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Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 3/15-17. Likely voters. MoE 4% (5% for primary samples). (11/16-18/2009 results)

GOP Senate Primary

Charlie Crist (R) 30 (47)
Marco Rubio (R)   58 (37)

Other polling has shown Rubio blowing past Crist, so that's not so much news. But only we are asking this question:

Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America, or not? (Republican primary voters only)

Yes 33 (35)
No  30 (29)
Not sure 37 (36)


Obama born in US:
Rubio: 23 (16)
Crist: 66 (73)

Obama not born un US:
Rubio: 74 (54)
Crist:  8 (31)

Not Sure where Obama was born:
Rubio: 76 (45)
Crist: 16 (33)

In other words, Crist dominates the sane GOP wing, but given that 2/3rds is either batshit insane, or is considering insanity, Rubio has the clear and easy path to the GOP nomination.

For the past year, I've been arguing that Crist's collapse in the GOP primary was inevitable, that his only path to the Senate was by switching parties and becoming a Democrat. Well, that window of opportunity has closed.

Senate General Election

Charlie Crist (R) 45 (50)
Kendrick Meek (D) 36 (33)

Marco Rubio (R)   41 (38)
Kendrick Meek (D) 40 (30)

I've been nothing but dismissive of Meek. But the numbers certainly suggest this could be competitive. And it's because of this:

Favorable/Unfavorable/No opinion

Charlie Crist 44/45/11 (59/23/9)
Marco Rubio   29/36/35 (21/22/57)
Kendrick Meek 25/18/57 (23/9/68)

Meek is still invisible. But Rubio is now well into net-negative territory. And particularly disturbing for him, that fall has come from independents, going from 18/21/61 last November, to 26/38/36. Independents aren't liking what they see from him. It would be nice if Meek improved on his numbers, but at this point, he's the only candidate left with a net-positive favorability rating.

As for Crist, he used to be popular. Now, he's crashing, and nothing suggests he's hit bottom.

Now some hypothetical matchups:

Crist as an independent:

Charlie Crist (I) 29 (32)
Marco Rubio (R)   32 (27)
Kendrick Meek (D) 27 (31)

Crist as a Democrat:

Marco Rubio (R)   40 (34)
Charlie Crist (D) 38 (45)

So much for switching parties. We actually did a Democratic primary matchup between Meek and Crist, and Meek edged ahead 24-21, with 55 undecided, mostly going, "what the heck?" But at this point, Crist is no better than Meek, and given his cataclysmic downward trend, he'd eventually be a worse choice. Our best option now is a three-way matchup, given that Crist takes 33 percent of Republican support, while attracting just 21 percent of Democratic support. But Crist won't show this strong when all's said and done. He's still got a ways to fall.

In the governor's race, Republican Bill McCollum leads Democrat Alex Sink 41-35 -- which is a widening of his narrow 35-33 lead back in November.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 01:36 PM PDT.

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