World-Renowned Poll Cruncher Awed by Crist's Popularity

No true political wonk goes 24 hours without checking fivethirtyeight.com, except maybe the people in Congressman Kendrick Meek's senatorial campaign, because seriously, campaigns run on hope.

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Last week, the site's wunderkind blogger, Nate Silver, devised a new metric (always with the metrics, this one) for analyzing a governor's popularity. Silver took the governor's approval rating from the most recent three polls, then built in a set of expectations: that governors of large states are less popular only because it's harder to marshal a consensus of opinion, and that governors' approval ratings should be adjusted based on inherent advantages they may have by way of the state's party registration.

For example, Silver found that the governor of Wyoming was the most skilled politician because he has high approval ratings despite being a Democrat in an overwhelmingly Republican state.

But Charlie checks in at No. 2, the nation's most popular governor of a large state. That's based on his high approval rating in the context of a state evenly divided between the two parties.

And though Crist doesn't get much buzz as a 2012 presidential contender, Silver (who by the way, predicted the state-by-state Obama victory with scary accuracy) seems to think Crist stands a better chance at getting the Republican nomination than the leading contenders -- Govs. Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, and Tim Pawlenty.

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