Thursday, June 17, 2010

Who will win the Florida Senate race?

Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist (and, to some extent, Kendrick Meek) are in a death match to fill the open Senate seat in Florida. Right now Rubio and Crist are essentially tied and nobody really can tell who will win in November. The biggest question is: How many Meek voters, knowing their candidate cannot possibly win, will cast their votes for Crist as their second alternative? We've seen that the lower Meek's polling average is the more Crist pulls ahead. In some of the latest polling Crist is garnering 20% of the African American vote. I can't imagine that will hold as Meek is a liberal Democrat and an African-American. In Florida, the core of the Democratic party is this particular bloc as it votes almost uniformly (around 94%) for Democrats in state-wide races. A good example is the 2000 Presidential contest where Al Gore received 94% of the African-American vote. What's more, African-Americans were 12% of the population of Florida in 2000 but represented 15% of the voters that day which created (as we all know) a near-tie for Florida's Electoral Votes. Had that bloc voted in accord with its overall percentage of population, George Bush would have won the state by over 100,000 votes. 2010 will have a much smaller Democratic turnout that 2000, 2004 and certainly 2008 which hurts Crist. Republican rank and file voters are itching to elect Rubio, a Reagan-like Cuban who is young (around 40) telegenic and articulate with a clear conservative message. He'll probably get 95% of the GOP vote and a good chunk of the Independents and certainly most of the Cuban vote (which will help him in heavily Democratic Southeast Florida-especially Dade County). If he gets over 40% of the statewide vote he should win. If he gets more than 43% he'll certainly win. If the Democratic Party could throw Kendrick Meek under the bus they certainly would but the primary has already passed and he's on the ballot to stay. Moreover, all signs point to Meek running a tough, aggressive campaign and he should get a large chunk of Democratic votes. The question is; will Meek take enough votes from Crist to ensure a Rubio victory? If someone tells you they know the answer they're a liar or a fool or maybe both.

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