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Florida GOP Senate favorite Charlie Crist fading fast, trails Marco Rubio by 12 points

February 2, 2010 |  4:36 pm

CristCharlieObamaap

While everyone awaits the political tea leaves from tonight's primary election results in President Obama's Illinois as the latest sign of Republican vs. Democrat fortunes nationally, take a quick look down at Florida.

Here comes the Tea Party within the GOP!

Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio

A new Rasmussen Reports Poll this week shows the establishment Republican Gov. Charlie Crist (above with special friend), once a runaway gimme favorite for the Republican Senate nomination this fall, now badly trailing one-time state House Speaker and longshot nobody Marco Rubio (right).

Seven months ago, Rubio was behind by 31 points. In December they were tied.

Rasmussen shows the upstart pulling ahead of Crist by 12 points now, 49-37. Crist's support has been steadily waning, apparently tied to his early support of the $787-billion stimulus program of you-know-who, the Democrat in the White House. In August, Crist's support was 53%.

The closely-watched RealClearPolitics poll average has Rubio now up by 9.7 points.

Besides hugging Obama last year at an economic stimulus rally for the Democrats' economic stimulus package, jobs have not bounced back in Florida and Republican Crist (whispering now) raised taxes in 2009. That makes him a RINO.

Both Rubio and Crist lead their possible Democratic opponents by double digits.

But the Florida GOP race is being watched closely across the country as a bellwether measure of both Obama's current political toxicity (he's 0-7 in campaign rallies in recent months) and the grass-roots strength of the Tea Party movement.

Its anti-tax, anti-too-big-government stance helped Scott Brown become the first Republican senator since 1972 from the home of the original Boston Tea Party, which was, gee, way back before even Joe Biden was in the Senate.

Just to rub in the joint Crist-Obama appearance last year, Rubio's campaign will attempt to raise precisely $787,000 in the 10 days leading up to the appearance's anniversary.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press; Rubio's office.

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