Go! Go! Ru-bi-o!

Don't freak, everyone--I haven't changed sides. I'm just rethinking my earlier position on the Crist-Rubio race. Back when I wrote that, Rubio hadn't opened up a lead on Crist, and I underestimated just how much the teabaggers had taken over the Florida Republican party, and how well Rubio would be able to make himself palatable to Republicans as a whole.

So what's the current situation? Rubio's winning now, but in a head to head with Kendrick Meek, it's close, 44-39, and with more Democrats undecided than Republicans, PPP says it's probably closer than that. Independents are breaking Meek's way for now, but it's way early.

So how have I changed? Well, back then I was rooting for Crist in the primary in part because I thought that if Crist won the primary, Rubio might run as a third party to his right and siphon off enough votes for Meek to win. But it looks now like if Crist runs as an independent, it helps Rubio.

In a hypothetical three way contest Rubio leads with 34% to 27% for Crist and 25% for Kendrick Meek.

Crist gets 32% of the Democratic vote but only 18% of Republicans running as an independent. He also leads among independents with 35% to 24% for Rubio and 22% for Crist.

Crist's overall approval rating now is a 35/51 spread. He's most popular with Democrats at a 45% approval rating followed by independents at 29% and Republicans at 28%.
I knew Crist had been cratering, but I had no idea just how large a crater we were talking about. This is extinction of the dinosaurs quality. Crist could conceivably pull it out, but it seems less likely every day, so now I'm left hoping that Crist does everything he can to drag Rubio down with him, leaving Meek unscathed and looking like the only decent one in the bunch (which he is).

But the polls right now are pretty clear. Meek has a shot against Rubio, if he can shore up his base, get us excited, and hold the independents. That's a lot to do, but it's possible. It would be great to see that seat go back to the Democrats, when the rest of the country is looking shaky.

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