April 15, 2010 - Rubio Tops Crist By 23 Points In Florida GOP Senate Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Crist As Independent Has Slight Edge In 3-Way Race

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Marco Rubio has opened up an elephant-sized 56 - 33 percent lead over Gov. Charlie Crist in Florida's U.S. Senate Republican primary, but in a three-way general election with Rubio on the GOP line, Crist as an independent and Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, Crist has a razor- thin edge, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Gov. Crist leads Meek 48 - 34 percent in a general election matchup, while Rubio's margin over the Democrat is just 42 - 38 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds.

If Crist were to file as an independent for the general election, he would get 32 percent of the vote, compared to Rubio's 30 percent and Meek's 24 percent.

Rubio, the former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, has virtually reversed the numbers from last June when he trailed Gov. Crist 54 - 23 percent. He has increased his lead 20 points from a January 26 poll when he edged Crist 47 - 44 percent.

"Anything is possible in politics and we have a long way to go until the August primary, but Rubio's surge against a sitting governor from his own party is similar to Ned Lamont's Democratic primary win over Sen. Joseph Lieberman in Connecticut in 2006," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "A year ago, many observers questioned Rubio's sanity for potentially risking his bright future by what most at the time considered a quixotic quest.

"Gov. Crist appears a great deal more viable in a November three-way than he is against Rubio in a Republican primary. But having already ruled out an independent candidacy, he would have to reverse himself by the end of the month due to the filing deadline," said Brown.

"Such a public reversal might be politically harmful to the governor, but perhaps not compared to his chances against Rubio at this point," Brown added.

In a three-way general election:
  • Crist would get 30 percent of Republicans, 27 percent of Democrats and 38 percent of independent voters;
  • Rubio would receive 64 percent of GOP votes, 5 percent from Democrats and 29 percent of independents:
  • Meek, a congressman from South Florida, would get 55 percent of Democratic votes, 15 percent of independents and no Republicans.
Meek is much less known than either of the Republicans with 73 percent of voters not knowing enough about him to rate him either favorably or unfavorably. Rubio is rated favorably by 36 percent; unfavorably by 22 percent and 41 percent don't have an opinion. Crist is viewed favorably by 48 percent, unfavorably by 35 percent and just 13 percent don't know enough about him to have an opinion.

The size of Rubio's lead over Gov. Crist in a GOP primary is buttressed by a number of other questions.

By 54 - 30 percent, registered Republicans, who are the only ones allowed to vote in a GOP primary, say they trust Rubio more than Crist to do in office what he promises in the campaign. By 56 - 32 percent, they say Rubio more than Crist shares their values and by a 59 - 27 percent margin, they cite Rubio as more consistently conservative than Crist.

"If Crist remains in the GOP primary, and absent the type of game-changing scandal of which there is no sign, the Governor faces the political equivalent of climbing a 90-degree mountain," said Brown. "But in a three-way, he has a possible path to the U.S. Senate."

Florida's two sitting U.S. Senators, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican George LeMieux, get job approval ratings of 43 - 30 percent and a split 20 - 21 percent respectively.

From April 8 - 13, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,250 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points. The survey includes 497 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 4.4 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, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

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 REPUBLICANS....................
                                         Lib/          WtBrnAgn
                     Tot   Men    Wom    Mod    Con    Evnglcl
Rubio                56%   63%    49%    40%    67%    56%
Crist                33    28     39     46     25     33
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1     1      -      2      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -     1      -      -      -      -
DK/NA                10     7     12     12      8     11
 
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) (Data available upon request back to Jan 2009)
                     REGISTERED REPUBLICAN.................................
                     Apr 15  Jan 26  Oct 21  Aug 19  Jun 10  Apr 16  Feb 18
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
Rubio                56      47      35      26      23      11       6
Crist                33      44      50      55      54      na      na
Bense                na      na      na      na      na       3       4
Buchanan             na      na      na      na      na      16      11
Mack                 na      na      na      na      na      na      34
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       -       1       1       1       2       2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -       -       1       1       1       2       5
DK/NA                10       8      12      18      21      66      38
 
 
5. If the 2010 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Kendrick Meek the Democrat and Charlie Crist the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Meek                 34%     9%    63%    26%    30%    36%    19%
Crist                48     75     27     49     51     46     59
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2      2      -      3      2      1      3
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3      3      1      4      3      3      3
DK/NA                14     12     10     17     14     13     15
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
Meek                 34%    28%    32%    30%    39%
Crist                51     54     44     49     45
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      3      2      2      2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      4      2      6      2      1
DK/NA                11     13     16     17     12
 
TREND: If the 2010 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Kendrick Meek the Democrat and Charlie Crist the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Apr 15  Jan 26  Oct 21
                     2010    2010    2009
Meek                 34      36      31
Crist                48      48      51
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2       1       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3       3       2
DK/NA                14      12      14
 
 
6. If the 2010 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Kendrick Meek the Democrat and Marco Rubio the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Meek                 38%     4%    76%    32%    33%    43%    18%
Rubio                42     82      8     43     48     36     62
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      1      2      1      1      3
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      -      2      1      1      1      1
DK/NA                17     13     14     22     16     19     16
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
Meek                 36%    36%    30%    33%    51%
Rubio                41     46     46     46     33
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      2      2      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      2      2      1      -
DK/NA                20     15     21     19     14
 
TREND: If the 2010 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Kendrick Meek the Democrat and Marco Rubio the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Apr 15  Jan 26  Oct 21
                     2010    2010    2009
Meek                 38      35      36
Rubio                42      44      33
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       1       2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1       2       2
DK/NA                17      19      28
 
 
7. If the 2010 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Kendrick Meek the Democrat, Marco Rubio the Republican, and Charlie Crist running as an independent candidate, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Meek                 24%     -     55%    15%    21%    27%     9%
Rubio                30     64      5     29     36     25     44
Crist                32     30     27     38     30     34     30
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -      1      1      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      -      -      1      1      -      1
DK/NA                13      6     12     16     11     14     14
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
Meek                 25%    22%    20%    15%    32%
Rubio                31     30     32     37     26
Crist                32     35     30     35     30
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      1      1      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      1      1      -      -
DK/NA                12     11     15     13     12
 
 
8. 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            18%     5%    34%    15%    18%    18%     8%
Unfavorable           8     17      4      7     11      6     10
Hvn't hrd enough     73     79     61     78     70     75     81
REFUSED               1      -      1      1      1      1      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Kendrick Meek favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                             FAVORABLE.....
                                                             High    Low
                     Apr 15  Jan 26  Oct 21  Aug 19  Jun 10  Oct 21  Apr 16
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
Favorable            18      18      20      14      12      20      11
Unfavorable           8       8       8       5       7       8       6
Hvn't hrd enough     73      72      71      80      80      71      82
REFUSED               1       1       1       1       1       1       1
 
 
9. 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            36%    67%    13%    32%    44%    28%    48%
Unfavorable          22      7     34     21     22     22     13
Hvn't hrd enough     41     25     51     45     34     48     37
REFUSED               1      -      1      2      1      2      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Marco Rubio, favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                             FAVORABLE.....
                                                             High    Low
                     Apr 15  Jan 26  Oct 21  Aug 19  Jun 10  Apr 15  Apr 16
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2009    2010    2009
Favorable            36      32      24      15      14      36      10
Unfavorable          22      14      11       9      11      22      11
Hvn't hrd enough     41      53      64      74      73      41      78
REFUSED               1       1       1       1       1       1       2
 
 
10. 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            48%    49%    50%    48%    50%    46%    45%
Unfavorable          35     42     30     33     37     34     40
Hvn't hrd enough     13      6     16     16     10     16     13
REFUSED               3      3      4      3      3      4      3
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Charlie Crist favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                             FAVORABLE.....
                                                             High    Low
                     Apr 15  Jan 26  Oct 21  Aug 19  Jun 10  Feb 19  Apr 15
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2009    2009    2010
Favorable            48      52      58      60      60      68      48
Unfavorable          35      36      30      27      28      21      35
Hvn't hrd enough     13       8      10       9       9       9      13
REFUSED               3       3       2       3       3       3       3
 
 
14. 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              49%    49%    52%    50%    52%    47%    48%
Disapprove           39     42     37     37     39     39     40
DK/NA                12      9     12     13     10     14     13
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
Approve              44%    54%    46%    55%    52%
Disapprove           42     39     43     34     34
DK/NA                14      8     11     11     14
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Charlie Crist is handling his job as Governor? (*High approve also 73% Mar 2007)
                                                     APPROVE.......  DIS....
                                                     High    Low     High
                     Apr 15  Jan 26  Oct 21  Aug 19  Jul 19  Apr 15  Apr 15
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2007*   2010    2010
Approve              49      50      59      60      73      49      49
Disapprove           39      38      31      30      11      39      39
DK/NA                12      12      11       9      16      12      12
 
 
16. 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              43%    31%    58%    41%    45%    41%    40%
Disapprove           30     47     16     31     35     26     35
DK/NA                26     22     26     28     20     33     25
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
Approve              41%    40%    48%    42%    43%
Disapprove           31     36     31     34     24
DK/NA                28     24     21     24     33
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Nelson is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                     APPROVE.......  DIS....
                                                     High    Low     High
                     Apr 15  Jan 26  Oct 21  Aug 19  Feb 6   Aug 12  Oct 21
                     2010    2010    2009    2009    2007    2004    2009
Approve              43      46      45      47      54      42      45
Disapprove           30      29      31      28      18      18      31
DK/NA                26      25      24      25      28      40      24
 
 
17. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George LeMieux is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
Approve              20%    26%    19%    16%    24%    17%    19%
Disapprove           21     16     27     20     24     18     15
DK/NA                59     58     54     63     52     65     66
 
                     North/
                     PnHnd  Bay    Cntrl  SthW   SthE
Approve              21%    21%    21%    16%    19%
Disapprove           20     21     16     23     25
DK/NA                58     58     63     61     56
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way George LeMieux is handling his job as United States Senator?
                     Apr 15  Jan 26  Oct 21
                     2010    2010    2009
Approve              20      21      16
Disapprove           21      21      18
DK/NA                59      58      66
 
 
21. (If registered Republican) Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you - trust more to do in office what they say they will do during the campaign, Marco Rubio or Charlie Crist?
                     REGISTERED REPS..
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Rubio                54%    59%    48%
Crist                30     29     31
NO DIFF(VOL)          6      8      4
DK/NA                11      5     17
 
TREND: (If registered Republican) Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you trust more to do in office what they say they will do during the campaign, Marco Rubio or Charlie Crist?
                     REGISTERED REPUBLICANS
                     Apr 15  Jan 26
                     2010    2010
Rubio                54      43
Crist                30      42
NO DIFF(VOL)          6       5
DK/NA                11      10
 
 
22. (If registered Republican) Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you - believe most shares your values, Marco Rubio or Charlie Crist?
                     REGISTERED REPS..
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Rubio                56%    60%    51%
Crist                32     32     32
NO DIFF(VOL)          2      2      1
DK/NA                11      6     16
 
TREND: (If registered Republican) Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you believe most shares your values, Marco Rubio or Charlie Crist?
                     REGISTERED REPUBLICANS
                     Apr 15  Jan 26
                     2010    2010
Rubio                56      45
Crist                32      40
NO DIFF(VOL)          2       2
DK/NA                11      13
 
 
23. (If registered Republican) Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you - see as more consistently conservative, Marco Rubio or Charlie Crist?
                     REGISTERED REPS..
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Rubio                59%    68%    49%
Crist                27     22     32
NO DIFF(VOL)          1      1      -
DK/NA                14      8     19
 
TREND: (If registered Republican) Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you see as more consistently conservative, Marco Rubio or Charlie Crist?
                     REGISTERED REPUBLICANS
                     Apr 15  Jan 26
                     2010    2010
Rubio                59      48
Crist                27      34
NO DIFF(VOL)          1       1
DK/NA                14      17