Why doesn’t Kendrick Meek get more respect?
For the last few months, when talk turns to Florida, political pundits have focused on the meteoric rise of Marco Rubio over Charlie Crist in the state’s Republican primary for Senate. And today, with a new poll from Quinnipiac University showing Rubio opening up “an elephant sized 56-33 lead” over Crist, the commentariat seems more taken with the possibility of Crist running as an independent. The same survey shows Crist with a not-quite-statistically-significant 32% to 30% lead over Rubio in a three-way race with Meek, trailing at 24%.
But largely lost in this discussion are two important findings: First, in the most likely match-up for the fall, Quinnipiac shows Rubio leading Kendrick Meek by just six percentage points (42% to 38%). That’s roughly the same margin as on the current trend estimate on our chart (43.7% to 38.5%). By that measure, Meek currently runs closer to his likely Republican opponent than do incumbent Democratic Senators Reid (NV), Lincoln (AR), and Specter (PA).
Second, only about a quarter (26%) of the Florida voters surveyed by Quinnipiac currently know Meek well enough to rate him — 18% rate him favorably, 8% unfavorably. Rubio is better known (58% can rate him), but Meek has far more room to grow, and Rubio’s negatives are growing (36% favorable, 22% unfavorable). With four more months of a bruising primary battle still to come, that trend is likely to continue. Continue reading here.
Marc Ambinder continues Blumenthal’s thought:
Mark Blumenthal picks up on something I’ve been wondering: when Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) is paired against likely Republican nominee Marco Rubio in a two-way race for the Florida Senate seat — assuming Charlie Crist doesn’t run as an independent — Meek comes within six points, on average, of the Republican. This, when barely a quarter of Florida voters say they know anything about him. His upside potential is large enough, given the right conditions, to run very competitively.