Governor Charlie Crist faces an uphill battle in the struggle for the GOP nomination for the 2010 Senate race in Florida. Former state Speaker of the House Marco Rubio leads Crist 54-36 among Republican voters, according to a Rasmussen poll. The formerly insurgent Rubio has now become the front-runner. Results from another Rasmussen poll probably solidify Rubio's position. Both Republicans lead the likely Democratic nominee, Crist by 18 and Rubio by 20.
These numbers do more than show the strong position of the GOP in this race. They also undercut the claim that Crist is significantly more "electable" than Rubio. These numbers allow conservative-leaning Republicans in Florida to have their cake and eat it, too: they can vote for the red-meat Rubio, who has fashioned himself as being to the right of Crist, while also voting for an electable candidate. If polls showed a significant advantage for Crist in the general, he might have an easier time turning the primary race around. Instead, Crist and Rubio poll as equally electable, perhaps even with a slight edge for Rubio, to Crist's disadvantage.