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Short Takes: Rubio's Rise (Cont.)

Is Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's (R) hold on the Senate Republican nomination slipping? AP Photo/Phil Coale

A new Quinnipiac poll in the Florida Senate race shows former state House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) narrowing the gap against Gov. Charlie Crist (R), numbers sure to embolden national conservatives who are already casting the primary as a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican party.

Crist, who has served as governor since 2006, led Rubio 50 percent to 35 percent in the Q poll released this morning. That margin is down from the 55 percent to 26 percent margin Crist held over Rubio in August and the 54 percent to 23 percent edge he maintained in June.

Beyond the ballot test, there are other encouraging signs for Rubio in the numbers.

While the former state House Speaker is still largely unknown statewide -- just 35 percent of voters know enough about him to form an opinion -- he is better known and more popular among self-identified Republicans where 44 percent have a favorable impression of him and just three percent have an unfavorable impression.

That means two things. First, Rubio has room to grow in the primary and general as he gets better known to voters, and, second, he already starts off on a very strong foot in the eyes of the voters who will pick the Republican nominee next year.

Crist's numbers -- while still strong -- suggest a strain of unhappiness among GOP voters. Thirty percent of Republicans have an unfavorable view of the governor (63 percent see him in a favorable light), and it is those disaffected voters that Rubio will seek to reach. To win, of course, he must grow his support beyond just those voters looking for an alternative to Crist but it's not a bad foundation on which to build.

These new numbers coupled with Rubio's $1 million fundraising haul over the past three months virtually ensure that this primary will get even more national attention from conservatives -- a development that undoubtedly has the Crist team jittery.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 21, 2009; 10:54 AM ET
Categories:  Short Takes  
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What all you true-blue Republicans screeching "RINP!!" have yet to understand is that outside the diehard 19-percenters, nobody wants what you're selling.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 22, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"driving off all intelligent thought."

And yet you remain.

Posted by: nodebris | October 22, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Aww, c'mon snowball. Surely you can spare a neuron or two to give me and margaret nasty nicknames. Heck, putting Blade in my nickname is a pure gift.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 21, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Cc. The pig out wacky liberal traffic of yesterday has dried up and you are left with the dwindling ranks of the truly batty. Spiraling down with drivl and Loud and Dumb driving off all intelligent thought.

Soldier on. Krazy Keith will be in line behind you at the unemployment office.

Posted by: snowbama | October 21, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Rubio is enough reason for a Democrat to change affiliation. If we have to have a Republican Senator which I suspect will be the case, at least it should be a man of common decency. Crist is such a man.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 21, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Christ (I've only been a Floridian for 4 years) seems like an empty suit (IMHO).. we had one in WV, that was very similar (Gaston Caperton).. just a rich, decent looking, questionably hetero. type c/w cover girl wife.. I would vote for Rubio.. and I'm an old, white prod wingnut.

Posted by: newbeeboy | October 21, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Once the inevitable candidate loses his or her mantle of inevitability, things can go south in a hurry. Just ask Hillary. Or Christie.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 21, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, herring1. It's hilarious to watch "true" Republicans flee from an act that epitomizes their philosophy and had near unanimous Republican support. The mental gymnastics involved are frightening to contemplate.

Posted by: nodebris | October 21, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse


I agree with you. My question was to bubbette, who wants to get rid of the Repubs who voted for Glass Steagall- BUT it seems to me that Glass Steagall was a quintessential Republican bill, personifying everything the party SAYS it stands for. Limited gov't regs, freedom for business.

and then of course, economic collapse and gazillions of public bucks for bailout. Perfect. If you are a Republican. Not a RINO. A real one.

Posted by: herring1 | October 21, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

They'll be on fire while they're floating on their boats, koolkat.

Posted by: drindl | October 21, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"As a Floridian I'll tell you why Crist will lose-because he's the true definition of a RINO. If you want a Democrat vote for one but give me the chance to vote for someone who upholds the beliefs of my party and Crist does not. Sorry Charlie."

More talk like that and you'll be in a very small party. You don't hear even liberal Democrats talk like that; they understand that a national party has to have room for varying views.

You wingnuts obviously would rather go down in flames. Whatever floats your boat.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 21, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

As a Floridian I'll tell you why Crist will lose-because he's the true definition of a RINO. If you want a Democrat vote for one but give me the chance to vote for someone who upholds the beliefs of my party and Crist does not. Sorry Charlie.

Posted by: cathyjs | October 21, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty classic behavior, when an organization collapses, to look for internal traitors and saboteurs. Most people will do anything else before they admit that their ideas and conduct were tragically wrong. The Germans after WWI were "betrayed by the Jews," Vietnam was lost by Jane Fonda and Hollywood liberals, etc., etc., etc. We weren't defeated, we were betrayed! It's a cliche.

Posted by: nodebris | October 21, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I agree, nodebris. They want to get rid of everyone but the unelectable nuts. Here's a fine example of the Great Split that is coming:

This weekend, David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, was confronted by conservative activist and filmmaker John Ziegler over his criticisms of Sarah Palin. Earlier this year, Keene had said Palin spent too much time “whining” about the national media’s criticisms of her, was too “resentful” of the McCain camp, and appeared to be “bitter.”

Keene’s opinions about Palin were simply too much for Ziegler, who is a stalwart Palin fanatic and has previously said that any conservative who criticizes her should be “ostracized and punished.” This weekend, Ziegler tried to live up to his word by unleashing his anger at Keene.

Ziegler attended the Western Conservative Political Action Conference in California this weekend, where he sat down for a scheduled interview with Keene. Ziegler began by telling Keene that his criticisms of Palin “sound like Keith Olbermann.” Keene stood by his views, arguing that Palin’s decision to quit as governor has shown she cannot “handle leadership and responsibility.”

The interview grew heated as Ziegler began lobbing personal attacks at Keene, facetiously suggesting he was “being paid” to issue critical statements of Palin. (Ziegler was referencing the fact that Keene’s organization was revealed to have asked FedEx for a $2-3 million check in return for helping the shipping company in a legislative fight.) “So your influence is either for sale or by lobbying,” Ziegler said. Upset over the direction the interview had taken, Keene got up and walked away, which led to a public showdown at the conference:

KEENE: You are a liar! … [grabbing the microphone] I said this is over! You got it? Over! … Get out of my face! … I’m not going to hit you, but I’d like to. … I’m not answering anything to you because you’re a jerk. … You’re a sc*mbag. … You’re an as*hole. Got that on the air? As*hole."

I love watching when As*holes Collide.

Posted by: drindl | October 21, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

"If you want a list of who should leave the party go back and look at the list of Republicans that signed on to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999"

From Wikipedia:

The bill that ultimately repealed the Act was introduced in the Senate by Phil Gramm (Republican of Texas) and in the House of Representatives by Jim Leach (R-Iowa) in 1999. The bills were passed by a Republican majority, basically following party lines by a 54-44 vote in the Senate and by a bi-partisian 343-86 vote in the House of Representatives.

Sooooo, basically all Senate Republicans and most Congressional Republicans should leave the party to purify it? OK. Sounds good to me.

Posted by: nodebris | October 21, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"But my original question stands- you are Republican- how can you object to Republicans getting rid of Glass Steagall and freeing the banks to do more business with less interference from gov't regulators? "

Mindless tripe. It was this very thing that was the root of the financial meltdown. Gvoernment regulation is the ONLY thing that keeps the financial industry from screwing us even more than they already do.

Posted by: drindl | October 21, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Somebody should ask Marc Rubio the details of his 'pro-life" beliefs. I have long been curious about how a law prohibiting or limiting abortion would be enforced, especially with the 1000s of abortifacients available, many of which date back to prehistory. Would the government have agents that included obstetricians? Gynecologists? Would the agents have the repsonsibility of arrresting and bringing in women suspected of using, say the RU 486, for investigation? where would this take place? At a hospital, or a police station specially equipped? Would Mr. Rubio let these agents take away his teen-aged daughter for investigation, if she were a suspect in an abortion crime?

I've never once heard any of these questions answered by any of these folks like Rubio who say the are "pro-life" - and "small gov't" ???? What more power could you give gov't than what they are talking about? they are not conservatives, if they want these things. They simply want a powerful government that will enforce their beliefs on others, and refuse to enforce laws and regulations that get in the way of the profits of their masters and themselves. We've already experienced a measure of this, thanks.

Pro-life is just a smoke screen, trying to grab support from the most gullible voting demographic. But it is a serious tell.

Posted by: herring1 | October 21, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse


I read your comment carefully, and found it of real interest. The Republicans who supported the Glass- Steagall Act were acting in the best traditional values of the Republican Party- repealing a Democrat created regulation on private industry. I DO NOT understand how you can find fault with Republicans who act to limit government power in this way- this is what they have campaigned on since Goldwater, what Reagan won on.... So what is it? Respectfully, what you've said here seems like an emblem of why the Republican Party is so utterly lost. They pretend to believe in small governmnet, but only when a
"starved" government benefits the Giant Business that is their only true master. when it comes to individual liberty, they are quite prepared to have a huge bureaucracy violating civil rights of citizens ("Patriot Act"). They pretend to honor liberty but want the government to have the power to physically investigate women's bodies to enforce laws against abortion.

They pretend to be fiscally conservative, but never protest wars of choice that cost a $1 billion in taxpayer money a day, or surreal levels of subsidies to BIG agriculture and energy companies that make a total mockery of every aspect of the Free Market.

I don't understand any of this. How can a party be so completely hypocritical, so corrupt, so completely bankrupt of ideas, and expect to compete (not that there's much to compete with- I think most of the Dems are repulsive, thoughtless socialists).

But my original question stands- you are Republican- how can you object to Republicans getting rid of Glass Steagall and freeing the banks to do more business with less interference from gov't regulators? Could it be that you actually do believe that the citizens, and the economy that they create, need some level of government protection from rapacious corporate greed? How does that jibe with being a Republican?

And please, let's don't bring Ms. Palin into it.

Posted by: herring1 | October 21, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The identity of the GOP is up for election and if they go one direction (Rubio and the hardline GOP) then expect a third party to form targeting the middle of the electorate. If they go the Crist direction then expect a splinter of the extreme right to a libertarian like candidate in 2012. Either way I think Obama is looking good for a second term. Thank you Micheal Steele.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 21, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

If the Republicans do not figure out that they need to return to their core values of small government and fiscal responsibility they will continue to lose voters to the Independent party. They need to lose the Rhino's and democrat posers. McCain, Snow, Collins and their ilk need to go. Let them join up with the Spendocrats.

If you want a list of who should leave the party go back and look at the list of Republicans that signed on to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 that allowed the merger of the savings banks and investment banks to the monsters that are now deemed "too big to fail". Anyone that signed on to that needs to go.

Hopefully the Republican Party will find its way back to the small government, fiscally responsible roots. If not they can expect to lose seats as the votes are split with the Independents.

Will Palin's new political action group be the rallying point for a make-over of the party?

Posted by: Bubbette1 | October 21, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse


You wrote: '...numbers sure to embolden national conservatives who are already casting the primary as a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican party'.

While I've usually favoured the underdog (hence my strong liking for Sestak in the PA race), IF, as you say, the conservatives 'win' the fight, they will find it a Pyrrhic victory.

The race may inevitably tighten, but I've read some of Rubio's speeches. He makes Bob McDonnell's infamous thesis sound like Das Kapital!

Of course, from a journalistic viewpoint, your article and everything you wrote in it makes perfect sense (other than the word 'jittery'; I think 'concerned' might have been less breathless).

Politically, however, if the extreme Right wing gets their wish, the 'heart' of the Republican party will be in need of an immediate transplant.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | October 21, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

margaret: Unlike the situation post-'64, though, the GOP has at least three serious problems.

1. They can't use the Southern Strategy again. Been there, done that. That well is dry.

2. They don't have anyone remotely like Ronald Reagan to lead a GOP resurgence.

3. The US population looks very different now -- it's much browner and yellower. Rather that reach out to these voters, the GOP has done much to alienate them.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 21, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"to embolden national conservatives who are already casting the primary as a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican party."

I notice that nobody's fighting for the *mind* of the Republican party. I guess the prize is too small to bother.

Posted by: nodebris | October 21, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. With the Q poll margin of error at 4.9%, the numbers suggest that Crist's support isn't going down. It's just that Rubio, as he becomes better known to Floridian Rs, has been gaining support from the undecideds. However, he will still have to pull votes away from Crist in order to win the primary.

Posted by: mnteng | October 21, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama is at war with fox news for having positions contrary to theirs.

The wh has positions?

I wonder if they will ever lead to a single decision.

More mush from the wimp

Posted by: snowbama | October 21, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Ceflynline, I often think of Goldwater in 1964. The GOP rejected the moderate Republicanism Ike. They convinced themselves that was why they had lost to Kennedy. I can only imagine this similar purging of the GOP will lead to similar landslides. Americans have just had the beejeebers scared out of them by the GOP, they aren't interested in less government.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 21, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

" he already starts off on a very strong foot in the eyes of the voters"

Just two fingers in the eyes would be about as effective, unless he is Taekwando trained.

Still, that the Republican Right, where that term ISN'T redundant, is willing to take on the Republican establishment is great news for the Dems. Now the delicate balance of just how negative to go and still try to claim that Rubio's men haven't broken the eleventh commandment. On the other end of the seesaw sit Christ with his mainline supporters, wondering if there are any soothing words that will keep Rubio's men in the fold should Crist prevail, or are they so far gone that fulmnitions and recriminations to keep his hold on the nomination won't cost him in the general election.

Good news brother asses, the Elephants are in musth and their memories are wiped. daggers and dirks are the item of the moment.

A bit of patience and they will air the kind of commercials we could only hope to use. Can we get the word out nationwide for the entertainment of all?

Posted by: ceflynline | October 21, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

The primary must still be months away. How in the world can the candidates hope to stand up to another full year of electioneering? How do we expect the public to stand up to another full year of electioneering? And doesn't this become a huge toilet down which an ocean of money gets flushed?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 21, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

What this is really about is the R party undergoing Stalinist-type purges to ensure ideological purity, which will further shrink the party as independents, moderates and swing voters turn away from rightwing extremism and toward Democratic pragmatism.

Posted by: drindl | October 21, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

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