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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Insider Poll: Marco Rubio poised to lose Florida; 'God save the Republic'



Sorry Marco Rubio, but the political establishment in Florida thinks it's over for you.

Nine out of 10 people surveyed in the latest Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider Poll expect Rubio to lose Florida's March 15 presidential primary to Donald Trump, and nine in 10 expect Trump to be the Republican nominee.

More than eight in 10 of the more than 170 politicos surveyed said that Florida's junior senator should suspend his campaign if and when he does lose his home state.

RELATED: Panic swells talk of contested convention to propel Rubio to nomination

"I'm resigned to the fact that Donald Trump is going to be the nominee. Rubio or Cruz can't stop him. My wishful fantasy is someone would step forward as either a third party candidate or someone delegates could rally around. The meat and potatoes Republicans who are voting for Trump are blowing up this party, and it's a crying shame," said one Republican.

Said another: "Trump is going to knock out Rubio on March 15th, and Rubio will cost himself a chance to run for governor in 2018 after getting embarrassed in his home state," said one Republican.

Florida Insider Polls are unscientific surveys of Florida's political class — campaign consultants, lobbyists, activists, fundraisers, academics and the like — and include people actively supporting or working for assorted presidential campaigns and committees. Many were Jeb Bush supporters, and most represent the political establishment that Trump is running against.

More than two thirds said it would be unwise for Gov. Rick Scott to endorse Trump and 43 percent said a contested primary would be wise for the GOP if it could stop Trump from winning the nomination.

"If the GOP tries to block Donald at this time, it would be the end of the party," one Democrat said. "The grassroots already hates the establishment (for good reason). The establishment hates the grassroots — but rather than trying to solve the issue, they chose to ride the wave and keep stoking it since 2010. Now they have to sleep in the bed they made. It won't be pretty. But if you thought the health care town hall revolt in 2010 was ugly, just think about what it would look like if they tried to block Trump."

Another Republican: "I'm a former Jeb supporter, but now pulling for Trump.  Yes, we exist.  All the talk about never supporting Trump will change really fast when he's the nominee, after all all these paid political operatives want work. If polls look bad for Rubio one week out from March 15th, he'd better drop out or risk his entire political future (yes everyone knows he wants to run for Governor as a fallback).  The wins by Cruz and Rubio only benefit Trump since it keeps them in the race and divides the anti-Trump vote."

Still another Republican lamented that, "the political apocalypse is upon us. Trump as the GOP nominee?! Scott's eye has always been cast to DC, so wouldn't be surprised about a surprise endorsement at some point, although that would solidify the death of his relationship with the legislature once and for all."

Seventy percent said Hillary Clinton would beat Trump in the general election.

"God save the Republic," said a Republican.

This Florida Insider Poll included 64 Democrats, 99 Republicans, and 10 people registered to neither major party. They were:

Ana Cruz, Ana Navarro, Cory Tilley, Kevin Cate, Tre Evers, Frank Tsamatoules, Bernie Campbell, Gus Corbella, Joe Perry, David Rancourt, Mark Ferrulo, Clarence McKee, Ben Pollara, Cynthia Henderson, Ellen Freidin, Scott Arceneaux, Barry Edwards, Aubrey Jewett, Bridget Nocco, Richard Swann, Dean Cannon, Fred Piccolo, Pat Neal, John Dowless, Christina Johnson, Ron Bilbaoo, Nick Hansen, Jim Rimes, Tim Baker, Bob Poe, April Salter, Mike Fasano, Alex Patton, Jamie Wilson, Karl Koch, Jeff Wright, Chris Dorworth, Eric Zichella, Brian Hughes, Marc Reichelderfer, Ann Herberger, Husein Cumber, Paul Mitchell, Joe Gruters, Eric Jotkoff, Pablo Diaz, Rich Heffley, Sarah Rumpf, Gretchen Picotte, David Bishop, Alan Becker, Stephen Shiver, Erik Kirk, Pete Mitchell, Matthew Corrigan, Ron Sachs, Henry Kelley, Kathy Mears, Mike Hanna, Monica Russo, Ryan Duffy, Stacy Ritter, Kirk Fordham, Trey Stapleton, Jeff Johnson, John Stemberger, John Mills, Jason Unger, Chris Kise, Chris Hand, Hayden Dempsey, Towson Fraser, Joshua Karp, Jason Rosenberg, Stafford Jones, Alex Sink, Julia Gill Woodward, Kristen Douogherty, John Konkus, Christian Ulvert, Eric Eikenberg, Dan Gelber, Nancy McGowan, Rodney Barreto, Darryl Paulson, Jack Seiler, Jason Altmire, Matthew Isbell, Steven Vancore, Apryl Marie Fogel, Jon Ausman, Cindy Graves, Doc Dockery, David Johnson, Tom Tillison, Jack Furnari, Darrick D. McGhee, Susie Wiles, Bud Shorstein, Marion Hammer, Peter Wallace, Greg Turbeville, Beth Leytham, Tom Lewis, Brian Burgess, Justin Day, Betty Castor, Mike Hamby, Damien Filer, John Morgan, Brad Coker, Ron Klein, Roger Stone, Greg C. Truax, Bob Graham, Seth McKee, Andrew Weinstein, Christian Ziegler, Richard Gentry, Stephen Bittel, Susan Glickman, Erin VanSickle, Jack Hebert, Chester Spellman, Kevin King, Ken Jones, Christian Camara, Scott Peelen, Karen Unger, Peter Antonacci, David Aronberg, Allan Bense, Mark Zubaly, Bob Sparks, Andy Ford, Chris Korge, Mike Hightower, Frank Mirabella, David Colburn, Robert Wexler, Rich Ramos, Andrew Gillum, Bill Lee, Jackie Lee, James Harris, Slater Bayliss, Fred Karlinsky, Jill Chamberlin, Gayle Andrews, Jim Cherry, Ron Gunzburger, Mary Anne Carter, Abel Harding, John Wehrung, Richard DeNapoli, Screven Watson, Chip LaMarca, Donna Arduin, Jason Roth, Scott Barnhart, Nikki Lowrey, Marty Fiorentino, Stephanie Kunkel, Dave Beattie, Bob Poe

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at a campaign rally in Shelby Township, Mich. on Wednesday.

Associated Press

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at a campaign rally in Shelby Township, Mich. on Wednesday.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 3, 2016 4:03pm]


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