Latest poll of Florida: Hillary Clinton 48%, Donald Trump 39%; Marco Rubio 48%, Patrick Murphy 43%

Clinton-v-Rubio

Hillary Clinton holds a nine-point lead over Donald Trump in a Monmouth University Poll of Florida.

Per a release: The poll also finds incumbent Marco Rubio leading either of his two main Democratic challengers to retain his U.S. Senate seat, although by varying margins. Rubio’s endorsement of Trump could pose a few problems for him in November and his late decision to run for re-election is seen primarily as a move to boost his future presidential prospects.

Among Sunshine State voters likely to participate in November’s presidential election, 48 percent currently support Clinton and 39 percent back Trump. Another 6 percent intend to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson and 1 percent support Green Party candidate Jill Stein, with 5 percent who are undecided.

Among self-identified Democrats, 92 percent support Clinton while 4 percent choose Trump and just 3 percent back a third-party candidate. Trump has less support among his own party base, with 79 percent of Republicans who back their nominee, compared to 12 percent who support Clinton and 5 percent who back another candidate. Clinton leads Trump among independents by 47 percent to 30 percent, with 11 percent supporting Johnson and 2 percent backing Stein.

Clinton has an overwhelming lead among Hispanic, black and Asian voters who make up about one-third of the electorate, garnering 69 percent of this group’s vote to 19 percent for Trump. Trump leads among white voters by 51 percent to 37 percent, but there is a significant gender split. Among white men, Trump has a 64 percent to 24 percent advantage. Among white women, Clinton leads 49 percent to 39 percent. There is no difference by educational attainment, with Trump ahead among white voters without a college degree (51 percent to 39 percent) as well as white college graduates (50 percent to 36 percent).

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Clinton’s 50-point lead among non-white voters is similar to Barack Obama’s advantage over Mitt Romney with this group four years ago (49 points according to the 2012 Florida exit poll). Trump’s 14-point lead among white voters is smaller than Romney’s 24-point win with this group. This difference is due mainly to a widening gender gap. Trump is doing somewhat better than Romney did among white men (+40 points compared to +32), but much worse among white women (-10 points compared to +17).

“The gender split among white voters in Florida is huge. Men are drawn to Trump’s message while women are not. These offsetting factors give Clinton the edge,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Florida voters hold an equally negative view of both major party nominees. Just over 1-in-3 voters (36 percent) have a favorable opinion of Clinton while 50 percent hold an unfavorable view of her. Likewise, 33 percent have a favorable opinion of Trump while 54 percent hold an unfavorable view of him.

Clinton has a slight edge when it comes to who will better handle key issue areas. On the economy and jobs, 49 percent pick Clinton and 46 percent choose Trump. On handling the threat of terrorism on U.S. soil, 48 percent pick Clinton and 45 percent choose Trump.

Turning to the U.S. Senate race, Marco Rubio currently leads two Democratic members of Congress who are vying to challenge him, although by varying degrees of comfort. Rubio currently holds a small 48 percent to 43 percent edge over Patrick Murphy, with 3 percent saying they will support another candidate. The incumbent’s lead is larger over Alan Grayson at 50 percent to 39 percent, with 5 percent saying they will vote for another candidate.

More Florida voters approve (47 percent) than disapprove (39 percent) of the job Rubio has done in his term as U.S. senator. Also, 40 percent of Florida voters hold a favorable opinion of Rubio and 33 percent have an unfavorable view, with 27 percent expressing no opinion of him personally. Rubio’s Democratic opponents are not as well known. Murphy earns a 22 percent favorable and 10 percent unfavorable rating, with 68 percent having no opinion.

Grayson has a 14 percent favorable and 21 percent unfavorable rating, with 66 percent having no opinion.

Most voters say Rubio’s decision to run for re-election was more to improve his chances for a future presidential run (53 percent) rather than a desire to serve the public (25 percent). Rubio initially said he would not run for re-election but changed his mind after ending his presidential bid.

Rubio’s eventual endorsement of Trump surprised many observers after their heated exchanges during the primary campaign. Most Florida voters (63 percent), though, are actually unaware that Rubio gave his support to Trump and most say this endorsement will not affect their vote either for president (83 percent) or for senator (64 percent). Among the remainder, 11 percent say Rubio’s endorsement will make them less likely to vote for Trump and 5 percent say it makes them more likely. In the Senate race, though, 25 percent say the endorsement actually makes them less likely to vote for Rubio while just 9 percent say it makes them more likely.

“Rubio’s endorsement of Trump could come back to bite him if more voters actually learn about it. It remains to be seen whether the eventual Democratic nominee can turn this to his advantage in the general election campaign,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from August 12 to 15, 2016 with 402 Florida residents likely to vote in the November election. This sample has a margin of error of +4.9 percent.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.



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