Thursday, October 28, 2010

It starts: Crist within 7, Meek down to 15 in Quinnipiac poll

Florida 2010 Senate candidates, Crist, Rubio and Meek.

I’ve been saying for weeks that at some point, Democrats would begin to pick a side, and that Kendrick Meek is the most vulnerable to seeing his support (mostly among white Democrats) begin to slide, as “Anybody But Rubio” voters begin to freak out in the shadow of Election Day. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows that may be starting to occur.
The poll shows Rubio still stuck at 42 percent (they don’t poll Snitker) with Charlie Crist up 5 to 35 percent, and Meek down to just 15 percent. The innards:
In the Senate race, Rubio is carrying 77 percent of Republicans, 6 percent of Democrats and 38 percent of independent voters. Crist receives 19 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of independents. Meek gets just 1 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of Democrats and 9 percent of unaffiliated voters.

…”Gov. Charlie Crist has cut into Rubio’s margin, but the former state House speaker remains the clear favorite to become Florida’s next U.S. senator,” said Brown. “With his supporters less likely to change their minds than those of his two opponents, Marco Rubio is in the driver’s seat with only five days to go until Election Day. Most of the closure came not from Rubio voters deserting him, but from Congressman Kendrick Meek’s voters moving to Crist.”
The pollster also adds this helpful GOTV caveat, which I’m not sure is all that relevant to a pollster, but there you go:
“Gov. Crist has pulled within hailing distance of Rubio, but there are a couple of unique factors that probably work against him in the home stretch. First of all, he is listed at the bottom of the ballot below a number of unknown independent and minor party candidates. And, since he is without a party, he lacks the ground operation that the Democrats and Republicans have to turn out their voters,” said Brown.
The poll shows 9 percent of voters still undecided — something that still matters in this environment.
Meanwhile, Crist’s numbers holding up pretty well with men:
                     LIKELY VOTERS(Includes Early Voters)..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl

Meek                 15%     1%    36%     9%     9%    22%     5%
Rubio                42     77      6     38     45     39     64
Crist                35     19     51     43     40     30     26
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      2      -      1      1      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
DK/NA                 7      2      7     10      5      9      4
Meanwhile, the trend is moving ever so slowly Crist’s way (though time is short):
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........
                     Oct 28  Oct 13  Sep 30
                     2010    2010    2010

Meek                 15      22      18
Rubio                42      44      46
Crist                35      30      33
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       -       -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -       -       -
DK/NA                 7       4       3
And Crist and Meek voters remain the most volatile about their decision:
                     LIKELY VOTERS..........
                            CAND CHOICE Q4..
                     Tot    KM     MR     CC

Made up              89%    83%    95%    84%
Might change         11     17      5     15
DK/NA                 -      -      -      -
Incredibly, 28 percent of voters including 20 percent of Democrats in this sample said they don’t know enough about Meek to make a decision about him, though 63 percent give him favorable approval ratings and just 15 see him negatively. That is pretty stunning this far in, but it also collapses the theory that Meek’s problem stems from negative impressions of him left over from his primary with Jeff Greene.

Rubio’s unfavorables are almost equal to his favorables (42-44) pulled down by the 67 percent of Democrats who view him negatively, plus a quite high 53 percent of indies — which explains why he’s stuck at 42 (13 percent of Republicans even view Rubio unfavorably.) But in what may be a sign of more “enthusiasm gap,” almost as many Democrats (18 percent) don’t know enough about Rubio to make a decision, as don’t know about the Democratic candidate. Not paying attention, people? And Rubio’s unfavorables have been growing — up from 35 percent in September.

As for Charlie Crist, he’s a bit better off than Rubio, but not by much. His 46-44 favorable/unfavorable ratio is pretty good in this environment, and given that two-thirds of Republicans now view him negatively. But Crist’s hope may lie in the 22 percent of Republicans, the whopping 70 percent of Democrats (versus 19 negative) and 53 percent of independents (versus 38 negative) who view him favorably.

One caveat: this poll was taken last week – October 18-24, so adjust your thinking accordingly.

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