It's going to be interesting to see if the oil spill in the Gulf fading from the headlines ends up having an adverse effect on Charlie Crist's chances of getting elected to the Senate by November.
Right now Crist trails Marco Rubio 71-12 among Republicans who support offshore drilling, but leads Rubio 43-29 with ones who oppose it. That's where most of Crist's tenuous GOP support is coming from.
You could say that's just because the moderate Republicans who support Crist are more likely to be opposed to drilling but the disparity remains even when you control for ideology. Among pro-drilling moderates Crist trails Rubio by 30. Among anti-drilling moderates Crist leads Rubio by 29. Among pro-drilling conservatives Rubio leads Crist by 72. Among anti-drilling conservatives Crist leads Rubio by 6.
The problem for Crist is that with the spill capped voters may not be nearly as concerned with it by November as they have been over the course of the summer. We've already seen a 13 point shift back in support of offshore drilling in North Carolina over the last month. Obviously Florida is closer to and more directly affected by the spill but it's quite possible some of the opposition to drilling there could subside as well, and there's potential for an adverse effect on Crist's GOP support if that happens. We'll just have to see.