(CNN) - The third straight non-partisan poll conducted since Gov. Charlie Crist announced that he would run as a independent in his big for Florida's open Senate seat indicates that the governor remains in the lead in a three way battle.
According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday, 37 percent of registered Sunshine state voters back Crist, with 33 percent supporting Marco Rubio, the former Florida House speaker and the presumptive Republican nominee, and 17 percent backing Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek. Crist's four point advantage over Rubio is within the poll's sampling error.
The survey indicates that if Jeff Greene –the real estate tycoon who jumped into the race last April– becomes the Democratic Senate nominee instead of Meek, Crist tops Rubio 40 to 33 percent, with Green at 13 percent. Meek and Greene face off in Florida's August primary.
Once the overwhelming favorite in the battle for the Republican Senate nomination, Crist was trailing Rubio by more than 20 points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll, when he announced in late Arpil that he was dropping his bid for his party's nomination and would run for the Senate as a non-aligned candidate.
Two other non-partisan surveys conducted since the Crist announcement also indicated he led in a three person general election showdown.
"Obviously there is a long time until November, but the Governor is doing very well among independent voters, almost as well among Democrats as Meek, and better among Democrats than Greene," says Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "With Rubio getting two-thirds of the Republican vote, the fate of Gov. Crist, who switched from a Republican to independent six weeks ago, depends heavily on his ability to appeal to Democratic voters."
The poll also suggests that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is dramatically affecting Floridians views on offshore drilling. Fifty-one percent of people questioned say they oppose an increase in the amount of offshore oil drilling, up from 27 percent in April, before the spill occurred. Support for increased drilling dropped from 66 percent to 42 percent.
According to the survey, President Barack Obama's approval rating in the state stands at 40 percent, down ten points from April.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted June 1-7, with 1,133 Florida registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
As a Democrat, I'd be good with Crist. I'd be nice to have a moderate in the Senate.
I think Crist is much better than Rubio. Rubio is a communist from Cuba, is he really a US citizen? Has he shown his birth certificate?
We want independent thinker and doer. Go beat it! Charlie.
Crist is a bold-faced liar; he cares about making alliances with Obama, plain and simple. He's not to be trusted and if the people of Florida elect this snake then they'll get what they deserve.
Go Charlie Go! After all you have done to help Floridians, I would hate to see Dick Armey's cabana boy, Rubio, have an opportunity to further ruin our country with the right wingnut agenda.
Maybe Republicans should pay attention, the US is not a "Tea Bagger" country. The people may be upset with the government right now, but that does not mean they'll invite the wolves to dinner.
I am not a republican, BUT this man is a good guy! He does NOT pander to the loons of his party, or the loons in mine. He does the right thing, I wish MORE republicans would figure out, they will NEVER get in office with the tea bagger mentality, the country, regardless of their koo koo spats, will NEVER be that "right" again!
This was a plot. Poor Rubio!
If he is smart, he goes to the DNC, tells them that he plans to become a Democrat after the election. The Administration can help him deliver for Florida as governor. Meeks can quietly drop out of the race and the Dems be assured of picking up a seat in the Senate.
Go get 'em Charlie!
I wonder how many times he's been accused of being on top in a three way?
well if Florida wishes to send someone to continue this admin's failed policies, then Crist and Meek is their man!
Truly amazing how we complained about what is going on in DC but practice the insanity of sending the same type of people there to continue them. But with the expectation that somehow thing will be different.
Our electorate are stupid. But what do expect most of them are products of the Dept of Education. We all know what a great job they are doing educating.
Go Crist! Americans could benefit from more independent (thinkers) in our government.
Gov Christ as outright joined the arrogant left wing Elites. At this point there isn't a hairs width of difference between him and Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid. He'll clearly support Obama's radical left wing agenda! With him in the race the Democrats can just drop out, they are well represented by Christ!
Crist is all about Crist. Crist leads the easily fooled around by their noses and they are so loyal. Sad.
Also, has anyone else noticed that Crist looks like a chicken with that neck and adam's apple?
GOOD. Meek doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell, and Rubio must be kept away from that seat at all costs.