New Senate polls released yesterday confirm the current standings in four states, but a new independent poll in Florida shows a bigger than average lead for Republican Marco Rubio and a continuing decline for Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist.
The automated Voter Survey Service poll poll in Florida shows Republican Marco Rubio with 43% of the vote and a double-digit lead over independent Charlie Crist (29%) and Democrat Kendrick Meek (23%). It confirms the decline in Crist's support shown in other surveys as support for Rubio and Meek began to rise following the August primary.
Rubio's position is enviable, since he now receives 70% of the Republican vote (on the two most recent surveys), while Crist and Meek continue to divide the Democratic vote. His lead over Crist has grown to six points on our trend estimate (38.7% to 32.6%), enough to classify the race as leaning Republican. In a pattern we noted yesterday, Rubio does better on the automated Voter Survey Service poll (43%) than on other recent surveys done with live interviewers.
But Crist's decline makes voter preferences in this race especially volatile. The last two polls have shown Crist ahead of Meek by an average 10 and 6 points. How many of Crist's supporters will stick with him if polls in the next few weeks show Meek tied with or slightly ahead of Crist?
Elsewhere, Rasmussen Reports released new automated survey results for four states, Arizona, Illinois, Missouri and West Virginia. The polls shows no consistent trend compared to Rasmussen's previous surveys in the same states a month ago, with non-significant variation in all but Arizona.
In Arizona, a state in which only Rasmussen has released public surveys since April, they show an eight point net improvement for John McCain's Democratic challenger Rodney Glassman since August, although McCain still leads comfortably (51% to 37%).
Rasmussen shows a slight drift for Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in Illinois, from dead even in August to a four-point deficit against Republican Mark Kirk (37% to 41%), although the change is not statistically significant. Our trend estimate, based on all recent public polls, shows this contest to be a virtual tie (38.7% Giannoulias to 38.6% Kirk) -- the closest in the nation as of this morning.
Rasmussen's West Virginia poll shows Democrat Joe Manchin continues to narrowly lead Republican John Raese by roughly the same margin (50% to 45%) that Rasmussen measured a month ago. As with Arizona, Rasmussen is the only public pollster to release results since a Repass and Partners poll showed Manchin leading by 22 points (54% to 32%) in early August.