Thursday, April 29, 2010

Breaking down the Crist shift

There are going to be a lot of races this year where a Republican leaning third party candidate would do Democrats a lot of good. The Florida Senate race is not going to be one of them. If Charlie Crist's independent run has any impact on Kendrick Meek's chances of winning it's likely to be negative. Here are three reasons why:

-In a hypothetical three way contest last month we found Crist winning 32% of Obama voters but only 22% of McCain voters. Even before making his departure from the Republican Party a reality he was pulling more from likely Meek voters than likely Rubio voters.

-The level of support Crist starts out with from Republicans is likely to decline over the next six months. On our recent poll Crist had 18% of the GOP vote in a three way contest. 18% is the share of the Republican vote Arlen Specter got against Pat Toomey on a Quinnipiac poll immediately after his party shift. A year later he's now getting just 9% of the GOP vote. Crist seems likely to experience a similar erosion in his Republican support as the year progresses.

-45% of Democratic voters have a favorable opinion of Crist while only 29% have a favorable opinion of Meek. Compare that to 52% of Republicans with a favorable opinion of Rubio and 28% with a favorable one of Crist. If Crist is more popular with the Democrats than their candidate and less popular with the Republicans than their candidate it stands to reason he'll pull more of the Democratic vote long term. Maybe that will change down the road once Meek becomes better known but for now it's good for Crist.

Republicans are going to be angry at Crist for leaving the GOP, but it may actually be the best thing he's done for the party in months. It should help Marco Rubio's chances of getting to the Senate.


Anonymous said...

Tom, you're on the mark! As Stu Rothenberg wrote today on CQ that only 2 things can go wrong for Rubio, either a big scandal evolves or if Meek trails badly in third place by the fall, then Crist might become the de facto Dem candidate but it's very unlikely.

Unknown said...

I really enjoying you analysis on the various races from around the country.

Keep up the good work PPP!

Christian Liberty said...

No way that Meek could win. Which explains why Meek could receive a primary challenge.

Anonymous said...

As democrat I'm not afraid about this movement. This is good for democrats because in the previous situation Crist has 0 chance against Rubio in the primary, and Meek has 0 chance against Rubio in the general.

This is the best way for defeat the Republican. Why PPP dislike this? This is not good for PPP?

Christian Liberty said...

Meek drops to 17%.
Rubio's vote-share double Meek's.

62% of FL LV favor REPEAL of Obamacare (49% STRONGLY favor repeal)

Anonymous said...

Time has proven this post WRONG. Crist is essentially Mr. Florida. He's occupying the broad center -- making Rubio too conservative to be elected in Florida and making Meek a non-story. Nothing has changed over the last fout months, and nothing will over the next three months. Crist will win. And he will caucus with the Dems.

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