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In poll, Libertarian candidate a non-factor; Crist takes solid lead

Alexander Snitker, the unknown Libertarian candidate in the crowded Florida U.S. Senate race, breathlessly released an internal poll Thursday showing him at 2.5 percent. His numbers are hardly worth noting -- he's likely in the margin of error. (Not to mention, the polling company, Telsel in St. Augustine, run by Ira Bellas, is an unknown quantity and didn't release the margin of error, as is typical practice.)

But the more interesting figures: Gov. Charlie Crist boasts solid lead -- 40 percent to 32 percent -- over GOP rival Marco Rubio. (Crist's lead is slightly less among likely voters, 40 percent to 33.5 percent.) Democrat Kendrick Meek can't break 10 percent. (See the full release below.)

Another curious note, when voters know Snitker, he appears to take the largest chunk from Meek, though the margin of error in this question is likely too high to draw conclusions.

The Snitker release:

Snitker Polling at 2.5% Among Likely Voters, 12% Among Voters Who Know His Name

The first poll to include the Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate in Florida shows Crist still leading the pack, followed by Rubio and Meek.  However, the big surprise is that Snitker is polling at 12% among likely voters who are familiar with him.

In a poll released today, 2.5% of registered Florida voters said they would vote for Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Alexander Snitker if the election were held today.   Even more surprising is that the number jumped to 12% of likely voters who said they were familiar with Snitker.   This is the first scientific poll to include Snitker.

The poll, commissioned by the Snitker campaign and conducted by Telsel, Inc. of St. Augustine, surveyed 505 registered voters selected at random from the 2010 Florida Division of Elections database.  Of the 505 respondents, 447 said they are likely to vote in the November 2010 election.

The party affiliation breakdown among respondents was 43% Democrat, 43% Republican, and 14% third party or NPA.

The question asked was, "If the election were held today, which Senate candidate would you vote for?"  The survey listed the candidates in the order in which they will appear on the ballot.  The results were rounded to nearest half percentage point.

Candidate                               All Respondents               Likely Voters
 Marco Rubio (R)                             32.0%                         33.5%
 Kendrick Meek (D)                           9.0%                         9.5%
 Alexander Snitker (L)                        2.5%                         2.5%
 Charlie Crist (NPA)                         40.0%                         40.0%
 Undecided                                       16.5%                       14.5%

Respondents were asked if they were familiar with each of the above candidates.  Among respondents who said that they were familiar with Snitker, the results changed dramatically:

Candidate                              All Respondents                Likely Voters
 Marco Rubio (R)                            30.0%                         31.0%
 Kendrick Meek (D)                          4.0%                         4.5%
 Alexander Snitker (L)                     11.0%                        12.0%
 Charlie Crist  (NPA)                       38.5%                        36.0%
 Undecided                                      16.5%                      16.5%

The data suggests that as Snitker's funding and media presence improves, he is likely to become a serious threat to Rubio, Meek and Crist, and he may actually be in contention as November nears.