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Rubio takes early lead over Crist, Meek

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Republican Marco Rubio of Florida holds double-digit leads over his two main campaign rivals in a new poll for the state’s open Senate seat, the first major survey taken following Tuesday’s primary. 

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely Florida voters shows Rubio with 40 percent of the vote, while independent Gov. Charlie Crist has picked up 30 percent. Democratic nominee Rep. Kendrick Meek earned the support of 21 percent of voters.

Four percent of the survey’s respondents said they prefer some other candidate, and five percent said they are undecided. 

In Rasmussen’s final survey before the primary, Rubio was ahead with 38 percent of the vote, while Crist had 33 percent and Meek had 21 percent.

Meek defeated billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene in Tuesday’s Democratic primary in the race to become the state’s next senator, while Rubio crushed two minor GOP candidates. Crist, who is running without party affiliation, wasn’t on the primary ballot. 

With the results of this new survey, Florida’s Senate race moves from the “toss up” category to “leans Republican” in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Balance of Power summary. 

The Rasmussen poll showed that 76 percent of Rubio supporters say they are certain of how they will vote and that they won’t change their mind before the Nov. 2 general election.  Only 48 percent of Meek’s voters say the same, while 45 percent of Crist supporters are that certain. The pollster says this suggests that the race could follow the typical pattern of three-way races with either Meek or Crist slipping out of contention and watching their support drift to the other.

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