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Monmouth Univ.’s first poll of Florida: Joe Biden holds slight lead in Sunshine State

Biden and Trump remain in a statistical tie in the Sunshine State.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds a 3 or 5 point lead in Florida over President Donald Trump, more evidence of a competitive race in the possible tipping point state.

According to a Monmouth University poll released Tuesday, the former Vice President would net 50% of the vote in the Sunshine State on a high-turnout election day while the President would receive 45% of the vote. At the low end of the turnout model, Biden would keep his lead, but it would fall to 49%-46%.

The poll marks the Monmouth University Polling Institute’s first snapshot of Florida this election cycle.

“The current picture has Biden maintaining a typical Democratic advantage in southern Florida while making notable inroads in other parts of the state,” said Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray.

The margin of error for the poll is 4.7 percentage points, putting the race at a statistical tie.

A poll released earlier Tuesday morning by Florida Atlantic University showed Biden also up 49%-46%. That was a narrower edge for Biden than the last FAU survey in May, which saw Biden ahead 53%-47%.

Among Latinos, Biden leads 58%-32%, better than other polls show. But among seniors, Trump leads 49%-47%, a stronger performance than in other polls. Significant margins of error among both demographics suggest the split could be more pronounced in the Monmouth poll.

Recent polling across the country shows Trump performing better among Hispanics than he did in 2016, and especially so among Hispanics in Florida.

“There has been an influx of residents from Puerto Rico and a growing number of young voters,” Murray said. “These groups tend to be more Democratic, which actually suggests that Trump could be doing slightly better among older Latino voters than he did four years ago.”

Among registered voters, 51% hold an unfavorable view of Trump. Only 41% view the President favorably while 7% remain undecided.

On the COVID-19 pandemic, 53% say Trump has handled outbreaks poorly while 44% say he has handled the pandemic well. But 49% are at least somewhat confident that the President can put the country back on the road to recovery. In that question, he only slightly trails Biden, who had 50% of voters say they were at least somewhat confident in his ability to do the same.

The survey, conducted Sept. 10-13, queried a random sample of 428 registered voters in Florida. That included 166 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephones and 262 contacted by a live interviewer on cell phone lines. The poll was conducted in English and Spanish.

Monmouth’s final poll during the 2016 cycle, also released mid-September, showed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading Trump 46% to 41%.

Written By

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at renzo@floridapolitics.com and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.

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