The state of the race is bleak:
Previewing new Senate numbers out later this week, PPP says Republican Marco Rubio is solid:
Right now pollster.com has Meek and Crist combining for 50% with Rubio at 44%. A lot of folks have looked at those numbers in the last few weeks and concluded that if one out of Meek and Crist would just drop out their combined support would be enough to defeat Rubio.
One number in the results we'll release tomorrow points to a big problem with that theory: 48% of Floridians want Republicans in charge of the next Senate while only 43% want Democrats in charge.
Still, Democratic chances would certainly improve with a Meek withdrawal. It wouldn't guarantee a Crist victory, but the odds would be better. Whether you think that's a good idea or not is pretty irrelevant at this point. It won't happen, as this new radio ad for Meek by President Barack Obama confirms.
The reason has become fairly apparent --
Democrats have no real optimism about the Senate race. They're reading the same polls we are. This push on Meek's behalf is all about one thing -- the governor's race.
While Meek has been a dud across much of Florida, he has had some success in the African American community -- a constituency critical for Democratic gubernatorial chances:
Democrats need this governor's race badly -- it would be a propaganda coup in a year in which Democrats will lose significant number of governorships. But who wouldn't trade Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma for Florida?
More importantly, having Sink in the governor's mansion would significantly boost Obama's reelection bid in the state in 2012.
And finally, assuming Florida's redistricting process isn't reformed by ballot initiative this November, the governor will provide a critical veto of federal redistricting in 2012. Florida is grossly gerrymandered in the GOP's favor. A more rational map would create significant opportunities for Democratic congressional pickups in the state.
Hence, this is no longer about Meek. Absent a political earthquake, we're going to be saddled with Rubio for the next six years. The big goal is now to boost African American turnout to help snag the governorship, thus providing that boost to Obama's reelection bid and electing several new House Democrats from Florida after the 2012 redistricting.
And given that 10 percent of residents in FL-25 are African American, a few extra votes from that community might be the deciding factor in this year in that hard-fought open-seat race featuring O2B candidate Joe Garcia.
All that would be great consolation for losing what was once a gettable Senate seat.