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Rasmussen: Rubio 54%, Crist 36%

11:14 AM, Feb 22, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Whoa, Rubio's double-digit lead expands to 18 points:

Former state House Speaker Marco Rubio continues to lengthen his lead over Governor Charlie Crist in the contest for Florida’s Republican Senate nomination.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely Republican Primary voters finds Rubio leading Crist by 18 points, 54% to 36%. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and seven percent are undecided.

Those figures reflect a five point increase in support for Rubio compared to a month ago. Support for Crist has changed little over the past month.

In December, the two GOP hopefuls were tied at 43% apiece. The new findings mark Rubio’s best showing to date and Crist’s worst. The good news for Crist is that Florida Republicans don’t pick their nominee until an August 24 primary.

Crist's campaign told me that the governor won't run as a Democrat or independent. The filing deadline to run as a Republican, Democrat, or independent is in April. So we'll know then if Crist decides to duke it out with Rubio, drop out and save his money for another fight, or break his word and run as an independent or Democrat.

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