Rasmussen had two pretty shocking polls come out last night.
- Republicans now lead by 7 on the generic congressional ballot.
- Marco Rubio is now tied with Charlie Crist.
The crosstabs in the generic ballot are pretty much what you’d expect, though there were two numbers that particularly stood out to me.
First, among the youngest age group, 18-29, Democrats only have a 7 point lead. That’s half of where young people stood just a little over a year ago on the eve of Obama’s election.
Secondly, Republicans are up by 25 among Independents, 44-19. For reference, that’s a 29 point turnaround from election eve last year.
I think it’s fair to say the Obama honeymoon isn’t just over – folks are looking for a divorce.
As for Rubio/Crist?
For those unfamiliar, the Florida Senate primary race is a microcosm of the battle of ideas in the Republican Party. Rubio, the former Speaker of the Florida House, is a favorite of the Tea Partiers and fiscal conservatives, while Crist is favored more by moderate Republicans.
While almost two months ago I predicted a Rubio victory, I never would have guessed his momentum would carry him to a tie this far ahead of the primary. There almost has to be a concern that he’s peaked too early.
What first stands out is name ID. While only 1% don’t know Crist, a full 21% don’t know enough about Rubio to have an opinion. And yet despite this obstacle, Rubio’s favorables still are far ahead of Crist’s. In fact, among those that do know Rubio, 43% have a very favorable opinion. For Crist, that number is at 19. Clearly, the enthusiasm gap is massive. If Rubio can maintain his successful enlistment of Republican primary voters, this race is in the bag.
That doesn’t mean this race is over. Not by a longshot. Crist still has a sizeable fundraising advantage and will be able to work to damage Rubio’s still fermenting image among the base. If he can take a little of the bloom off the rose, he may still have a chance. But as I mentioned back in early November, the Club for Growth has been able to take away a bit of that financial sting by hitting Crist with their own ads, allowing Rubio to focus on positively enhancing his own image.
This is going to be a fun one to watch. Keep an eye out.