Republican Marco Rubio and Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist are tied this month in Florida’s topsy-turvy race for the U.S. Senate.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the Sunshine State finds Rubio and Crist each earning 37% of the vote, while Democratic hopeful Kendrick Meek trails with 15% support. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided.
A month ago, Rubio held an eight-point advantage over Crist.
Sixty percent (60%) of Florida voters now approve of the job Crist is doing as governor, up three points from a month ago. Thirty-seven percent (37%) disapprove. As governor, Crist has been very visible in addressing the Gulf Oil Spill
Still, 39% of all voters in the state say Crist will be hurt most by the ongoing investigation of alleged financial irregularities in the state Republican Party, while 31% think Rubio will be hurt the most.
Seventy-four percent (74%) say the probe of the state party’s finances is at least somewhat important to how they will vote, with 47% who say it is Very Important.
But it’s important to note that only half the voters in the state say they are following news reports about the arrest of the former state GOP party head even somewhat closely.
This statewide telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters in Florida was conducted on June 7, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/-4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
One consistent thing in the Senate race for months has been the third-place showing of Meek, a congressman from the North Miami area. Now Meek who was considered a shoo-in for his party’s Senate nomination now faces a challenger in the Democratic Primary, Palm Beach billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene, who’s been introducing himself to Florida voters via statewide television ads.
If Greene is the Democrat in the race, Crist’s support rises to 41%, while Rubio remains at 37%. Greene picks up 13% of the vote, with 10% undecided. A modest number of Democrats and unaffiliateds shift to Crist if Greene is in the race.
Both Rubio, the former speaker of the Florida House, and Crist, who abandoned the GOP Primary race when his numbers went into freefall, have faced questions in recent weeks about their ties to the now-indicted former head of the state Republican Party. Meanwhile, Meek and Greene are attacking each other on TV and in appearances around the state.
Fifty-six percent (56%) of Florida voters favor repeal of the national health care bill, while 37% are opposed. This includes 46% who Strongly Favor repeal and 32% who Strongly Oppose it.
Crist is viewed Very Favorably by 19% and Very Unfavorably by 13%.
Twenty-three percent (23%) have a Very favorable opinion of Rubio, while 17% regard him Very Unfavorably.
For Meek, Very Favorables are nine percent (9%) and Very Unfavorables 15%.
Greene, the race’s newcomer, is seen Very Favorably by six percent (6%) and Very Unfavorably by 18%.
At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with a strong opinion more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.
Florida’s budget situation isn’t as severe as in many other states, but 78% in Florida still believe that the unwillingness of politicians to control government spending is a bigger problem than the unwillingness of voters to pay enough in taxes. Just 10% say voters are the bigger problem.
Forty-six percent (46%) of Florida voters approve of the job President Obama is doing, down four points from a month ago, while 53% disapprove. That’s similar voter sentiments nationally in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.