OK, I'm no Lord [Pollington] [Oops!], but let's unpack the Mason-Dixon poll for FL-SEN - which is bad news for Charlie Crist, and seriously bad news for the Democratic party of Florida that everybody expects Crist to join, just as soon as he can manage. Below are the three major match-ups:
- If the race is Marco Rubio for the GOP, Kendrick Meek for the Democrats, and Crist as the 'independent,' then the result is Rubio 38 / Crist 33 / Meek 18.
- If the race is Rubio for the GOP, Jeff Greene for the Democrats, and Crist as the 'independent,' the result is Crist 39/ Rubio 38 / Greene 12.
- In the primary, Meek leads Greene 40 / 26.
By the way: this represents a serious loss of support for Crist from Mason-Dixon. Back in May Crist and Rubio's numbers from that pollster were more or less flipped.
The trouble for the Democrats is this: as things are going, their best chance to flip the seat is to have Greene take the nomination, disavow Greene, and line up behind Crist. Unfortunately - for them - the primary is in less than two weeks and Meek is ahead. Should Meek win, the Democrats will... well, let's not mince words: Meek is African-American, and the Democratic party has been horrible in recruiting good African-American challengers for federal office this year. It's bad enough that their other African-American Senate candidate is Alvin Greene of South Carolina, who got the nod mostly thanks to alphabetical order: it'd be infinitely worse for them if they end up giving more support to Alvin Greene than they do to Kendrick Meek.
But... Meek won't win. He wasn't going to win when it was Crist vs. Meek, and he wouldn't win if it was Rubio vs. Meek, either. Meek's a four-term legacy Congressman who's never faced an opponent in his House elections and who has had a distinctly uninteresting Congressional career; and I've heard Rubio speak and debate. The truth is, the Democrats were always more interested in Meek as a symbolic candidate than as an actual one - their idea of a proper African-American Senator would be somebody like Roland Burris - so now that they're faced with a suddenly-competitive race the Democrats are in a bind.
And that is why you go for the best candidate that you can, no matter what. An A-list Democratic recruit in Florida would have been in a perfect position to exploit the Republican primary fight...
Crossposted to Moe Lane.