(CNN) - Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek battled each other for independent voters in Florida's Senate race. Rubio won the war.
The Republican cleaned up with that group, according to early exit polls, capturing 48 percent of independents in the three-way race.
The Tea Party favorite's small government message played well here: More than half of Florida voters say government's doing too much. And 7 in 10 say government's not working.
Disappointed Dems wondering what might have been if Crist had bowed out of the race after primary season get a clue in the early exit poll numbers: today's voters say Rubio would have beat Meek by 10 points, 49-39 percent. And 10 percent of today's voters say they would have skipped the race entirely.