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Kevin Cate: How Marco Rubio could win Florida with Donald Trump at 40 percent

There is a reason Marco Rubio is acting like Donald Trump.


If you believe averages of Real Clear Politics (RCP), with 306,619 GOP mail votes cast, Trump, polling at 40.3 percent, is dominating Rubio, polling at 20.8 percent, at 123,566 to 63,776 mail votes.

Let’s assume turnout pops and 2,000,000 Republicans vote in the primary here, that’s 15.3 percent of the ballot already locked down.

So let’s talk about the remaining 1,693,381 votes up for grabs.

If Trump maintains his 40 percent, Rubio would need to win ~ 43.5 percent of all outstanding votes from this morning through Election Day (736,224 +1).

In 2012, Mitt Romney, with all the momentum in the world, was only RCP averaging about 42 percent of the vote right before Election Day and ended up winning 46.4 percent of all votes counted. But stay with me.

With current RCP averages Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush (I know), Ben Carson, John Kasich, and “other” are pulling about 585,909 or 35 percent of the outstanding votes. To cobble together a winning number, Rubio would need to draw about 65 percent from all of these outstanding votes.

Add in the extra 4.3 percent (72,815 outstanding) not in RCP average (undecided or other, presumably), and he needs to pull a healthy 58 percent (or thereabouts) of current RCP non-Trump outstanding votes.

But, we all know that’s just not going to happen.

Kasich isn’t going anywhere until Ohio, so strip away 84,669 (5 percent) outstanding votes. Carson, depending on his laundry situation, will pull in at least 4 percent, so throw 67,735 votes in the crazy bin, in 2012, 1.3 percent of Floridians voted for a suspended campaign or other — there go another 22,013 votes.

That’s 174,417 outstanding votes entirely unavailable to Rubio.

Which leaves Cruz and his 267,554 (15.8 percent RCP) projected outstanding votes. If, by some miracle, Cruz loses Texas tonight, and every single one of his voters go to Rubio from today on, that would still only get Rubio to 683,553, or 116,448 short of his win number with Trump maintaining his 40 percent.

Throw Rubio the bonus 4.3 percent not in RCP average, and he still loses by 43,633.

All of this should feel eerily familiar to Marco Rubio. Trump’s people are basically his people from 2010. Rubio is being Marco “Rubioed” by Trump.

So, there is a how for Rubio with Trump at 40 percent, but it’s also impossible.

Rubio needs Trump voters. And that is why he’s embarrassing himself on TV.

But it won’t work.

Donald Trump will win Florida’s GOP primary March 15.


Kevin Cate owns, a public relations firm, and is a media adviser to former Gov. Charlie Crist. You can reach him at

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