Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has emerged as a legitimate challenger for first place in New Hampshire’s upcoming primary, with a new poll showing the Florida Senator is only ten points behind fellow Republican contender Donald Trump.
A Boston Globe/Suffolk poll published on Friday afternoon had Donald Trump in first place with 29 percent of the vote, followed by Rubio with 19 percent. The survey had Gov. John Kasich in third place with 13 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 10 percent, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at 7 percent to round out the top five.
The new poll represents the closest gap between first and second place since a mid-January poll by ARG.
After a strong showing in Iowa, much of the Republican establishment has united behind Sen. Rubio, helped along the way by increasingly favorable coverage from Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.
Recognizing his rise in the polls, Rubio’s fellow establishment rivals have criticized the Florida Senator as someone who comes off as scripted and refuses to engage with the press.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has called Rubio “the boy in the bubble,” noting how he is “scripted and controlled.”
“His 60-second memorized speeches, all of which we’ve heard over and over and over again, are getting stale and tired,” Christie said.
Christie’s accusations have been repeated by news networks. A CNN piece that ran Friday describes his “precision” antics:
Marco Rubio is running a presidential campaign marked by precision, caution and discipline — so much so that the Florida senator delivers the exact same speech, jokes, quips and one-liners wherever he goes … When he addresses the media, his aides select the reporters who can ask questions, often shutting down follow-ups.
Another rival, Gov. Jeb Bush, has pointed to Rubio’s alleged lack of experience, saying the Senator has done very little in life other than work as a professional politician.
A pro-Kasich super PAC, New Day for America, has criticized Rubio for voting against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.