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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Insider Poll: Most doubt Marco Rubio will run, Donald Trump will drag down GOP

For all the chatter and speculation about Marco Rubio reversing course to run for a second term in the U.S. Senate, political elites in Florida overwhelmingly doubt he'll follow the encouragement of party leaders from Donald Trump to Mitch McConnell.

Nearly nine in 10 of the more than 150 veterans Florida politicos surveyed in our latest Florida Insider Poll said Rubio would be the strongest Republican nominee, but two thirds said they don't expect him to run. 

"While there is a lot of pressure for Marco to get back in the race (and to keep the Senate seat R), the pressure on him to build personal income appears to be greater.  Marco is not a wealthy person, and won't be anytime soon if he remains Senator.  I would be greatly surprised if he chose to get back in, as flip flopping on such a grand scale would surely come back to haunt him in any future efforts for higher office," one Republican said.

Another Republican: "Rubio won't run again. Fanning the speculation and keeping his name in headlines is an effective personal marketing plan as he looks for private sector gigs."

The deadline for qualifying is noon on June 24, and Rubio has dismissed talk of him running again. Still, one in three of the veterans of Florida politics surveyed expect  Rubio to take the plunge and upend a primary campaign that includes his longtime friend Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

"The drafting of Marco Rubio is being expertly orchestrated," said on Republican. "It's as if it was  written by the folks over at House of Cards.  All that remains is for CLC to get the hint."

With Rubio in the race, 84 percent said he would win the nomination, 7 percent said Carlos Beruff, 3 percent said Ron DeSantis, 3 percent said David Jolly, 2 percent said Todd Wilcox and 1 percent said Lopez-Cantera. Without Rubio in the mix, 32 percent predicted Beruff would win, 25  percent predicted Jolly, 23 percent DeSantis, , 17 percent Lopez-Cantera, and 3 percent Wilcox.

"If Marco runs, it's tough to see him losing a primary, especially with the anti-establishment vote being split up 2 or 3 ways. He's the only Republican candidate that could potentially weather the Trump effect with Hispanics," said a Democrat.

Three out of four of the more than 160 Florida Insiders surveyed - campaign professionals, fundraisers, lobbyists, political scientists, activists - said Trump at the top of the ticket would hurt the GOP Senate nominee.

"Trump will hurt every down ballot Republican candidate in 2016," said a Republican. "The democrats will marry him and all his baggage to every other Republican candidate from school board to the US Senate.  Rubio needs to run for US Senate.  If not, we will end up with yet another self-funded cowboy who is completely unaccountable like Trump and Rick Scott." 

These are unscientific surveys, and the voting is still going on so the numbers will likely change slightly before day's end.

Asked about the Democratic senate candidates, 92 percent predicted Patrick Murphy would be the nominee, 8 percent said Alan Grayson, and no one predicted Pam Keith.

And the next U.S Senator? Fifty-five percent predicted Murphy will win, 25 percent said Rubio, 5 percent said Beruff, 5 percent said Lopez-Cantera, 4 percent said DeSantis, 4 percent said Jolly, and 1 percent said Wilcox.

"Problem on on the GOP side is no one can communicate.  You have candidates raising State Senate kind of money, versus one who can self fund.  Unless one of them can find a pot of gold, it is probabaly Beruff's to lose," one Democrat said. "Unless Trump can find real traction in Florida, or unless my party is dumb enough to nominate Grayson, Beruff will lose to Murphy by 3-4 points this fall. I predict then he will mount a self-financing campaign for Governor."

The Florida Insiders participating in this survey included:

Mike Hightower, Susie Wiles, Screven Watson, Alex Patton, Eric Zichella, Alan Becker, Rockie Pennington, Nick Hansen, April Salter, Bob Poe, Nick Iarossi, Pat Roberts, Alex Sink, Rick Wilson, Kathy Mears, Peter Wallace, Frank Tsamoutales, Kevin Cate, Kirk Pepper, Ben Pollara, Ashley Walker, Damien Filer, Jackie Lee, Towson Fraser, Gus Corbella, Brian Hughes, Stafford Jones, Stephen Shiver, Christian Ulvert, Ann Herberger, Roly Marante, Chris Hand, Andrew Gillum, Richard Gentry, Mark Ferrulo, Brett Doster, Bob Sparks, Berne Campbell, Gretchen Picotte, Fred Piccolo, Steve Schale, Joshua Karp, Eric Jotkoff, Steven Vancore, Jim Rimes, Ryan Tyson, Matt Bryan, Matthew Corrigan, Pete Mitchell, Eric Johnson, Jeff Johnson, Cory Tilley, Rich Heffley, Christina Johnson, Ron Sachs, Jason Unger, Bud Shorstein, Aubrey Jewett, Geoffrey Becker, David Rancourt, Van Poole, Steve Uhlfelder, John Stemberger, Brian May, John French, Mel Sembler, Husein Cumber, Jeff Hartley, Pablo Diaz, Doc Dockery, Ron Bilbao, Barry Edwards, David Johnson, Mac Stipanovich, Charles Dudley, Josh Geise, Robin Rorapaugh, Fred Cunningham, Jason Roth, Brad Coker, Clarence McKee, Dave Aronberg, Jamie Miller, Bill Lee, Darrick D. McGhee, Roger Stone, Alan Stonecipher, Don Hinkle, Allan Bense, John Konkus, Jack Seiler, Rodney Barreto, David Bishop, Nancy McGowan, Mike Fasano, Chris Hartline, Paul Mitchell, Jim Cherry, John Dowless, Jack Funari, Betty Castor, John Rood, Sarah Rumpf, Jon Ausman, Scott Arceneaux, Julia Gil Woodward, Henry Kelley, Tom Lewis, Seth McKee, Abel Harding, Wayne Bertsch, Eric Kirk, April Schiff, Greg C. Truax, David Colburn, Tom Tillison, Tom Scarritt, Matthew Isbell, Erin VanSickle, Jill Chamberlin, Ron Pierce, Tim Baker, Jason Rosenberg, Andrew Weinstein, Christian Ziegler, Ron Klein, Mary Anne Carter, Bob Graham, Bill Helmich, Chris Korge, Ellen Friedin, Briwn Crowley, John Wehrung, Peter Antonacci, Cindy Graves, Mike Hamby, Scott Peelen, Ron Gunzburger, Susan Glickman, Sarah Bascom, Kevin King, Greg Turbeville, Darryl Paulson, Stephanie Kunkel, Chip Case, Richard DeNapoli, David Beattie, Gayle Andrews, Paula Dockery, Jon Mills, Fred Karlinsnky, Robert Wexler, Nels Kingston,Mark Zubaly, Marty Fiorentino, Donna Arduin, George Riley, Slater Bayliss

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 7, 2016 11:49am]


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