Back in April, I asked rhetorically why Florida Senate candidate Kendrick Meek had earned so little respect from analysts and pundits. I was thinking mostly of the one-on-one general election contest then looming between Democrat Meek and likely Republican nominee Marco Rubio.
That was then. Within a few weeks, Republican Governor Charlie Crist launched his independent Senate candidacy and shortly after that, billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene jumped into the Democratic primary. Since then, Greene has pumped at least $8 million of his own funds into television advertising and has rapidly gained support in public polls. By late June, the Cook Political Report (gated) was reporting that unnamed “Democratic strategists are beginning to come to terms with the idea that Greene may well win the primary.”
The three most recent public polls now show everything from a ten-point Greene lead (Quinnipiac University) to a narrow but not quite statistically significant four-point Meek advantage (Mason-Dixon). A third poll, conducted last week for the Meek campaign, shows Meek (at 36%) in a “statistical dead heat” against Greene (35%). “That Meek’s campaign is releasing a poll showing him essentially running even with Greene,” the Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza concluded last week, is a testament to the dire straits that the Democratic congressman has found himself in.”
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