WASHINGTON (CNN) - The battle for Florida Republican voters appears to be heating up.
A new Quinnipiac University poll suggests that Gov. Charlie Christ's wide lead over former state house speaker Marco Rubio in the GOP senate primary has been cut in half.
According to the survey, which was released Wednesday morning, Crist leads Rubio 50 percent to 35 percent, down from 55 percent to 26 percent in August.
Earlier this week Rubio won the endorsement of a major out-of-state conservative, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who said in a statement that Rubio "will stand up for America's taxpayers, not with President Obama and dangerous big government spending."
Inhofe's remark appears to be a jab at Crist for his support earlier this year of President Barack Obama's stimulus package. Inhofe is the second conservative senator to endorse Rubio, following Jim DeMint of South Carolina.
"Gov. Charlie Crist's lead, which had been 29 points August 19, has come back down to earth. His margin is still formidable, but obviously Marco Rubio's focus on convincing Republican conservatives that he, not Crist, is their kind of guy is bearing fruit," says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
According to the poll, Crist tops the leading Democratic senate candidate, Rep. Kendrick Meek, by 20 points, among all Florida voters, in a hypothetical general election match up. The survey indicates that Rubio trails Meeks by three points, which is within the survey's sampling error.
Crist announced earlier this year that he would run for the senate next year, rather than seek re-election as governor. Fellow Republican Mel Martinez announced earlier this year that he would not make a bid for another term in 2010. Martinez stepped down from office last month. Crist appointed former aide George LeMieux to serve out Martinez's term, which expires in January 2011.
The survey indicates that the likely GOP gubernatorial nominee, State Attorney General Bill McCollum, edges the likely Democrat nominee, State CFO Alex Sink, by 4 points, with nearly three in ten Florida voters undecided.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted October 12 – 18, with 1,078 Florida voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
–CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby contributed to this report.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter @psteinhausercnn
What I would like to see is a solid campaign on the issues with "substance zingers" oppose to the "trash & burn" politics.
Of recent politics the Republicans started all the theatrics of mudslinging, demonizing and race baiting, antics that are in concert with modern daytime judge & soap opra shows viewers. I would like to see Florida Republicans start a new trend.
I do respect the Republican party, but lately I don't know the difference between Republicans and the other splinter libertarian groups. Would the real Republican group stand up or split into 2 Ultra-Republican and Conservative Republicans, then I can make a choice.
YES – Definately – It will Shrink.
You cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
Moreover, People do realize what is good for them, in the long run.
You cannot win over people by words. People see the DEEDS NOT WORDS.
Last 8 yeares were NO DEEDS and Now GOP is all WORDS.
Just one more example of how the Republican Party of today is controlled by the right-wing idealogues. When are the so called moderate GOPers going to wake up and realize they are not welcomed by the GOP base. Of course, as a Democrat, I am delighted.
Yes, the wonderful Bill McCollum, who went out of his way to make David Koresh and the Branch Davidians look like like martyrs until the children Koresh molested testified in hearings McCollum insisted in taking a leading role in. Yep, I would want him running my state.
Another GOP ethical and moral pauper.
Rubio is going to win. He is winning straw polls by landslide margins
Florida is mainly a conservative state although due to the fraudulent actions of ACORN etc last year the state went (with a few hundred votes) to that idiot Obama. Unfortunately for Florida, Crist has publicly supported some of the idiot Obama's plans and that makes many Floridians uneasy and are looking to the younger and absolutely unquestionable conservative Rubio.
no way he loses.
Well if Crist is less Conservative than Rubio, then he is of course the better of the two.
Hopefully, the good citizens of Florida will elect a non-Conservative come election day.
Question: Rush Limbaugh says that he lost the opportunity to participate in a business deal to buy a football team because of discrimination against Conservatives. That's not illegal is it? I mean, you can't discriminate based on race, religion, gender, national origin, handicap, etc. There is no law, to my knowledge, stating that you have to do business with Conservatives, sell them your product, admit them to your restaurant, etc. is there?
Dangerous Obama spending? This coming from the same party of angry Confederates that took one of the best balanced budgets inherited from Clinton to the biggest debt in history. Oh and by the way the GOP mantra of "small govt" and wreckless no regulations almost cause the entire world to fall into the next Great Depression.
It is time for a third party that is not so polarized...people of Florida look at all of your candidates, not just the republicans and democrats....
I hope Rubio wins the primary. That way the Democratic candidate will win the general election by 12% instead of 8%.
I can't believe the idiots that write statements about the glorious do-nothing president me have. Crist will win the Florida race "easily". The comments on this site have different names, but they all sound like one Obama worshiper is writing them all. HEEEUGH.
Is that a SURPRISE ??? The repugs are done like dinner>
See that pointer finger! He's pointing right at us, Conservatives! We need to join together to ensure quality hair products are available to all Americans- not just moderate Republicans with an eye on the White House. We, too, can be a part of this moment of reform!
Palin/ Bachman 2012 and 2016 and Bachman/Palin 2016/2020!