Analysis: Losing hometown straw poll hurts Crist

Published: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 12:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 12:11 p.m.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Gov. Charlie Crist's failure to win a straw poll in his home county is a sign of problems with his Senate campaign.

Pinellas County Republicans voted 106-54 Monday night to back former House Speaker Marco Rubio.

That's the same GOP committee that unanimously endorsed Crist for governor during a 2005 meeting.

Political scientist Darryl Paulson says the turnaround is potentially devastating for Crist, who has a large money advantage over Rubio.

Crist is dismissive of straw polls, saying they only reflect a small number of voters. Still, Crist worked phones trying to win support before the meeting.

While the vote doesn't actually count in the primary, it is seen as symbolic of Rubio's rising support with the party's conservative base.

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