And filled him with a terrible resolve.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Former Florida legislator has closed the gap in the race for the state's and is in a virtual dead heat with , according to a poll released Tuesday.
Rubio, a lawyer who served as Speaker of the House, was once considered a long shot against Crist, who has widespread name recognition and a significant fundraising lead. But with Florida's primary seven months away, Rubio was favored by 47 percent compared with 44 percent who preferred Crist — statistically a tie in the Quinnipiac University poll that has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
The random telephone survey, which included 673 GOP voters, was conducted Jan. 20-24.
"The horse race numbers are not a fluke," said Peter Brown, assistant polling director for Quinnipiac in Connecticut. "Rubio's grassroots campaigning among Republican activists around the state clearly has paid off."
The latest survey marks a stunning turnaround for the 38-year-old Rubio, a conservative who trailed Crist by 31 points in a Quinnipiac survey taken in June.
Yet more evidence that the era when the establishment RINO would automatically be nominated is over.
Conservatives have awakened and are taking control of the GOP once again.
Very soon the Boston to DC corridor Republican establishment is going to have to make a hard choice. Either go ahead and admit that they are really Democrats, like Arlen Specter, or reinvent themselves as genuine conservative Republicans.