January 26th, 2010
12:42 PM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Dead heat in Florida as Rubio closes big gap

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/21/art.getty.crist.jpg caption="It's a whole new ballgame in the political battle for the Republican Senate nomination in Florida, according to a new poll."](CNN) - It's a whole new ballgame in the political battle for the Republican Senate nomination in Florida, according to a new poll.

A Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday morning indicates that former State House Speaker Marco Rubio leads Gov. Charlie Crist 47 percent to 44 percent in a GOP primary matchup. Rubio's 3-point advantage is within the poll's sampling error, but regardless, this is a major change from last year, when Crist led Rubio by 15 points in October, 29 points in August, and 31 points in June, according to Quinnipiac surveys.

The poll indicates that Rubio, who has the backing of many on the right, tops Crist when it comes to trust, values, and conservative credentials.

"Who would have thunk it? A former state lawmaker virtually unknown outside of his South Florida home whose challenge to an exceedingly popular sitting governor for a U.S. Senate nomination had many insiders scratching their heads. He enters the race 31 points behind and seven months later sneaks into the lead," says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "And, the horse race numbers are not a fluke. Rubio also tops Crist on a number of other measurements from registered Republicans, who are the only folks who can vote in the primary. Rubio's grassroots campaigning among Republican activists around the state clearly has paid off."

According to the survey, Crist tops Rep. Kendrick Meek of south Florida, the leading Democratic candidate, 48 percent to 36 percent in a hypothetical general election matchup. Rubio leads Meek 44 percent to 35 percent.

Forty-nine percent of people questioned disapprove of the job Barack Obama's doing as president, with 45 percent approving. That's a switch from October, when 48 percent approved of Obama's performance in the White House, with 46 percent disapproving.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted January 20-24, with 1,618 Florida voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

Asked about the Quinnipiac University poll Tuesday, Crist pointed to the difficult economic times.

"These are tough times, and for any leader it's challenging to lead in difficult times but we're going to keep doing it and keep fighting for the people and stay focused on that task. And whatever it takes to try and turn around this economy, that's what we're going to be focused on," said Crist.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Charlie Crist • Florida • Marco Rubio • Popular Posts
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Wisconsonite

    Just remember those of you of the Rabid Right movement . . .there are independent thinkers on BOTH sides of the political spectrum . . . Left AND Right! I wouldn't start counting all of those chickens too soon. There are plenty of us who want to take our country in a healthy direction and that is NOT back into the dark ages!

    January 26, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  2. Jacob

    Crist is a closet homosexual who votes against the gay community.

    COWARD! vote him OUT!

    January 26, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. carlos

    reject both of these so called CONServatives...they are the cancer in our society, let us clean them out before they disgrace this country as they did it in 2000 and again in 2004.....we do not need their corrupt ways.....we have had enough of these repugnant governors in Florida begining with the jeb......enough already.....and, what happened to the evil pat robertson?

    January 26, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. Wisconsonite

    To GrammaDiane: "Bush couldn't get anything through because of the Democrats control"

    Sorry, GrammaDiane, but I think senility has set in for you! Bush got EVERYTHING he wanted, I repeat, EVERYTHING! Including the tax cuts to the weathiest Americicans which got RAMMED through ( to use one of the Rabid Rights favorite terms) with reconcilliation! Incuding his pet project . . . . THE IRAQ WAR! Please don't try to rewrite history!

    January 26, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. carlos

    vote repugnant and you will be another disgraced religious nut and on top of that you will keep on disgracing this great country

    January 26, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. Darko

    Christ will represent washington. He is seen as the 'incumbent' whether he likes it or not. Not a good position to be in these days.

    Did anyone really doubt that Rubido would close the gap and win this?

    January 26, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. Eugene, Tampa

    I've been a Florida resident for over 15 years and this guy is a joke. He did nothing – NOTHING – to help with the insurance crisis we're in, he abandon the efforts to grow the bio-tech industry in FL (for those who don't live here, our state economy is based on the shifting sands of construction, tourism and agriculture; talk about being set up for disaster), he failed to move forward on any type of mass transit solution to our states infrastructure issues.

    This guy is great for the cameras and that's it. He sold Florida down the river and will do the same to the US if he gets to Washington.

    January 26, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. Darko

    71 year old disabled vet –

    So it's OK for a union or a 527 to buy a president but not a corporation?

    God forbid their be equal competition.

    If you're so concerned with allowing ANY entity to fund the campaigns, then you should do as SCOTUS suggested and rewrite the law as it is currently unconstitutional whether you or I agree or not.

    Oh, I'm sorry, did that silly Constitution thing get in your way again?

    January 26, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. vette gal

    Tea Party Purity January 26th, 2010 12:09 pm ET

    Gotta love the purges. Go teaparties, take us back to the good old days, when blacks weren't uppity, let alone president.

    Can't believe CNN let such a racist comment pass through their moderation

    On the subject at hand, Crist is what this country needs, a moderate; not a far left or a far right but a middle of the roader.

    January 26, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Terry from West Texas

    Shmeckell wrote: " ... it is time to run back to center right before the teeter totter falls of its hinge. ... If you vote for a republican because he/she is a republican, or if you vote democrat because he/she is a democrat you are an idiot."

    Like all moderates, you are wrong 100% of the time. Personality means nothing in politics. Did you fail to notice that 100% of Democrats are in favor of the health care bill while 100% of Republicans oppose it? Our parties, like it or not, vote as a block. Voting for a smart Republican is a vote against health care. Voting for a stupid Democrat is a vote for health care. Personal qualities make very little difference in politics.

    Moderates imagine themselves to be Solomon, splitting the difference between Conservatism and Liberalism, but that is naive at best. What moderates want is to not spend enough money on any program, never cut taxes enough, never raise taxes enough, teach pilots how to land but don't teach them how to take off (you save 50% that way). The simple-minded "wisdom" of moderation leads to a thrashing government that never accomplishes anything.

    January 26, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. Mike K

    GrammaDiane, I have no idea what universe you were living in the past 8 years but Bush got nearly everything he wanted from the Democratically controlled congress, his tax cuts, his wars, his bankrupting of the health care system with non competitive drug legislation, and much much more. The Dems literally gave Bush everything while now the Reps are saying no to everything President Obama wants. I doubt they will have the guts but I certainly hope the Dems do to the Reps the same as what is being done to them now when the Dems lose control, which historically always happens from time to time.

    January 26, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. michael lockwood

    After reading some of the posts I feel compelled to comment myself. I agree with those that say that it doesn't matter what party as long as the person represents the people and not the party. There should be term limits so that bottom feeders cant stay in office as long as they do.
    I agree with the statement that one person made that if you vote for a person only because they are Republican or Democrat then you are an idiot and you shouldn't be voting in the first place.
    To the guy that said he was happy he was a disabled vet so he gets a pension and free health care, you too are an idiot. I would say that if VA health care is the model that the Democratic party wants to hold up as an example of what the government can do then they better think twice.
    Also for the person that said that the Republicans are the cause of everything bad in the economy and voting another in would only make it worse, here's your sign "IDIOT". Congress has been controlled by the Democrats for the last three years of Bush's administration.
    The Democratic party are the only ones that can have a 60 to 40 and now a 59 to 41 majority and act like they are the minority party in the house and in the senate.
    Come up with Bills that make sense and they will pass, not some 2,000+ page fiasco that caters to the unions and special interest groups, and at the expense of those that work in this country.
    Bottom line, vote for a candidate that makes sense and believes in the same things you do. Don't fall for a bucket full of ridiculous dreams and new agendas that sound good but have no substance or money to pay for them, and again if you vote for a candidate just because they are Republican or Democrat then get in the idiot line because you are the people that are the root of the major problems in Washington, i.e. the clueless voting in the clueless.

    January 26, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. Shmeckell

    @Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but.... January 26th, 2010 12:23 pm ET

    I would vote for that bill.

    January 26, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. joel palmer

    The general consensus on here is this:
    1. Crist is a moderate
    2. Rubio is far far to the right
    3. The Florida GOP is in turmoil
    4. Independents will NOT support Rubio
    5. Independents will support Crist
    6. Democrats will support Crist before Rubio

    Crist will do an "Arlen Specter" and run as a Democrat; mark my words; he will also win

    January 26, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Michael from Ventura

    To Mike1952 who says the republican party has been "taken over by Progressives"............You CAN'T BE SERIOUS! What country do you live in? The right is eating up fellow party members everyday, and has been for years. Progressives and republicans are two words that never go together...at least not for forty years.

    January 26, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. I.V. Blackward

    Is thunk even a word?

    January 26, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. Bob in VA

    Go teabagger, go!

    See how many independent votes you teabaggers get when you beat moderate GOPers in primaries.

    January 26, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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