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Florida Finds a Viable Conservative

The latest Rasmussen poll is a mixed blessing for Gov. Charlie Crist, who has had his share of problems of late. The poll shows:

Both Republican hopefuls hold a double-digit lead over their likeliest Democratic opponent, Congressman Kendrick Meek, in the latest Rasmussen Reports survey of this year’s race for the U.S. Senate in Florida.

Governor Charlie Crist now has a 15-point lead on Meek among likely Florida voters, 48% to 33%. … Former House Speaker Marco Rubio now posts a 17-point lead on Meek, 49% to 32%.

The good news: Crist, if he can make it through the primary, still would have a glide path to the Senate. But the bad news is that the argument of his campaign and much of the GOP establishment that backed him — that he was a lower-risk, “easier” choice than Rubio — has proved to be untrue. Rubio backers, including tea party activists, can rightly claim that Republicans can have the more conservative candidate and do just as well in the general election. In fact, Rubio’s favorable/unfavorable split is better than the governor’s: “Thirteen percent (13%) of voters in Florida have a very favorable opinion of Crist, but the same number (13%) view him very unfavorably. For Rubio, very favorables total 23% and very unfavorables 11%.”

Contrary to the predictions of a host of snooty pundits, no “civil war” broke out on the GOP side in Florida. The Republicans may, however, have found the most conservative candidate who could win in the general election and disproved the myth of a split between tea party activists and mainstream Republicans. And that, come to think of it, might have been what those pundits were so worried about.



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