Despite the spin being applied to this polling, Marco Rubio is making significant gains on Charlie Crist more than a year before the Florida Primary.

The Mason-Dixon Florida Poll, conducted last week among 625 registered voters, indicated 51 percent support for Crist — compared to 23 percent for Rubio. But that was largely a factor of Crist being far better known statewide than the former West Miami legislator.

What, that doesn’t sound good to you? Well, consider the relevant part:

Among Republicans who recognized both names, Crist’s lead was 33 percent to 31 percent. With an error margin of 6 percent, and 36 percent of GOP voters saying they are undecided, the figures were encouraging for Rubio.

“Half of the Republicans have never heard of Rubio but among the half that have, the race is essentially tied,” said Brad Coker, director of the Mason-Dixon poll. “If Rubio gets a little money and gets a little momentum going, it’s a dead heat.

The Governor of Florida and Speaker of the Florida House, among those who know them, are essentially tied.

And the race is more than a year away — plus it will be a closed primary.