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Poll: Donald Trump ups approval in Florida, leads against most Democrats

Joe Biden easily leads Dems, deadlocks Trump 50-50

President Donald Trump‘s approval rating has improved in Florida, and Republicans have reason to think that in Florida he could beat any of the Democrats running to oust him, according to a new poll released by Florida Atlantic University.

In the new survey, the best Democratic showing against Trump comes from former Vice President Joe Biden: they tie at 50 percent each. Trump leads U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont 51-49, though that’s within the poll’s margin of error. Other Democrats tested against Trump fall to him by 4 to 6 percentage points.

Among those Democrats, Biden has a commanding lead toward Florida’s Democratic presidential primary, favored by 39 percent of Florida Democratic voters, compared with 12 percent support apiece for Sanders and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

The Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative poll of 1,007 Florida registered voters was conducted May 16-19. Pollsters said the poll has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Trump’s approval rating among Florida voters rose to 47 percent in the poll, up from 44 percent in the FAU BEPI’s poll in March.

Trump also had a 44 percent disapproval rating in the new poll.

“President Trump’s approval ratings in Florida have remained fairly steady across our polling, and he continues to have a strong base of support in this state,” Kevin Wagner, professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of the initiative, stated in a news release. “Former Vice President Joe Biden does well across the board in Florida, and his strength among moderate Democrats appears largely unchallenged so far.”

Trump essentially has no Republican primary challengers, at least according to Florida Republican voters surveyed. FAU asked Florida registered Republican voters about two hypothetical one-on-0ne matchups and one actual one-0n-one matchup. Florida’s Favorite Son U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio managed just 5 percent against the president’s 85 percent. Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich managed just 2 percent. The only Republican actually running against Trump, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, barely registered, getting 1 percent.

The same can be said of the vast majority of Democratic presidential nominees tested by the FAU poll in Florida.

Biden’s 27-point lead over Sanders and Warren came in a 21-candidate Democratic field that FAU tested with Florida voters.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg placed fourth, with 9 percent; U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, fifth, with 7 percent; and former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, sixth, with 5 percent. Everyone else included in the survey was below the margin of error, with 2 percent or less: Cory Booker, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mike Gravel, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Wayne Messam, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.

Recently announced Democratic candidates U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were not included in the new FAU poll.

“Even though Joe Biden has a substantial lead among the Democrats, with almost 10 months to go before the Florida Democratic presidential primary, there is still plenty of time for the other candidates to make up ground,” Monica Escaleras, director of the FAU BEPI, stated.

Sanders lone bright spot was as a leader among young voters. In the 18-29-year-old range, he drew 25 percent, with Biden taking 15 percent. But Biden held off Sanders in the 35-49 age bracket, 21 percent to 15 percent, and trounced him in the 50-64 age bracket, 56 percent to 5 percent, and in the 65 and older bracket, 53 percent to 8 percent.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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