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Tuesday
Aug312010

Sorry Charlie

Charlie Crist will not be Florida's next United States Senator. 
 
In a year where most predictions are downright silly, I am very confident in that one.  When Kendrick Meek won last Tuesday, with his victory went Charlie Crist's chances.  Democrats who want to beat Marco Rubio should jump on the Meek train. 

To understand why, let's revisit the math.
 
For Crist to win the United States Senate race, he would need a formula that looked something like this:
 
33% of the Democratic vote
33% of the Republican vote
50% of the NPA vote. 
 
This formula would get him a vote total of 36-37%, a likely win scenario in a highly competitive three way race, where all three candidates are scoring in the thirties. 
 
Here is one problem:  Rubio is limiting him to 20% of the Republican vote.  If Rubio keeps him at 20% of the GOP vote, Crist needs to get 45% of the Democratic vote in order to win, and according to the latest PPP poll, Crist is only at 38% today with Democrats. 
 
But the bigger problem is he is falling into the same place as many other long time office holders:  his personal approval numbers are plummeting. He no longer has that deep well of cross party lines personal support built up that allows him to transcend normal political divides.  Instead, he now has to block and tackle like everyone else.  In this political environment, absent some significant and unfortunate event that would thrust him back into the spotlight, the odds of him finding 15-20 points of political approval in the next nine weeks are slim, at best.
 
Therefore, for Crist, who after 20 years of being a GOP insider, his only path to victory is to find a way to be Democratic enough to win enough Democrats, Republican enough to win enough Republicans, and to do that in a way where he doesn't anger Independents.  Not exactly the easiest thing to do, when Democrats now have a plausible alternative in Meek and Republicans in Rubio.  If Greene had won, it might be a different story
 
Democrats who support Crist keep saying to me, "well, we just need Dems to vote for Crist," but that just isn't going to happen in the margins he needs to win. 
 
Today, Rubio has the clearest path to victory, but once Democrats figure out that Meek is their only option, his path will get much more clear as well.   For Crist, I wouldn't rush to book that early January plane ticket from Tallahassee to DC-- a trip that starting in October 2010, the rest of us will be able make without stopping in Atlanta or Charlotte!

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Reader Comments (7)

Makes sense to me, but how do we get the news out to the Dems who might vote for Charlie, and pull more numbers to Meek? I'm having trouble being optimistic.

August 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Clark

Meeks name id is horrendous. He spent a bunch of money in that primary. He has no ability to carry conservative Democrats in the northern and central parts of the state. The guy has zero chance of winning this race.

Crist is the only chance to keep Rubio out of the Senate. Dems would be totally foolish to not support him. The question is why would 60% of the democratic base hand this Senate seat to Maco Rubio when they know Meek has zero chance of winning? Plus Crist is highly liklely to caucus with the Democrats, and support a Democrat for majority leader - that's all that matters.

Sometimes you have to cut bait and block and tackle the right wing loon ball that is likely to get elected if the Dems don't rally behind Crist.

What is the formula for Meek to win? Carry 90% of the Democratic base and then win 20% of the Indies? Never going to happen after Crist vetoed that teacher bill and vetoed the abortion bill.

Crist is the anti Rubio vote. Any Democrat thinking Meek can win this thing is not living in the present.

August 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Pragmatic

Although I too read that we are having nonstop to DC starting in October, I have yet to find any proof of this on any airline reservations websites, be it kayak or usairways.com. Do you have any confirmation that this nonstop biz is still a go?

August 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMagnus Hines

Steve:

I responded here.

http://bit.ly/b3SNTE

August 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Schorsch

Much better analysis here. I can see where you are coming from. Hard to imagine the African American Dem vote supporting Charlie..

Starting to make sense.

September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom

This is pretty weak stuff, given the fact that Schale is on the Democratic Party payroll. What's particularly interesting is his inability to put forth any numbers that give Meek a plausible chance to win.

Since there aren't any, he's trying to play the only card the Dem's organizational establishment -- claiming that Charlie can't win, so vote for organizational loyalty rather than your heart.

A more realistic scenario is that since Meek has not realistic chance for victory, why not vote for the candidate who does -- Charlie Crist! I know that's what I'm gonna do. And will millions of other moderate Democrats and Independents.

September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeek Too Weak 2 Win

@Meek too Weak 2 Win: Check out today's post: http://steveschale.squarespace.com/blog/2010/8/31/more-on-crists-steep-climb.html

September 1, 2010 | Registered Commentersteve

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