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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Poll: Trump leads Rubio by 8 percentage points in Florida

7

March

Monmouth Florida:

Trump - 38

Rubio - 30

Cruz - 17

Kasich - 10

From a news release: Trump has support from 38% of likely primary voters compared to 30% who back Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz earns 17% support and John Kasich has 10%.  Rubio actually leads Trump by 48% to 23% among the nearly 1-in-5 voters who have already cast their ballots in this “early vote” state. Trump has a 42% to 26% lead among those who have yet to vote.

Rubio leads Trump 41% to 30% in the southern part of the state. Trump has a significant 44% to 22% advantage in Florida’s central region.  The race is closer in the northern tier of the state, with Trump at 36% and Rubio at 32%.  Nearly one-fifth of the likely electorate is non-white, mostly Cuban or other Hispanic.  This group appears to prefer Rubio over Trump, but the sample size is too small to report exact percentages.

“Rubio is within shooting distance in his home state with a week to go in this volatile nomination contest,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. “It is telling, though, that Rubio is not even the clear victor in a direct face off with Trump.  There goes the argument that Rubio would triumph if only it were a two person race.”

With all the discussion about hands in this election, Monmouth decided to test how Rubio and Cruz would do mano a mano against Trump.  Trump (47%) and Rubio (45%) are basically tied in this hypothetical two person race.  Trump (48%) would potentially have a decided edge over Cruz (40%) in a head to head vote in Florida.

In addition to the 19% of Republican voters who have already cast their ballots, 38% say they are completely decided on their candidate choice before they head to the polls.  Another 25% have a strong preference but are still open to considering other candidates.  One-in-five either have only a slight preference (9%) or are basically undecided (10%).  Trump voters (67%) are more likely to be locked in when compared to supporters of Kasich (59%), Rubio (55%), or Cruz (48%).

If Trump emerges as the GOP nominee, 3-in-4 Florida Republicans (75%) say they would get behind him in a general election against Hillary Clinton.  However, 10% would actually vote for Clinton.  While the following responses were not offered in the poll question itself, 2% volunteer that they would vote 3rd party, 7% say they would not vote at all, and 6% are not sure what they would do.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 3 to 6, 2016 with 403 Florida voters likely to vote in the Republican presidential primary.  This sample as a margin of error of +4.9 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

[Last modified: Monday, March 7, 2016 2:30pm]

    

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