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New Poll Shows Rubio Taking Lead Over Crist In Florida's GOP Senate Primary

A new Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday showed that Former State House Speaker Marco Rubio has pulled ahead of Governor Charlie Crist in Florida's Republican U.S. Senate primary race.

The poll, which surveyed 1,618 Florida voters January 20 - 24, showed Rubio leading Crist 47% to 44%. This is a major reversal from when Crist led 55% to 26% in an August 2009 poll.

"Who would have thunk it?" asked Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"A former state lawmaker virtually unknown outside of his South Florida home whose challenge to an exceedingly popular sitting governor for a US Senate nomination had many insiders scratching their heads," he said. "He enters the race 31 points behind and seven months later sneaks into the lead."

Among Republican voters in Florida, 43% believe Rubio is more likely to keep his campaign promises, while 42% believe Crist is more likely. The poll also found that 45% of Republican voters feel Rubio shares their values, while 40% believe Crist does.

Among the general voting public in Florida, Rubio has a 32% favorability rating, with 53% saying they do not know enough about him to form an opinion. He has 53% favorability among Republicans, and only 7% favorability among Democrats. Among independents, he has 34% favorability.

"The horse race numbers are not a fluke," Brown said. "Rubio also tops Crist on a number of other measurements from registered Republicans, who are the only folks who can vote in the primary. Rubio's grassroots campaigning among Republican activists around the state clearly has paid off."

It would appear Rubio also has a good chance at beating the leading Democratic challenger, South Florida Congressman Kendrick Meek. Rubio leads Meet 44% to 35% among Florida voters. Crist also has a good chance to beat Meek, though, leading 48% to 36%.

by RTT Staff Writer

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