January 26, 2010 | 11:52am
Tea Bag-approved Marco Rubio leads Gov. Charlie Crist in the Republican Senate primary for the first time, according to a recently released Quinnipiac poll.
Forty-seven percent of registered Republicans now prefer Rubio, compared to only 44 percent who are still in the Crist camp. That's a sea change since October, when Crist led Rubio 50 to 35 in the Q poll.
Rubio has pulled ahead with male and self-described conservative Republicans. Crist, meanwhile, still leads among liberal and moderate Republicans, women, and "white born-again evangelicals." Only 8 percent remain undecided.
Rubio also beats leading Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek for the first time in head-to-head polling, 44 to 35 percent, perhaps muting criticism that Rubio wouldn't be successful in the general election. Crist, however, leads Meek by a larger 48 to 36 percent margin. Meek does lead both among Democrats and voters in South Florida; 72 percent of voters still haven't heard enough about Meek to have an opinion of him.