In the last few weeks, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in the State of Florida, Marco Rubio, has started to take a commanding lead over both independent candidate, Governor Charlie Crist, and Democratic Congressman Kendrick Meek. Most political big-wigs in the state have pretty much written off both Crist and Meek and have proclaimed Rubio the winner.
But are these so-called “experts” jumping to conclusions?
The most recent poll taken in the state by Mason-Dixon gives Rubio a 12-point lead over Charlie Crist. Rubio is currently netting 40% of the vote, while Crist has 28% support. Democrat Kendrick Meek still lingers around 23% of the vote, failing to gain any support during the last few months.
After he split from the Republican Party, many political insiders were wondering how the pro-Crist voters would act and, in the end, who it would hurt. Many though since Crist was a Republican, that is would hurt Rubio. On the other hand, many also thought that because of Crist’s moderate-to-liberal views, he would take more away from the Democrats. And in poll after poll, the latter seems to be the case.
So, can Crist still win the seat?
If Charlie plans on being the next U.S. Senator from the State of Florida, he will have to convey a very important message…a vote for Meek is a vote for Rubio.
As of right now, Kendrick Meek has been a thorn in Charlie Crist’s side. Meek has no chance whatsoever to win the Senate seat. Even if he were to capture a larger percentage of the vote than Crist (which there is no indication that will happen), he still would not have enough votes to catch Rubio. Therefore, Meek hurts Crist.
Some in the Democratic Party have gone as far as asking Meeks to withdraw from the race and endorse Crist. If this were to happen, Crist should almost be a shoe-in for the U.S. Senate seat. But there is no indication that this will happen.
Crist’s campaign has failed to get enough Democratic voters to gravitate to their side to make a successful charge in the final weeks of the campaign. They have failed to convey that it would be better for Democratic voters to have Crist as a U.S. Senator than having Rubio as one. This is the most fundamental problem with the Crist campaign.
But just because polls are saying one thing, the actions of the voters might show something quite different.
While many Democrats “say” that they will vote for Meek, will they actually go through with their actions? Sitting in the voting booth, understanding the implications of their vote for Meek (which is a vote for Rubio), they might finally come to their senses and vote for Crist in an anti-Rubio move. This is what the Crist campaign will be praying for in the closing weeks of the election season.
Also, in the most recent poll, there are 9% of the voters that are undecided. And with Rubio being pushed more and more to the right, these undecideds might vote for Crist at the last minute. Still, recent polls have also shown Rubio gaining strength among independent voters, which makes up much of the undecideds.
Right now, the polls are far from an accurate indicator of what might happen in Florida. Voter’s minds in this race are too fluid, and predicting what they will think once election time comes around is nearly impossible.
Therefore, take any poll numbers in the U.S. Senate race with a large grain of salt. They might change tomorrow, or next week, or one day before Election Day. And, with those numbers changing, don’t be surprised to see Crist close the gap. Rubio has pretty much topped out on his support.