Rubio Pulls Farther and Farther Ahead in Florida Polls

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A new Mason-Dixon poll from Florida gives Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio a nearly impenetrable lead over Democrat Kendrick Meek and Independent Gov. Charlie Crist. With Crist drawing 27 percent and Meek 21, Rubio is far enough ahead with 42 percent that unless Crist's or Meek's polling drops significantly, he is likely to walk away with the Senate seat.

Rubio's lead is echoed in other polls, with Huffington Post's Pollster service showing an aggregate 42.1 percent for Rubio, 29.9 for Crist, and 21.5 for Meek. According to Tampa Bay Online, the new Mason-Dixon poll is "only slightly changed" from the pollster's last survey in September--"but Rubio's slightly wider lead means he's inching toward a position of near-invincibility in the race, said pollster Brad Coker":

Even if all the voters in the 10 percent "undecided" category went to either Crist or Meek, Rubio would still lead, Coker noted. If Rubio maintains his 42 percent support, he could lose only if one of the other two candidates dipped below 15 percent, an unlikely outcome.

On a conference call today, Meek reminded reporters that "it ain't over till it's over." He highlighted last night's debate, in which he and Crist teamed up on Rubio by portraying him as an extremist. The St. Petersburg Times called Meek "the surprise of the night," granting him "some of the best lines" of the debate. Meek seemed energized after this showing and reminded reporters that he would participate in three more debates leading up to election day.

Meek said national Democratic groups like the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee would decide in the next few weeks whether to funnel money and aid to his campaign. "You're talking to a guy that ran against a millionaire and won," Meek said, referencing his primary victory over real estate tycoon Jeff Greene. "I look forward to proving our ability to win, not only over the next couple of weeks but also on November 2."

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Nicole Allan is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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