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Republican Base has a Problem with Charlie Crist

September 23, 2009

MobAdam Smith at the St. Petersburg Times raises a good question: Are GOP straw polls meaningless or real trouble for Crist?

He poses two non-mutually exclusive explanations:

1. Charlie Crist has a serious problem with the conservative base that eventually could spell trouble. 2. Local Republican executive committee members are breathtakingly out of touch with mainstream Republican voters.

In most county-level GOP organizations, the party’s activist base dominates the show. The activists have always looked unfavorably on the moderate Republican Charlie Crist, despite his popularity among mainstream Republican voters. Instead, members of the conservative base have nearly unanimously rallied around the much more conservative Marco Rubio.

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer told the Times:

“I recognize that these straw polls are an outlet for some frustrations that I think don’t even have anything to do with the campaign, but they’re not in the mainstream of what Republican voters are thinking. These straw polls just don’t seem to demonstrate that the (local) leadership of the party is in sync with Republican voters. But it is certainly their prerogative to hold them.”

Greer also referred to an internal state party poll last week by Public Opinion Strategies finding that 67 percent of likely Republican voters approve of Gov. Crist’s performance and 63 percent of all Florida voters do.

Are GOP straw polls meaningless or real trouble for Crist? [St. Petersburg Times]

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