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Poll: Rubio Cuts Into Crist’s Lead in Florida Senate Race

Former Florida Speaker Marco Rubio is cutting into Gov. Charlie Crist’s lead in the Sunshine State’s Republican Senate primary, according to a new poll released Wednesday.Crist led Rubio by 29 points in mid-August, but in the latest survey from Quinnipiac University Polling Institute the popular governor was ahead of Rubio 50 percent to 35 percent. The poll of 396 Republican voters was in the field Oct. 12-18 and had a 5-point margin of error.“Gov. Charlie Crist’s lead … has come back down to earth. His margin is still formidable, but obviously Marco Rubio’s focus on convincing Republican conservatives that he, not Crist, is their kind of guy is bearing fruit,” Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Assistant Director Peter Brown said in a news release Wednesday morning.Forty-four percent of Republican voters said they have a favorable opinion of Rubio while just 3 percent have an unfavorable opinion and 52 percent said they haven’t heard enough about him. Meanwhile, 63 percent of Republican primary voters had a favorable opinion of Crist, 30 percent viewed him unfavorably and just 3 percent said they haven’t heard enough about him.According to a larger sample of 1,078 likely Florida voters, Crist would win a general election matchup against presumed Democratic nominee Rep. Kendrick Meek (Fla.). Crist garnered 51 percent to Meek’s 31 percent, according to the survey. Rubio, however, trailed Meek in a hypothetical matchup, 36 percent to 33 percent. With the larger sample size, those questions had a 3-point margin of error.The Quinnipiac poll also found that state Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) led Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D) 36 percent to 32 percent in the 2010 gubernatorial race.