Miami's Rubio Storms Into Senate Lead

Huge Turnaround for Marco as Governor Crist trails in latest poll

By Adam Kuperstein
|  Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010  |  Updated 7:00 AM EDT
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Miami's Rubio Storms Into Senate Lead

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Marco Rubio

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As one of the most popular politicians in Florida history, Governor Charlie Crist was considered a lock for the U.S. Senate when he entered the race less than a year ago.

But now, a dramatic swing in the polls has underdog Marco Rubio ahead of Crist. 

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Rubio, a Miami Native and former House Speaker for the State of Florida, with a three percent lead over Crist. Rubio leads 47-44 percent among Republican voters, a 34 point swing from just eight months ago.

"It's now a statistical dead-heat," said Quinnipiac Pollster Peter Brown.

"That's pretty remarkable, really in my experience in politics in Florida I haven't seen this previously to date," said Justin Sayfie, a former top aide to Gov. Jeb Bush and the founder of popular political website sayfiereview.com.

"Marco Rubio is a full-time candidate, he's meeting people all across the State of Florida," said Sayfie. "Gov.Crist is not a full-time candidate, doing what governors do, but he is well liked in Florida."

In June 2009, a Quinnipiac poll showed that Rubio trailed Crist by 31 percent. That lead shrunk to 15 in October, and as of today, it's gone.

Gov. Crist said the results are a result of "a tough economy."

Rubio's surge also comes after a push to remind voters that Crist was with President Obama when he promoted the stimulus package in Southwest Florida.

Sayfie said a Rubio win in the August primary would be a significant upset. But as we've seen, a lot can change in eight months.

"The polls being as close as they are, it's going to be a battle royale," Sayfie said.

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