Even worse, the moderate governor has drawn strong support from current Republican senators. He has been endorsed by Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, and has been promised financial and political support by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Some conservatives are so outraged by that fact that they are trying to organize a boycott of donations to the NRSC.
So what do the Republican voters of Florida think? A new Quinnipiac poll tells the story:
“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….
“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.”
That’s great. I’m all for anything that threatens the grip of the hard-core right on the Republican Party, even if it also means that Republicans improve their numbers in Congress. It’s not good for the country to have one of its two major parties in effect disqualify itself from leadership by its extremism.