for, but because he is the best.
DelMar
5:36AM NOV 1ST 2011
jj
11:39AM OCT 29TH 2010
I don't know much about Meeks, but I got to say... if I lived in Florida, I would be tempted to vote for him.... he does seem like someone who won't sell out... really makes Crist look like his vote is for sale.... Just an impression from someone who can't vote in Florida anyway.... so while I haven't followed the race closely...the little I have seen makes Crist look really bad... I always thought he was a standup guy... but now he seems to be willing to turn on a dime if there is a paycheck and the goodies that go with it
lance sjogren
10:39AM OCT 29TH 2010
Now that Crist is strategizing with the White House, I think it has become crystal clear to the voters of Florida that they have a choice between a Democrat, a Republican, and a career Republican who has decided he's now a Democrat.

Meek and Crist split the Democratic vote, while Rubio gets the Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

Checkmate for Charlie Crist. May his political career Rest In Peace.
Alicia
12:59PM OCT 29TH 2010
I happen to agree with you. I think Crist thought, if Obama did it- why not me- I'll become a senator and then the President. Oh well, people did not like that at all. He would have been my perfect candidate, middle of the road, But I rather go anywhere but the middle on this one. He left two morons running for governor, all for his political aspirations...May he rest in Peace ...
Casual Observer
10:07AM OCT 29TH 2010
Kendrick Meek, regardless of position in the final tally on Tuesday, will walk away from this effort with his integrity intact. He refused to sell out. In the long run this will be a great asset. His political skills as far as being an effective communicator are truly outstanding. He also seems to be a nice guy too, which in the long run will never hurt. And... he does not need a teleprompter to communicate with the people. In another more normal political climate with out the presence of a totally unprincipled weasel, Meek's showing would have been much more impressive. It is very doubtful this will be his last time up. It hopefully will be so though for that most unethical weasel "chain gang charlie". One can only hope, and pray, that once all is known about the disgusting corruption at the RPOF perhaps Charlie may get the opportunity to view and participate in the chain gang from the end of a shovel. Now that would be justice served!

Funny how at the end of this Senate race it turns out that both party structures attempted to destroy the ones who ended up as the primary choices. One hopes Rubio will not kiss and make up with Cornyn and the slugs at the NRSC. A knee shot squarely to Cornyn's groin would be a much better greeting when Marco hits the Senate Floor. Watch your back Marco, they'll never come at you face to face.
djm159
10:25AM OCT 29TH 2010
Not selling out - that's a first for Kendrick Meek!! This has Clinton written all over it. He did the same exact thing in Pennsylvania and in Colorado and everyone is blaming the turncoat Crist and revering the former liar in chief .Clinton did it, not Crist and as usual he gets away with it.
Casual Observer
3:28PM OCT 29TH 2010
Actually, Billy was just the wicked messenger and broker for the deal, as he was in the other instances you referenced. Just an errand boy. The W.H. and the DNC surely has to keep their hands clean when they are about attempting to toss one of their brethren under the bus a few weeks before election day.

As for Charlie's role, Well he's been attempting to work his magic with the W.H. and the Dem power brokers for quite some time now. It is his overtures and promises that made Meek become an expendable liability. Sadly for Charlie and for the W.H., Kendrick just wasn't in the mood to take a dive in order to advance the career of what is a low life political chameleon who makes toilet bowl scum look good. So, poor Charlie will be for all practical purposes a political untouchable post defeat. I'm wondering just how long the sham marriage lasts after his career implodes.

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