June 10, 2009 - Crist Swamps Rubio In Florida GOP Senate Bid, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Democratic Contenders Largely Unknown

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Gov. Charlie Crist swamps former Florida House speaker Marco Rubio 54 - 23 percent in the 2010 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Kendrick Meek, a Congressman from South Florida, leads the field for the Democratic Senate nomination with 18 percent, followed by two other members of Florida's congressional delegation, Corrine Brown with 12 percent and Ron Klein with 8 percent. But 57 percent of voters say they don't yet have a candidate in the race, according to the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey.

President Barack Obama remains very popular in the state of Florida with a 58 - 35 percent job approval rating. That compares to the less than 52 percent he received in Florida last November.

Obama's job approval rating, however, trails that of Gov. Crist, whose strength across the political spectrum would make him a difficult candidate to beat in a general election for the U.S. Senate. Crist has a 62 - 28 percent job approval rating overall, including a 59 - 30 percent thumbs-up from Democrats.

"Marco Rubio says there are many Florida Republicans who don't want Charlie Crist in the U.S. Senate. Depending on how you define the word 'many,' he might be correct. Unfortunately for Rubio at this stage, many, many, many more favor Crist," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Of course Rubio has more than a year until the GOP primary, and he'll need it to turn the race around," Brown added. "To prevail, he must get every undecided voter and win over some who favor Crist. Working against that possibility is that among Republicans, the only ones who can vote in the GOP primary, Crist's favorability is 70 - 21 percent - compared to Rubio's 24 - 8 percent, with 66 percent who don't know enough about him to form an opinion."

Rubio, who is basing his campaign on the notion that he represents new leadership and that Crist is out of touch with the GOP's conservative base, may take some comfort in the data showing that Republicans, by a 56 - 36 percent margin, say a candidate's ideas, rather than experience, is the most important factor in their vote. Republicans also say 89 - 9 percent that a candidate's vision is more important to their vote than who can win the November election.

"These results indicate that if Rubio can convince GOP primary voters he is more in tune with them philosophically he might have a chance, but he has a long way to go," Brown said. "Just because he makes that argument doesn't mean Florida Republicans will buy it. Rubio is going to have to convince an awful lot of Republicans who have a favorable impression of Crist that they need to re-evaluate their views. The only practical way to accomplish that would be a well-funded, negative campaign."

While Meek is slightly ahead in a Democratic Senate primary, 80 percent of voters statewide, including 74 percent of Democrats, don't know enough about him to form an opinion. Brown and Klein do no better.

"None of the Democratic contenders are well-known outside of their own areas," said Brown, "and this race remains wide open. If Congresswoman Brown, who has just recently said she is considering the race, does get into it, that might benefit Klein, since both Brown and Meek are African-American and would likely split that key Democratic constituency."

From June 2 - 7, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,245 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points. The survey includes 486 Republicans and 477 Democrats, each with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed - http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

1. (If registered Democrat) If the 2010 Democratic primary for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Corrine Brown, Ron Klein and Kendrick Meek, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED DEMOCRAT
                     Tot    Men    Wom
 
Brown                12%    12%    12%
Klein                 8     10      7
Meek                 18     17     18
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2      3      2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      3
DK/NA                57     57     57
 
TREND: (If registered Democrat) If the 2010 Democratic primary for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Corrine Brown, Ron Klein and Kendrick Meek, for whom would you vote? (na:Not Asked)
                     REGISTERED DEMOCRAT............
                     Jun 10  Apr 16  Feb 18   Jan 21
                     2009    2009    2009     2009
 
Brown                12      na      na       na
Klein                 8       8      14        9
Meek                 18      16      16       13
Iorio                na      15      16       na
Gelber               na       5       5       na
Sink                 na      na      na       15
Boyd                 na      na      na        8
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2       -       2       na
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2       2       4       na
DK/NA                57      53      43       54
 
 
2. (If registered Republican) If the 2010 Republican primary for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED REPUBLICAN
                     Tot    Men    Wom
 
Rubio                23%    28%    18%
Crist                54     54     53
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      1
DK/NA                21     15     26
 
TREND:(If registered Republican) If the 2010 Republican primary for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist, for whom would you vote?(na:Not Asked)
                     REGISTERED REPUBLICAN.........
                     Jun 10  Apr 16  Feb 18  Jan 21
                     2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Rubio                23      11       6       6
Crist                54      na      na      na
Bense                na       3       4       2
Buchanan             na      16      11      10
McCollum             na      na      na      22
Mack                 na      na      34      21
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       2       2      na
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1       2       5      na
DK/NA                21      66      38      40
 
 
4. Is your opinion of - Kendrick Meek favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            12%     3%    22%     9%    12%    12%     4%
Unfavorable           7     12      3      9     10      5      9
Hvn't hrd enough     80     83     74     81     77     82     85
REFUSED               1      2      1      1      1      1      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Kendrick Meek favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him? (*Congressman Kendrick Meek)
                     Jun 10  Apr 16  Feb 18  Jan 21  Nov 18
                     2009    2009    2009*   2009*   2008*
 
Favorable            12      11      12      14      14
Unfavorable           7       6       6       6       8
Hvn't hrd enough     80      82      80      79      76
REFUSED               1       1       2       1       2
 
 
5. Is your opinion of - Ron Klein favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            11%     6%    15%    10%    12%    10%     7%
Unfavorable           5      7      5      4      7      4      6
Hvn't hrd enough     83     85     80     86     80     86     85
REFUSED               1      2      1      -      2      -      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Ron Klein favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him? (*Congressman Ron Klein)
                     Jun 10  Apr 16  Feb 18  Jan 21
                     2009    2009    2009*   2009*
 
Favorable            11       9      12      11
Unfavorable           5       4       5       6
Hvn't hrd enough     83      86      82      82
REFUSED               1       1       1       1
 
 
6. Is your opinion of - Corrine Brown favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            10%     3%    18%     6%     8%    11%     7%
Unfavorable          10     19      3      9     13      7     15
Hvn't hrd enough     80     76     79     84     77     81     76
REFUSED               1      3      -      1      1      1      2
 
 
7. Is your opinion of - Marco Rubio favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            14%    24%     7%    16%    18%    11%    18%
Unfavorable          11      8     13     13     15      8      6
Hvn't hrd enough     73     66     80     70     64     80     73
REFUSED               1      3      -      1      2      1      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Marco Rubio, favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him? (*former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio)
                     Jun 10  Apr 16  Feb 18  Jan 21
                     2009    2009    2009*   2009*
 
Favorable            14      10      12      13
Unfavorable          11      11      18      17
Hvn't hrd enough     73      78      69      69
REFUSED               1       2       1       -
 
 
8. Is your opinion of - Charlie Crist favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            60%    70%    53%    63%    59%    61%    67%
Unfavorable          28     21     33     27     31     25     23
Hvn't hrd enough      9      7     13      6      8     10      5
REFUSED               3      3      2      3      2      3      4
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Charlie Crist favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Jun 10  Apr 16  Feb 19  Jan 21  Nov 18
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2008
 
Favorable            60      64      68      67      65
Unfavorable          28      22      21      21      22
Hvn't hrd enough      9      10       9      10      10
REFUSED               3       3       3       2       2
 
 
11. (If registered Republican) Which is more important to you when you decide how to vote in the Republican primary for the United States Senate - the candidate's ideas or the candidate's experience?
                     REGISTERED REPUBLICAN
                     Tot    Men    Wom
 
Ideas                56%    64%    49%
Experience           36     28     43
DK/NA                 8      8      8
 
 
12. (If registered Republican) Which is more important to you when you decide how to vote in the Republican primary for the United States Senate - the candidate's ability to win the general election or the candidate's views on the issues?
                     REGISTERED REPUBLICAN
                     Tot    Men    Wom
 
Ability to win        9%     9%     8%
Views on issues      89     87     90
DK/NA                 3      4      2
 
 
13. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Charlie Crist is handling his job as Governor?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              62%    68%    59%    61%    64%    61%    68%
Disapprove           28     21     30     31     30     26     27
DK/NA                10     10     11      8      6     13      5
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Approve              63%    63%    60%    67%    62%
Disapprove           25     30     32     21     27
DK/NA                12      8      8     11     11
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Charlie Crist is handling his job as Governor? (*also High 73% on 3/29/07)
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jun 10  Apr 15  Feb 18  Jan 21  Nov 18  Jul 19  Apr 10
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2008    2007*   2008
 
Approve              62      66      67      65      68      73      59
Disapprove           28      23      22      24      18      11      25
DK/NA                10      11      11      11      13      16      15
 
 
14. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              35%    39%    34%    33%    34%    36%    43%
Disapprove           45     40     47     48     51     40     39
DK/NA                20     21     19     19     15     24     18
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
 
Approve              40%    34%    35%    32%    33%
Disapprove           41     45     48     40     47
DK/NA                19     21     17     28     20
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jun 10  Apr 15  Feb 18  Jan 21  Nov 18  Sep 23  Apr 10
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2008    2004    2008
 
Approve              35      40      37      40      46      51      32
Disapprove           45      42      42      42      35      34      48
DK/NA                20      18      21      18      19      15      20
 
 
15. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Nelson is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              49%    38%    58%    50%    53%    46%    45%
Disapprove           22     34     13     24     27     19     30
DK/NA                28     28     29     27     20     35     26
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Nelson is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jun 10  Apr 16  Feb 19  Jan 21  Nov 18  Feb 6   Aug 12
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2008    2007    2004
 
Approve              49      52      48      53      51      54      42
Disapprove           22      24      22      19      22      18      18
DK/NA                28      24      30      29      27      28      40
 
 
18. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              58%    21%    91%    50%    52%    63%    33%
Disapprove           35     69      7     42     42     29     61
DK/NA                 7      9      3      8      6      8      7
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?
                     Jun 10  Apr 16  Feb 19
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              58      60      64
Disapprove           35      32      23
DK/NA                 7       8      13
 
 
19. Would you say that Barack Obama is doing a better job as president than you expected, a worse job, or about what you expected?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Better               27%    12%    45%    20%    24%    30%    16%
Worse                17     34      3     18     19     15     27
About expected       53     51     49     61     55     51     56
DK/NA                 3      3      3      2      2      4      1
 
TREND: Would you say that Barack Obama is doing a better job as president than you expected, a worse job, or about what you expected?
                     Jun 10  Apr 16
                     2009    2009
 
Better               27      28
Worse                17      15
As expected          53      52
DK/NA                 3       5
 
 
20. Is your opinion of - Barack Obama favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            62%    24%    93%    55%    55%    67%    37%
Unfavorable          32     68      5     37     38     28     57
Hvn't hrd enough      4      6      1      5      5      3      3
REFUSED               2      2      1      3      2      2      3
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Barack Obama favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                             FAVORABLE....
                                                             High    Low
                     Jun 10  Apr 16  Feb 19  Jan 21  May 22  Feb 19  Feb 07
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2008    2009    2007
 
Favorable            62      63      69      66      44      69      37
Unfavorable          32      30      22      16      40      22      18
Hvn't hrd enough      4       5       6      12      14       6      44
REFUSED               2       1       3       5       2       3       1