WaPo: 'Florida Senate Race Begins Without a Clear Favorite'; But Paper Ignores Rubio Lead in Dem Firm's Poll

In today's Washington Post, Dan Balz argues that the "Florida Senate race starts without a clear favorite." While that may be true in some sense, recent polling data has some favorable signs for conservative Republican candidate Marco Rubio.

Yet nowhere in his 20-paragraph story did Balz delve into those poll numbers. Instead, Balz presented the Florida race as complete wild card that is unpredictable due to the three-way nature of the contest:

Gov. Charlie Crist is the man in the middle in Florida's high-stakes race for the Senate, a candidate without a party whose hopes of moving from Tallahassee to Washington depend on his ability to fend off a squeeze play from his Democratic and Republican rivals.

The three-way campaign for the Senate is the latest in a series of important races in Florida - including the 2000 recount that helped define red-blue divisions in America - but with dynamics new to the Sunshine State. 

But a look at recent polling data available on RealClearPolitics.com seems to indicate Rubio went to bed on primary election night in good shape for the general election fight ahead.

The last poll taken before Tuesday's primary was conducted of likely voters by the liberal Democrat-friendly polling firm Public Policy Polling (PPP). That poll had Rubio up eight points over Crist, 40 to 32, with Meek garnering a humble 17 percent. 

Rubio had a 5-point edge over Crist in a poll by Mason-Dixon in mid-August with Meek at a paltry 18 percent. Other polls from August show a Crist lead, but those are of registered, not likely voters, and in a midterm election it's the motivated, fired-up voters that are most likely to show up.

While it's true that the two-and-a-half months until Election Day are an eternity in politics, it seems that right now Rubio is doing pretty well. It could change for the better or for the worse, but it should have been noted by Balz.

Campaigns & Elections 2010 Congressional Washington Post Government & Press Charlie Crist Dan Balz Marco Rubio Kendrick Meek

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