Two polls released last week showed Mr. Rubio leading the governor by 18 percentage points in the August primary, a reversal from last summer, when the former Florida House speaker trailed Mr. Crist by 30 points.
The shifting fortunes underscore how profoundly President Barack Obama's slumping popularity is convulsing both parties. The rise of hard-line conservatives and Tea Party activists are eroding support for Democrats and moderate Republicans such as Mr. Crist, who was viewed as a possible vice-presidential candidate in 2008. [Emphasis mine]
Don't forget, most liberals think and want you to think that the Tea Parties are only a vocal minority. Despite the real world results.
Mr. Rubio's ascent coincides with a descent in Mr. Obama's popularity in the key electoral state. Forty-nine percent of Floridians disapproved of the president's job performance and 45% approved in a January poll by Quinnipiac University. In February 2009, 64% of Floridians approved and 23% disapproved.
Mr. Crist also has lost about two dozen consecutive county straw polls among registered Republicans, including Pinellas County, where the governor grew up.
Tony DiMatteo, former Pinellas County Republican Party chairman, said he was a "zealot" for Mr. Crist in the 2006 race for governor. But he said he "got a sick feeling" watching Mr. Crist embrace Mr. Obama at the February 2009 rally in Fort Myers and his phone rang "off the hook" for several days from angry Republicans.
"I'm now a big Rubio supporter," Mr. DiMatteo said.
Please be sure to read the entire thing, seeing how I probably used a bit more than necessary on the blogger fair use snippet.
Two obvious reasons why Crist falling fast in the polls. What can only be taken as support for the Government Takeover of the Health Care System and his ignorance on how jobs are created. Here's a hint about jobs and the stimulus, Charlie, It Won't Work.
Somewhere, David Frum is crying.
Cross posted at Not One Red Cent.