Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Crist Looking Good

Thanks mostly to support from Democrats Charlie Crist is the leader in the Florida Senate race. In the most likely match up against Kendrick Meek he gets 35% to 29% for Marco Rubio and 17% for Meek. His lead expands with Jeff Greene as the Democratic nominee. In that scenario Crist gets 38% with Rubio still at 29% and Greene at only 13%.

Crist has become the de facto Democratic nominee and that's where most of his support is coming from. He's currently getting 44% of Democrats in the Meek match up, along with 40% of independents and 23% of Republicans. Crist has increased his support across the board since PPP last polled this race in early March. At that time, while still a Republican, he got just 27% to 34% for Rubio and 25% for Meek. He's now doing 12 points better with Democrats, 5 points better with independents, and somewhat surprisingly even 5 points better with Republicans.

Whether Crist can hold on to this fragile coalition through the fall remains to be seen. Right now 48% of Democrats have no opinion about Meek and 50% are ambivalent toward Greene. Will Crist continue to have such strong Democratic support after the party has a nominee who's built up their exposure during a successful primary campaign? And will he continue to hold onto more than 20% of the Republican vote as it becomes clearer and clearer that Democrats are providing the bulk of his support? What happens on those two fronts will probably determine Crist's ultimate fate.

Marco Rubio's personal favorability has taken a large hit in the four months since PPP last polled this race. In March voters were pretty evenly divided on him with 31% seeing him positively and 32% negatively. He's still at 31% with a favorable opinion of him but his negatives have swelled in the interim to 46%. Particularly troubling for Rubio is that a majority of independents now have an unfavorable opinion of him. Like Rand Paul in Kentucky, the better voters have gotten to know Rubio the less they've liked him.

The Democrats aren't doing too well on the personal favorability front either. For both Meek and Greene Republicans dislike them more than Democrats like them, and additionally independents don't like either of them. That adds up to an 18/27 favorability for Meek and a 15/26 one for Greene. The most striking thing in those numbers is that a plurality of Democrats see Greene unfavorably, 23/27. We'll have Democratic primary numbers out later this week.

A lot can happen between now and November, but there's no doubt Charlie Crist has a whole lot of momentum on his side. Whether he can sustain that on through election day we shall see.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

Rubio is going to go back on the airwaves after Labor Day and win.

DBL said...

Your judgement that the better people get to know Rubio the less they like him isn't based on much. Crist ran heavy anti-Rubio advertising in April and it was effective. The only people who think that negative ads against Republicans are the people "getting to know a candidate better" are Democratic strategists. Rubio's image is also suffering from the credit card investigation.

The numbers are odd. Rubio now leads among Republicans 54% to 23% after leading Crist 62% to 18% in your March poll. I have a hard time believing Republicans are turning away from Rubio and going to Crist. If Rubio still led 62-18 the race would be tied. At worst Rubio will end up with 70% of the Republican vote. I think it'll be around 80%.

Meek now leads with African-Americans by 6%. He led by 16% in March. African-Americans give Obama a 90% approval rating. Your polls shows Meek increasing his awareness with African-Americans. Unless he cedes the race to Crist I think he'll get at least 60% of the African-American vote. Right now you have him with 39%.

The weirdest part of your poll is that you have Rubio third with Hispanics with only 16% of the vote. He led with 35% of the vote in your last poll. Florida has three Hispanic Republican congressmen. He should be getting 80% of the Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen voters. Hispanics who vote for them are going to vote for him.

I can't stop shaking my head while reading your in-tabs.

NRH said...

I don't know if you noticed, but Republicans aren't doing very well with Hispanic voters these days. The more Rubio claims the Tea Party mantle, the more he tends to alienate that segment of the population. The old die-hard Republican anti-Castro community is fading fast.

For that matter, Republicans turning away from Rubio isn't hard to believe either. Rubio represents the extreme right of the Republican Party and quite a lot of voters aren't as ideologically pure as the Tea Party thinks. They want someone who can be effective more than they want someone who won't compromise no matter the circumstances - for example, Rubio's ongoing support for deregulating offshore oil drilling despite the BP spill. And then there's the frontrunner effect - Crist is in the lead and he's in the news and that too draws more people to vote for him. Rubio is not guaranteed some fixed percentage of the Republican vote, any more than Ned Lamont in Connecticut was guaranteed the vast bulk of the Democratic vote in 2006.

Similarly, Meek has been an uninspiring candidate, and black Floridians are also not bound to vote as a bloc. Given a race between a Republican and a Democrat black voters have a clear and obvious choice. Given two reasonably palatable candidates in Crist and Meek, it's unsurprising to see their vote split.

Alexander Laska said...

It's still terribly early on in the race, but if things continue on the way they're going now, I wouldn't be surprised if the Democrat nominee (whoever it ends up being) dropped out and endorsed Crist. A Democrat just isn't going to win in Florida this year.

DBL said...

You are confusing your opinion with fact. Obama won Latinos 68%-32%. He won Hispanics in Florida 57%-41%. Bush lost Latinos 55%-45% nationally, yet won Hispanics in Florida 56%-44%. This is a state with 3 Hispanic Republicans and 0 Hispanic Democrats. Outside of Florida Hispanic Democrats outnumber Hispanic Republicans 23 to 1.

Florida Hispanics are a different group than other Hispanics. They tend to be more educated, and are Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican. Mexican immigration isn't a big issue. If anything they have a negative view of illegal immigrants because they came her legally.

The idea that Rubio is "extreme right" is silly, based on his voting record in the Florida House. But then I'm told that Paul, Angle, Toomey, Rossi, Fiorina, Johnson, Portman, Boozman, Blunt, and Lee are also extreme right. If the public finds all these candidates extreme right, as you say, we're going to see a Democratic LANDSLIDE in November. If we count Crist as a Democrat that'll be 4 Democratic pick-ups just in this group.

Black Floridians voted for Bill Nelson 91%-8%. They voted Castor in 2004 85%-13%. In 2006 a White Democrat beat Crist 81%-18% among African-Americans.

Black Floridians have always voted as a bloc. There's no way a White Republican is going to do that well, especially after Meek's favorable rating among Blacks goes from 47% to 56%. Crist's Black favorable rating went from 42% to 39%. I can't fathom how Crist could get 18% of the Black vote in 2006 and do better against a Black candidate with 17% favorable differential.

You can provide your opinions of Crist, Rubio, and Meek all day long, but Florida Hispanics and Blacks vote certain ways and what you think of the candidates won't change that.

NRH said...

I think the only way Crist would get strong Democratic backing would be if the race was very tight in late October and Meek/Green was blatantly out of it. Until then, they'd defiantly hang tough - Meek because he's stubborn, Green because he's a vanity candidate anyhow.

Anonymous said...

What the hell is wrong with Floridians??? Charlie Crist? Are you KIDDING me? He'd sell you down the glades to further is own career. GET A CLUE. VOTE RUBIO.

NRH said...

So you acknowledge that from 2004 to 2008, Hispanics in Florida went from being 56-44 Republican to being 68-32 Democratic, a 24-point swing, yet you have trouble believing that Florida Hispanics might continue to shift to the Democratic Party and the remaining Republican Hispanics might split their votes between Crist and Rubio? That's not unbelievable; that's right in line with the trend.

As for black voting patterns, you completely missed the point. In the elections you cited, there were two candidates, one Republican and one Democrat. This year there are two candidates who don't have the (R) of death next to their name, and given the polling it's not at all impossible that a lot of black voters might be deciding they'd rather tactically support Crist over Rubio rather than choose Meek. You might not believe it, but black voters get to make their own decisions too.

As for Republicans who are extremist relative to their states, I'd put Paul, Angle, Buck, Toomey, and Rubio into those categories, easily. All five either defeated more moderate candidates in a primary (Paul and Angle), appear likely to (Buck), or drove more moderate opponents out of the party entirely (Toomey and Rubio). They're on the right wing of the right wing in states that are not themselves hyperconservative (Mike Lee of Utah is certainly far, far to the right nationally, but in Utah he fits in well enough - being to the right of Bob Bennett does not argue for centrism, but Utah is a far-right state).

As for your other listed candidates, they're generally not being lumped in the same group of nuts. Johnson, maybe, with his call for drilling in the Great Lakes. Fiorina and Portman both have personal histories to overcome, of being a business failure and of being a Bush crony respectively, but neither is on the extremes of the Republican Party. Blunt is running as a typical Republican, not taking any massively unusual positions, in a base-vs-base race. And Boozman? There's not even a race there anymore. Blanche Lincoln personally gift-wrapped that seat, and Boozman hardly needs to campaign for a thing.

Anonymous said...

No mystery about Crist's rise in the polls. The perception gained from current polling is that he's going to win. That perception is itself worth 5 points in subsequent polls -- and on election day. There's a self-fulfilling prophecy and/or band wagon effect always at work. Senator Crist can start measuring the drapes. If Lieberman calls himself a Democratic Independent I guess Crist will bean Independent Democrat.

DBL said...

NRH, you need to read the numbers again. Obama did 13 points better than Kerry among Hispanics nationally and in Florida. There was roughly a 10 point difference each time. Florida Democratic candidates tend to do 10 points worse than the national average with Hispanics. There was no big shift, just a uniform one a little above the national shift.

Obama did 5 points better nationally than Kerry did, because Obama was a better candidate. In an average year an average Democrat would expect to beat an average Republican among Florida Hispanics 52 to 46.

Of course this won't be an average year. It's a Republican year. Rubio isn't an average Republican. He's Hispanic. Rubio will win big with Hispanics in Florida. You can bank it.

Black voters always make the same decision. They vote Democratic. Crist got 18% of the vote in 2006 despite being the better candidate and running against a White Democrat. Because Blacks vote the "D". In every case but one, when a White Democrat runs against a Black Democrat the Black Democrat wins. When something happens 99% of the time it's a good bet it'll happen again.

Crist isn't even a White Democrat. Blacks voted against him four years ago and noticed that he was their Republican governor. Now he's calling himself an independent. Blacks don't vote for independents, let alone one they know is really a Republican.

You think that the vote can come out like you want based on your partisan view of the country. I'm sure I'm just as partisan, but when you want to know how other people will vote you have to look at how they've voted in the past. People don't do the same thing again and again and then suddenly change.

Anonymous said...

I really find it interesting that Alex Snitker's campaign has been targeting Tea Party supporters and the conservative vote, but polling (whether his old internals from May or this poll) shows his favorablities are stronger with liberals.

NRH said...

Black voters are not mindlessly concentrated on race the way certain people seem to think. Bill Clinton won the black vote in 1992 despite the presence of Jesse Jackson on the primary ballot. In 2008 and again this year several majority-black districts have nominated non-black candidates despite the presence of black alternatives. Black voters in California did not vote en masse for Gary Coleman. And you still can't seem to find a race where black voters overwhelmingly picked one side despite the presence of at least two non-Republicans or you would have been able to support your position with it. In Connecticut in 2006, for example, with a Republican, a Democrat, and an independent considered not hostile to minorities, Lamont and Lieberman ended up splitting the black vote. When there are two candidates who don't have right-wing racist baggage on them, black voters are just as liable to split as any other group.

As for your belief that Rubio's racial identity will make Hispanics vote for him overwhelmingly, you really don't get it, do you? Putting Sarah Palin on the ticket didn't win John McCain women's votes. Putting Rubio atop the ticket won't win Hispanic votes, particularly at a time when the national trend is so strongly away from the Republicans. Frankly, your position reflects a big part of what's wrong with the Republican Party these days.

Most people don't vote purely based on identity politics, but on whose positions seem most likely to improve their lives. Most minority politicians grow up in a system and an environment that shapes their positions on how to improve the lives of minorities, leading them to develop views that are distinct from those of white politicians who grew up in a different environment. Republicans see this and think "the minorities tend to vote for minorities" instead of understanding "minority candidates are more likely to hold positions that appeal to minorities."

Rubio won't win big among Latinos; he very likely won't win so much as a plurality, and probably will in fact come in third in that demographic. Hispanic Obama voters aren't going to suddenly go to the diametric opposite position, and Crist and Rubio get to split what's left of the Republican Hispanic vote.

Anonymous said...

Your comparison to Rand Paul is rich. You're still pointing back to that one point drop he had from your prior poll as 'voters liking him less when they got to know him more'? I note Rasmussen in that time frame also showed a one point drop from its prior poll. They came out with a new one and he got that point back.

Anonymous said...

Rubio is going to win this thing! When the Democrat Primary is over watch Crist #'s go down and Meek's go up but a split of the Dem vote gives Rubio the win he needs!

Anonymous said...

why is it so hard to believe that Republicans are turning away from nutbag Rubio in favor of the Republican Governor of their state, Crist? People who think otherwise tend to be nutbags like Rubio.

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