Seriously, When is Crist Going to Leave the GOP?
by Jonathan Singer, Mon Mar 08, 2010 at 06:44:25 PM EST
For more than four months I have been wondering when Florida's Republican Governor Charlie Crist, a candidate for his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate in the state in a contested primary, would leave the GOP for greener pastures, running as an Independent candidate for Senate rather than under the Republican banner. Indeed, in recent weeks Crist has bucked his party, reaffirming his support for last year's stimulus bill and generally sounding more like a moderate than an angry conservative -- which puts him at odds with his party's primary base. Public Policy Polling has just released numbers showing the extent to which Florida Republicans have become alienated by Crist, who not all that long ago was the party's golden boy.
Here's a little preview: among Republican primary voters 19% would like to see him as Governor a year from now, 14% want him in the Senate, and 56% want him out of elected office.
If there is any path to his winning office in Florida again- and there may not be- it's as something other than a Republican.
There hasn't been a great deal of polling on a potential three-way Senate race between a hypothetically Indepedent Crist, Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek -- but the available data suggests that all three candidates would be competitive. The same cannot be said of a GOP primary between Crist and Rubio, where the latter now leads by a margin of about 15 points, and growing.
So I ask again, ask I have been asking for months, how long until Crist leaves the GOP?