"The horse race numbers are not a fluke," said Peter Brown, assistant polling director for Quinnipiac in . "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.
Crist has struggled as the economy nose-dived and unemployment surged. His jobs programs haven't worked. He raised taxes last year. He has to return money when his biggest contributor, Scott Rothstein, was accused in a Ponzi scheme.
Crist's biggest mistake might have been his decision to stump with Barack Obama for the stimulus package loathed by the Republican base that will decide this contest.
At the time Crist appeared onstage with Obama in February, it seemed like good politics, with the president enjoying sky-high approval ratings. A full 64 percent of Floridians approved of the job he was doing with only 23 percent disapproving, according to a February Quinnipiac poll.
Now, 49 percent of Floridians disapprove of the way Obama's handling his job, while 45 percent approve.
The big story, though, is Crist. With approval ratings that were once in the 70s, Crist looked like a shoo-in in the U.S. Senate race, which is viewed by some as a national bellwether of tea-party activists and anti-incumbent sentiment.