Thursday, August 26, 2010

Charlie Crist's Big Dilemma

Charlie Crist led most polls from the time he left the Republican race for Senate until now because he was winning the Democratic vote. Now that Democrats in the state have gotten to know and like Kendrick Meek better some of Crist's support there has evaporated and as a result Marco Rubio is back in the lead. So what does Crist do now?

One thing Crist could do is flat out say he's going to caucus with the Democrats. Our poll last weekend found 66% of Kendrick Meek's voters said they would support Crist instead if he committed to siding with the Dems. 9% of Meek's voters said they wouldn't vote for Crist if he did that and 25% weren't sure.

There are perils for Crist in doing that too though. Only 63% of those currently supporting him say they would still do so if he said he would go with the Democrats while 20% say they explicitly would not vote for him if he did that and 17% aren't sure. Most of his remaining Republican support would dry up and he'd lose a fair number of independents as well.

Crist polled at 32% on this survey. 37% say they'd vote for him if he caucuses with the Democrats while 47% explicitly say they would not. Out of that 47% about 44% are Rubio people (Rubio's current supporters plus Republicans for Crist who say they wouldn't be if he went with the Dems) and 3% are Meek people. So you'd basically have a 44-37-3 race at that point with Crist needing to win somewhere in the neighborhood of 75% of the undecideds. It is a Democratic leaning group of voters, mostly folks currently supporting Meek or already supporting Crist but unsure if they would continue to do so if he committed to being a Democratic vote.

It is not impossible that Crist would get 75% of those people but it is unlikely. Nevertheless with his path to victory looking tougher and tougher promising to caucus with the Democrats is probably something he at least has to consider doing to reignite his campaign. It might not work- but it also might be his only chance.


Anonymous said...

I don't know why you keep on forgeting that the way Rubio went from 29 to 40 is because he's consolidating the GOP vote the more Crist moves left, this Meek/Crist is only to explain the few points in decline in Crist's percentage.

Rasmus said...

Well, but if Meek hits 3% in the polls he's gonna drop out and endorse Crist. Then we're looking at a 44-40 race where Crist needs to pick up 63% of undecided voters, which looks more doable. Especially considering that most of them would have been Crist supporters in August, so it should be possible to get them back somehow.

DBL said...

Is there any way out of this for Charlie? Saying he'll caucus with either party is going to lose him moderates in the other party that he can't afford to lose. Saying he'll "caucus with the people" won't continue to work on election day. If people don't know where he'll caucus they'll be hesitant to vote for him. He could say he'll caucus with neither party, but that would mean he'd get the worse committee assignments.

wt said...

No, he has to keep going the whole race without picking a side to caucus with, or he has no chance.

Greene winning was the only way for Crist; now it's Rubio's race barring a sudden surprise.

Anonymous said...

This was such a good development in the Sunshine state. Rubio is an emerging star in the GOP and is badly needed in Washington. Charlie Crist is Arlen Specter II. A politician that will do what is politically convenient and the last thing we need in Washington.

But you knew that once the party primaries were held that any hold-outs for Crist would jump ship and consolidate around the official party candidates. And given this political climate that can only benefit Marco Rubio.

Zornorph said...

I'm in FL - I think Crist is in real trouble. Meek will always get some support; he won't totally bottom out. Rubio isn't like Sharon Angle or Ron Paul - he just isn't going to put that many people off. I believe that Meek will get at least 15% no matter what; that means that 43% is all Rubio needs for the win. I think that's quite easy for him, especially in a year like this.

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