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Should Charlie Crist run as an independent in Florida's Senate race?



Could Florida Gov. Charlie Crist run as an independent for Senate this fall? AP Photo by Chris O'Meara

A new poll conducted in Florida's Senate race suggests that Gov. Charlie Crist's (R) best path to victory would be to run as an independent for office this fall.

The survey, which was conducted by Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio for a group not involved in the Senate contest, showed former state House Speaker Marco Rubio leading Crist 44 percent to 30 percent in the primary race.

Rubio's lead was thanks to his strong support from self-identified "conservative" voters who comprised roughly two-thirds of the primary sample and went for Rubio by a 52 percent to 27 percent margin. Crist led among moderate voters by a 43 percent to 35 percent margin.

The Fabrizio data is slightly more rosy for Rubio than the last independent poll released in the race, which showed Rubio leading 47 percent to 44 percent.

(Crist allies note that while Fabrizio isn't working for either side in the race, he did describe Crist as "Barack Obama's favorite Republican" during the 2009 CPAC convention.)

Given Crist's standing in the primary, Fabrizio also tested him running as an independent, which he is still legally able to do, in the fall.

In a three-way race among Rubio, the Republican, Rep. Kendrick Meek, the Democrat, and Crist running as an independent, Rubio takes 31 percent to 26 percent for Crist and 24 percent for Meek. Crist wins roughly one-quarter of the votes of both self-identified Democrats and Republicans, and takes 41 percent among independents.

"Any minor improvement for Crist within the GOP or with Democrats coupled with a maximization of his support among independents could easily put him in the lead in a three-way Senate contest," writes Fabrizio.

Crist's camp insisted that the idea of an independent bid is not something they are even considering. Crist communications director Andrea Saul said of the poll: "This campaign
will go through a lot of different stages, and we are at a stage now where it's very important for voters to learn more about Speaker Rubio's record."

Fabrizio's poll highlights the need for Crist to raise questions about the conservative hero image that Rubio has built around him in recent months. Among Republican primary voters who had an opinion of both candidates, Rubio is leading 68 percent to 18 percent.

The poll wasn't all bad news for Crist, however. Despite his primary struggles, the Governor remains the strongest general election candidate -- in a two-way race -- against Meek.

Crist led Meek 47 percent to 29 percent while Rubio held a slimmer 42 percent to 30 percent edge over the likely Democratic nominee. Interestingly, in a two-way contest against Meek, Crist's support from Republicans (69 percent) is not so different than Rubio's (75 percent).

The Fabrizio numbers suggest that Crist's road to the Republican nomination is slim. Given that -- and Crist's demonstrated desire to move up the political chain -- it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that if nothing changes in the near future that he might entertain an independent bid.

Running counter to that, however, is Crist's interest in national office -- an interest that would almost certainly be foreclosed if he ran (win or lose) a third party bid for office in the fall.

Ah the intrigue!

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 1, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

Crist has more dignity than Lieberman and I just don't see him running as an I. He would be most welcome to change parties and I would urge Sen Specter to be in charge of going down to Fla and persuading Gov Crist that he would be more respected by the Democratic party if his party should reject him in the upcoming primary .

Posted by: leichtman | February 2, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Crist's rejection of additional critical care earthquake survivors from Haiti being treated at Florida hospitals likely won him approval from conservatives.

Posted by: query0 | February 2, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I'll tell ya something folks: I would vote for Crist. I'd vote for him against many Democrats. Not because he is so liberal, but because he has been a good governor in Florida. It's really a shame that so many in the GOP hate liberalism so much that they would canibalize one of their best candidates for being a little bit moderate.

Posted by: elijah24 | February 2, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Chris has asked everyone here to ignore you - please stop your childish harassing of other posters.

==

Cillizza coddles racists and trolls like you.

You can't possibly have a job what withas much time as you spend trolling. Who pays the bills, SSI? Mom? Welfare?

Posted by: Noacoler | February 1, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

The two Parties have given us the primary system.Many things are concidered by using this process,but their ultiment goal is to have one party or the other to win,by eliminating other candidates except their own..
An outright one time election would serve the People better,with the highest vote getter winning it all!
Did you know that in 1824 four People ran for President and 6 ran for Vice President?
Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay ran for Both Positions at the Same time!There were no Primaries,and the winners of Both Positions,had the most electoral votes!

Posted by: sdavis4 | February 1, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse


Tom Brokaw wrote in his book "The Greatest Generation" referring to a couple of hard working scientist that cared for all Americans and peoples world wide."They were interested in the human condition--they weren't out for themselves" I believe this is what we must measure all of our politicians by....."are they Humanist"? President Obama is a Humanist.He will be considered one the Greatest of this Generation. Crist show Humanist tendancies and the GOP bailes on him. A good Democrat he would be.

Posted by: Americacares | February 1, 2010 7:06 PM


Hey buddy, are you worried about your brain cell(s)? They must be awfully lonely.

Posted by: SuzyCcup | February 1, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Funny how the media jumped to report O'Keefe's arrest - and claimed he was involved in a wire-tapping operation


BUT THEY HAD NO WIRE-TAPPING EQUIPMENT !

Funny how all the major papers would not report on the ACORN stories - a group that receives federal funds - but they jump at the other story.


What gives?


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | February 1, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse


Noacoler


Chris has asked everyone here to ignore you - please stop your childish harassing of other posters.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | February 1, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey 37th.

GET A JOB!!

Posted by: Noacoler | February 1, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

jameschirico


Obama made the commitment to the American people to be bipartisan.


Bipartisanship means (and for the life of me I don't know why I have to define it) that Obama will sit down with the Republicans and negotiate COMPROMISE POLICIES.

THAT WAS A COMMITMENT MADE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, NOT TO THE REPUBLICANS.

This obliged Obama to support CENTRIST POLICIES.

The PARTISAN REMARKS which Obama has been making does NOTHING toward this end - in fact it goes backwards.

REMEMBER OBAMA WAS THE ONE WHO SAID HE WAS GOING TO BRING EVERYONE TOGETHER -


This is an extremely strange way to cooperate with the other side.

Yes, it is grandstanding, AND Obama was in front of the cameras.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | February 1, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Liberal leaning newspapers in Florida like the Miami Herald have been very critical of Charlie Crist - a moderate Republican and enthusiastic over Rubio - a far right-winger. They hope if Rubio wins the GOP primary the Democratic candidate will be a shoo in.

The crazy ex-governor, Jeb Bush, is openly supporting Rubio over Crist. This is a contest to determine the future of the Republican Party. A vote for Rubio will mean one less Republican in the US Senate. Without moderates the GOP will lose.

This nonsense of ideological purity will kill Republican chances this fall nationwide. You think they would have learned why Brown stole Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts. He is a moderate and not an ideologue like Rubio.

Posted by: alance | February 1, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe that Obama was talking tough to the Republicans today -


Obama said "If they are going to do alot of grandstanding while the television camera are rolling, I am going to reject it"


WELL, AT THAT MOMENT, WASN'T IT OBAMA DOING THE GRANSTANDING IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION CAMERAS ???


HOW MUCH OF A HYPOCRITE CAN THE GUY BE ???


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | February 1, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

jamesjericho: you're trying to reason with a 'bot

if posting here required entering f umbers from a graphic there would be no 37th

Posted by: Noacoler | February 1, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

37thand0street: That was not grandstanding, that was a threat to take them to the woodshed again if they remain the party of no cooperation. Is there some part of Plouffe becoming part of his team you missed?

Posted by: jameschirico | February 1, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

With Crist running as an independent unlike another poster I think Meek would know middle road Dems, GOPers and many independents would vote for Crist, leaving him no chance and would drop out giving Crist the win. He does not those same people angry at Crist being forced out would go for Meek, which happened in NY23. Time will tell.

Posted by: jameschirico | February 1, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Have a bit of family in FL and most know nothing of Rubio, nor Meeks, whereas Crist is a household word. I trust this poll about as much as I would one from Palin at a Tea Party.

Posted by: jameschirico | February 1, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Chris


If those numbers in your piece are correct, the poll with Crist as an Independent have Rubio and Crist combined at 57 % Is that right?

To the democrat Meek at 24%? Is that right?


Do the two-way numbers confirm those numbers?


Something isn't right

/

Posted by: 37thand0street | February 1, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Tom Brokaw wrote in his book "The Greatest Generation" referring to a couple of hard working scientist that cared for all Americans and peoples world wide."They were interested in the human condition--they weren't out for themselves" I believe this is what we must measure all of our politicians by....."are they Humanist"? President Obama is a Humanist.He will be considered one the Greatest of this Generation. Crist show Humanist tendancies and the GOP bailes on him. A good Democrat he would be.

Posted by: Americacares | February 1, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Crist is not going to switch parties or run as an independent. That is just wishful thinking by WaPo hacks.

Posted by: screwjob2 | February 1, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe that Obama was talking tough to the Republicans today -


Obama said "If they are going to do alot of grandstanding while the television camera are rolling, I am going to reject it"


WELL, AT THAT MOMENT, WASN'T IT OBAMA DOING THE GRANSTANDING IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION CAMERAS ???


HOW MUCH OF A HYPOCRITE CAN THE GUY BE ???


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | February 1, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

What if Crist crosses over and runs as a Democrat?
why would one want to stay in a Party that canibalizes its own?
Does one have to be an Ultra Right Winger to represent the Republican Party.
This is exactly what the President was saying when he met with the Hose Republicans last Friday.
The Republican Party is shooting themselves in the foot by marginalizing middle of the road Republicans.

Posted by: Carprin | February 1, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

And the disintegration of the GOP continues. Go Charlie! Leave the GOP to the teabaggers. And while you're at it, pass the popcorn!

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | February 1, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

For more on-the-ground coverage of Crist vs. Rubio, please visit http://bit.ly/l6KKw

Posted by: saintpetersblog | February 1, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

For more on-the-ground coverage of Crist vs. Rubio, please visit http://bit.ly/l6KKw

Posted by: saintpetersblog | February 1, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Crist was stupid to try and distance himself from Obama just to prove himself a true Republican. He can go indie and beat back the Republican ignorance coming his way.

Posted by: ATLGuy

----
Crist had to because he has stated "it is easy for someone sitting in a cheap seat to be against something" when you are in a position to govern and that means making decisions that may be unpopular with certain quarters (IMO, he misread the economy, period).

Posted by: beeker25 | February 1, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Jim Greer made comment on the fact that in the end Crist and Rubio will have to work together in the general election after all there can be only one winner in the primary.

Posted by: beeker25 | February 1, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Crist can run as an Independent however he will merely be Republican in name only Independent.

DDAWD: Florida is a closed primary state which only those registered in either parties can vote in the primary.

cathyjs: It is apparent that the Republicans in both the governor's office and the Legislature made a mess of the state to begin with.

Posted by: beeker25 | February 1, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Going indie worked for Lieberman. Crist was stupid to try and distance himself from Obama just to prove himself a true Republican. He can go indie and beat back the Republican ignorance coming his way.

Posted by: ATLGuy | February 1, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Rogue, I feel that if Crist ran as an Independent he woud draw off a significant Democratis vote. Meek just isn't senate material -- it might be that he isn't yet, or it might be that he never will be.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 1, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

interesting that Crist does best among indie voters...pulling 41 percent of Indie voters, and 1/4 each of Dem and Repub voters... maybe more indie candidates should enter the mix. I think that the US senate, especially, but also the House, would be a much better place if 15 to 20 percent of its members were independents, and not sitting with either caucus. maybe a larger number of indie reps in congress and senate would help to get both parties off their partisan rocks, and hopefully encourage better government and better results..

Posted by: RoguesPalace | February 1, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

ceflynline writes
"Big undecided blocks of voters who won't decide HAVE decided, they don't like one side or the other and don't want to say so. T-baggers are never reluctant to give their position, so the undecideds want to see what Crist does. When that is lose, or veer hard right, they will break for Meek. In that case, Meek's 30% against Rubio, plus that 19% about seals the deal."


Bold.

This will be interesting to watch.

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | February 1, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

This isn't a campaign where having a conservative and a moderate Republican running would leave room for a Democrat to win, especially with a candidate as weak as Kendrick Meek.

Was their really no one else on the Democrat's bench? If his mother hadn't been a congresswoman, Meek would still be a statie back in Florida. Probably a good state trooper, too. Instead he has been an almost invisible congressman.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 1, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I live in FL and I can tell you that Crist has been an "ok" governor but not the greatest... His stance with Obama did not help him any either down here. The GOP sees him as too liberal and the liberals see him as far too conservative. The total collapse of the real estate market has hurt him deeply as well.

If he runs as an "I" he actually hands the election over to the democratic party.

Posted by: tbastian | February 1, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Now let's see how dirty the primary gets, and whether that gives it to Meek.

Posted by: drindl | February 1, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"If you want to lose an election, the formula is simple; invite Obama to campaign for you."

The Palin endorsement works very well too.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | February 1, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse


I can't believe that Obama was talking tough to the Republicans today -


Obama said "If they are going to do alot of grandstanding while the television camera are rolling, I am going to reject it"

WELL, AT THAT MOMENT, WASN'T IT OBAMA DOING THE GRANSTANDING IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION CAMERAS ???


HOW MUCH OF A HYPOCRITE CAN THE GUY BE ???

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | February 1, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"Nice to see you back, ceflynline nolite te bastardes carborundum Posted by: Noacoler"

Its probably temporary, JakeD and company haven't showed up yet, that's all.

==

JakeD is furiously jerking out Palin president fantasies again over in the Poizner thread.

Posted by: Noacoler | February 1, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"Should Charlie Crist run as an independent in Florida's Senate race?"

If there are large donors who would bankroll a third party ad campaign for him [after "Citizens United"], sure, why not? If he has to spend his own money to do it, no.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 1, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"You are making a whole bunch of assertions, half of which I don't agree with. And I have to sit here and listen to them."


- Quote from Obama at a meeting in which Obama was attempting to demonstrate how bipartisan he is.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | February 1, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm more of a traditionalist - if you have two Republicans in the race, they are going to split the vote and hand the election to the democrat.



You can put the Lieberman example aside.

I believe this is basically a spite thing - if Rubio is going to go after Crist, then Crist can ruin it for Rubio - you never know what is going on behind the scenes - and who is being really nasty to who.


It is the nuclear option in a party.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | February 1, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh! and AUH2O's line was Illigitimi non carborundum.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 1, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"Nice to see you back, ceflynline nolite te bastardes carborundum Posted by: Noacoler"

Its probably temporary, JakeD and company haven't showed up yet, that's all.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 1, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

mts2, you must be new here. CC would boil his own feet in frying oil before he'd write anything positive about Democrats

Posted by: Noacoler | February 1, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see you back, ceflynline

nolite te bastardes carborundum

Posted by: Noacoler | February 1, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Chris--

You haven't mentioned the other option. Crist could run as a Democrat. He would have a better chance against Meek in the Democratic primary than against Rubio in the Republican primary.

Posted by: mts2 | February 1, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

By the way, watch that 19% block closely. If it doesn't steadily decrease, or increases, watch for the whole block to break one way, (and if 1948 is any indication, that will break Democratic.) Big undecided blocks of voters who won't decide HAVE decided, they don't like one side or the other and don't want to say so. T-baggers are never reluctant to give their position, so the undecideds want to see what Crist does. When that is lose, or veer hard right, they will break for Meek. In that case, Meek's 30% against Rubio, plus that 19% about seals the deal.

Meek needs to campaign against the Do Nothin's, and make both Crist and Rubio affiliate with the Donothibn' Party.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 1, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

This is like 3 card monte.

First, Rubio is the darling of the Independents, Tea Party.

Second, Rubio runs as Republican.

Third, Crist runs as Independent.
---------------------
You can't make this stuff up.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | February 1, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

TO: DDAWD who wrote:
“Can Crist do what Lieberman did? Wait until he loses the primary to switch? Or is it like Pennsylvania where he has to make the switch beforehand?”
_____________

Cute. If Crist looses, which it looks like he will, why bother to run again?

I just read a comment from a lady who said she actually lives in Florida and she says Crist didn’t do his job, and that’s gotta be tough for a Republican, because most Republican voters don’t want their politicians to do anything anyway so to lose for not doing anything has got to be tough for a GOPer.

Posted by: lindalovejones | February 1, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

How do you design a poll that accurately reflects the response of the 19% undecided, plus whatever portion of Crists support that decides it can't stomach Rubio?

ANY poll with an undecided block that is a fifth of the electorate can't possibly mean very much.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 1, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

ah the politics of hate and fear. how dare crist try to look out for the senior citizens, unemployed and victims of the collapse of the housing bubble. he should focus on upper income retirees, cowardly cubans who want to invade their ancestors island (without even serving in the us armed forces) and the north florida klan members.

Posted by: george32 | February 1, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Meeks has spent the last 6 months stockpiling money and I think he should start spending it now and start talking to voters about his ideas and introducing himself to the public. Then when Crist and Rubio start attacking each other relentlessly (which they will) Meeks can look like the only sane guy out there. Then even if Crist turns an about face and runs as an Indie than Meeks will be on pretty solid ground already.

Meeks though is most definitly hoping for a Rubio victory, since it will give him a chance to scoop in and take the mantle of the moderate in the race.

Posted by: AndyR3 | February 1, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Meeks has spent the last 6 months stockpiling money and I think he should start spending it now and start talking to voters about his ideas and introducing himself to the public. Then when Crist and Rubio start attacking each other relentlessly (which they will) Meeks can look like the only sane guy out there. Then even if Crist turns an about face and runs as an Indie than Meeks will be on pretty solid ground already.

Meeks though is most definitly hoping for a Rubio victory, since it will give him a chance to scoop in and take the mantle of the moderate in the race.

Posted by: AndyR3 | February 1, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Just wait till Wasilla Barbie gives Rube-io her kiss of death endorsement

Posted by: Noacoler | February 1, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

All it took was that photo of him hugging berry to complete his eventual demise.

If you want to lose an election, the formula is simple; invite Obama to campaign for you.

Posted by: drivl | February 1, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

A a voting Florida resident the reason is clear why Crist will not win, he is a RINO. He has failed to follow the wishes his constituency and in fact has done little for our stae.

But hey, maybe he can become a Democrat and win the race. I'd give that equal chances with having a blizzard in the next hour.

Posted by: cathyjs | February 1, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Meek looks to have serious problems with a ceiling of 30%. Given that Crist would caucus with the Republicans under any circumstance, this is a moderate vs right race.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 1, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"And this with fully 19% undecided - in other words, a wide open race. Given Meek's fairly consistently low numbers in all the polls, I have to wonder if he's suffering a name-recognition deficit at this point in the race."

Good point, bsimon. Meek has been completely crowded out of the headlines. This race is not even at the starting line yet.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | February 1, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"In a three-way race ... Rubio takes 31 percent to 26 percent for Crist and 24 percent for Meek."

And this with fully 19% undecided - in other words, a wide open race. Given Meek's fairly consistently low numbers in all the polls, I have to wonder if he's suffering a name-recognition deficit at this point in the race.

Posted by: bsimon1 | February 1, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Can Crist do what Lieberman did? Wait until he loses the primary to switch? Or is it like Pennsylvania where he has to make the switch beforehand?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 1, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

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