In the Florida Senate race, "speculation" has increased that Republican Governor Charlie Crist will run as an Independent now that he unexpectedly vetoed an elections bill passed by the Republican-dominated Florida legislature. While it is difficult to justify increased "speculation" as worthy of a news story, it is worth noting that Crist would greatly improve his chances of winning the campaign by running as an Independent.
In March, there were three polls (Daily Kos, PPP and Rasmussen) that surveyed both the Republican Senate primary in Florida, and a hypothetical three-way general election matchup featuring Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist and presumptive Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek. While Crist trailed in both the Republican primary and a three-way campaign in all three polls, he was 17 points closer in a three-way general election than in a two-way Republican primary against Marco Rubio:
Crist deficit, Florida Senate campaign
While Crist is clearly pretty unpopular and would still face an uphill battle, he actually has a shot in a three-way general election campaign, versus no chance in a three-way Republican primary.
||3-way General election
Democrat Kendrick Meek would actually not be helped by this scenario, however. These same three polls show Meek 6.7% behind Rubio in a two-way matchup, but 10.3% behind in a three-way matchup.
In all three scenarios, Rasmussen is the outlying poll. Rasmussen shows the Republican primary closer than the other two outfits, and shows Rubio much stronger in either a two-way or three-way general election than the other two pollsters. There is good reason to wonder about Rasmussen this cycle, given how frequently it is the outlying poll in averages, but I will continue to include it in averages unless some sort of methodological flaw is found.