A new Mason-Dixon poll out today shows Marco Rubio’s not done with Charlie Crist yet in Florida. The poll shows Crist is just 11 points behind Rubio in the Florida GOP Senate primary, a margin that suggests the race has tightened after blowing open in Rubio’s favor in recent weeks.
Rubio leads Crist by a margin of 48-37 in the Mason Dixon poll, significantly closer than past polls which have shown Rubio ahead by more than 30 points.
The TPM Poll Average for the race, including the new Mason-Dixon numbers, shows Rubio ahead of Crist by a margin of 57.4-29.1.The Mason-Dixon poll comes as a perfect preview for this weekend, when Crist and Rubio will meet in their first debate of the campaign on Fox News Sunday. Political nerds have been looking forward to this debate for weeks, and a poll suggesting Rubio may have peaked puts extra pressure on the candidates to crank it up to 11 in front of the national audience.
For his part, Crist said the poll showed that his attacks on Rubio — namely, that Rubio’s not the conservative he claims to be — are working.
“[V]oters are just beginning to see the real Marco Rubio, as opposed to the idealized version of the Speaker that is based on rhetoric alone,” campaign spokesperson Amanda Henneberg said in a statement. “This campaign is clearly shifting into a debate on character, and as even more of Speaker Rubio’s real record is revealed, it is clear Florida Republicans will turn to the proven conservative leader, Charlie Crist.”
Rubio’s campaign said it was prepared for a long fight with the well-funded Crist, no matter what the polls show.
“Polls will fluctuate, and we’re pleased by the momentum behind Marco’s issues-based candidacy,” Rubio spokesperson Alex Burgos told TPMDC. “We know there’s a long way to go and millions to be spent by Charlie Crist on false attacks, but Marco’s focus remains on the issues Floridians are most concerned about.”