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Finally, a State Poll That's Relevant

Till recently, every poll for the 2010 Florida election was filled with "ifs." If Crist runs for Senate will you vote for him? If Alex Sink runs for governor, will you vote for her? With the flurry of campaign announcements the last few weeks, the new poll from Mason-Dixon is a picture of the starting line in this 18-month marathon.

The poll shows Crist getting 53 percent of the Republican vote against primary challenger Marco Rubio, who has an 18 percent that can safely be described as the state's hardcore conservatives.

In the governor's race, Attorney General Bill McCollum has a big lead against the possible candidacy of Agricultural Commissioner Charles Bronson, who's likely to announce later this week he's not campaigning.

The surprise of the poll is how much ground the Democrats have to make up. Both Kendrick Meek and Dan Gelber would get trounced in their general election match-ups with Crist, while Sink starts from behind against McCollum.

This poll apparently couldn't resist positing one far-fetched scenario: Jeb Bush declaring his candidacy for governor. Nevermind that he's already responded to that predictable, hopeless clamoring by announcing the idea is DOA. No, judging by Bush's recent efforts to galvanize a fragmented national Republican base, he's working on his far-fetched scenario: A presidential campaign against Barack Obama in 2012.

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Thomas Francis