From Public Policy Polling: Support for Charlie Crist from conservative voters has pretty much evaporated, and that’s allowed Marco Rubio to build a 32-point lead in the Republican primary for Senate.
Rubio now leads Crist 60-28, including a staggering 71-17 lead with conservatives. Crist has a 49-36 advantage with party moderates, but they account for just 31% of likely primary voters compared to 65% who describe themselves as conservative.
Rubio is benefiting from a widely held sentiment among Florida GOP voters that Congressional Republicans are too liberal and that Crist would add to the problem. 41% of them think that the party leadership in Washington is too liberal, and with those folks Rubio holds an 83-10 lead. 50% think that Crist himself is too liberal and with those voters Rubio’s advantage expands even wider to 90-5.
It also looks like it’s too late for Crist to audible and make another run for Governor. GOP voters say they’d prefer likely nominee Bill McCollum over Crist by a 49-35 margin. In fact Republicans generally just want Crist to go away- 56% say they’d like him out of office a year from now to 19% who’d like to see him continue as Governor and only 14% who want him in the Senate.
Crist’s biggest problem is that 56% of Republican primary voters disapprove of the job he’s doing as Governor to just 29% who approve. Any time that disapproval figure goes over 50% it means you have to actively change voters’ minds about you to have any success, and that’s a tall order.
Our general election Senate numbers, which we’ll release tomorrow, find that Crist is a good deal more popular with Democrats now than he is with Republicans. His path to any future electoral victory may come as an independent or perhaps even as a Democrat.