Rasmussen: @MarcoRubio 38%, @CharlieCristFL 33%, @KendrickMeek 21%

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The race for the U.S. Senate in Florida continues to be all about Governor Charlie Crist and former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, regardless of which Democrat they face.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Florida shows Rubio with 38% of the vote and Crist at 33% if Congressman Kendrick Meek is the nominee. Meek earns 21%. Only one percent (1%) prefer some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided.

If billionaire Jeff Greene is the Democratic candidate, Crist gets 37% support to Rubio’s 36%, with Greene trailing at 20%. two percent (2%) like another candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided.

Last month, Rubio also held a narrow lead if Meek is the Democratic nominee, and Crist was slightly ahead with Greene in the race.

But the lead in this race has seesawed between Crist and Rubio for months, ever since the former abandoned his losing bid for the GOP Senate nomination and opted to run as an independent.

Florida Democrats will pick their nominee in less than two weeks – on August 24 – and Crist’s campaign is hoping to draw support from Democrats unhappy with whichever candidate wins.

In both matchups, Rubio gets 66% of the Republican vote, and Crist draws 25% support from his old party. If Meek is in the race, he earns 48% support in his own party, while Crist picks up 36% of the Democratic vote. If Greene is the nominee, Democrats break even between Greene and Crist. Among voters not affiliated with either party, Crist has the edge only if Greene is in the race.

This statewide telephone survey of 750 Likely Voters in Florida was conducted on August 9, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/-4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Rick Scott remains the stronger of the two Republican hopefuls for governor of Florida against Democrat Alex Sink, with independent candidate “Bud” Chiles siphoning votes from both parties.

Crist is viewed as a moderate by most Florida voters, and 49% of those voters say his views are in the mainstream. Twenty-eight percent (28%) say his view are extreme.

Rubio, who is considered a conservative by the majority of the state’s voters, holds views that are seen in the mainstream by 40% and extreme by 34%.

Meek is regarded as liberal to moderate by most voters. Twenty-five percent (25%) put his views in the mainstream, while 34% see thems as extreme.

Greene similarly is viewed largely as liberal to moderate, and 26% say he holds mainstream views while 33% say extreme.

But 40% of voters don’t know enough about either Meek or Greene to venture any kind of opinion about their views. Roughly 25% have no opinion of the views of Crist and Rubio.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Florida voters approve of the job Crist is doing as governor, up five points from the previous survey. Forty percent (40%) disapprove.

Crist is viewed Very Favorably by 16% of voters in the state and Very Unfavorably by 15%.

Twenty-five percent (25%) have a Very Favorable opinion of Rubio, while 16% view him Very Unfavorably.

For Meek, Very Favorables are eight percent (8%) and Very Unfavorables 21%.

Greene earns Very Favorables of seven percent (7%) and Very Unfavorables of 23%.

Crist remains by far the best-known of the candidates. 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.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.