President Donald Trump holds a five point lead over former Vice President Joe Biden in Florida’s 15th Congressional District, according to a new survey from St. Pete Polls released Friday.
That lead is nearly half Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton four years ago when he bested her in the district by nine points, 52% to 43%.
It’s more bad news for Trump who is consistently polling behind Biden in statewide polls and shows another region along the I-4 corridor where he is underperforming compared to four years ago.
The district’s demographics show Trump should, strictly based on data, being performing better than he did in 2016.
Both parties’ voter registration share shrunk from 2016 to 2020, but it did more so for Democrats. Democrats had a 35.9% share of the district four years ago. That dropped to 35.1% in 2020. Meanwhile, Republicans dropped just one tenth of a point in voter registration from 35.4% to 35.3% this year, meaning they went from a one tenth point deficit to a two tenths point advantage.
Further, the share of active voters — those who have voted in an election in the last four years — increased significantly for Republicans since 2016. Four years ago just 35.3% of GOP voters were active. That grew almost five points to 40.2% this year. Democratic participation also increased, but not by as much. Active Democratic voters grew less than two points from 35.1% four years ago to 36.7% this year.
Unlike Hillsborough County where Trump is losing more to Biden than he did to Clinton, and Pinellas where he is losing to Biden despite having previously carried the county, Trump is claiming more crossover party appeal than Biden.
While 80% of Democrats polled in the district support Biden, 16% said they were voting for Trump. But only 11% of Republican voters are breaking for Biden while 86% of GOP voters support the President.
However, Trump is losing ground in the district among independent voters who are breaking for Biden 50% to 46%.
Not surprisingly, Trump has an overwhelming lead among White voters, which make up 63% of the district’s electorate, 61% to 36%. Black voters overwhelmingly support Biden, but less so than in other areas around the state where Trump is struggling to get into double-digit support. The split in CD 15 is 81% for Biden to 15% for Trump.
In a sign that Trump is making ground among suburban white women, a group he was recently mocked for begging them to “like me,” more women in CD 15 than men support the President. Trump claims 52% support among women in the poll compared to 45% for Biden. Only 48% of men support the President, while 47% support Biden.
CD 15, which includes parts of Hillsborough, Lake and Polk counties, also breaks from state surveys among age demographics. CD 15 voters 18 to 49 support Biden at 57% to 41% among 18-29 year olds and 52% to 45.5% among 30-49 year olds. Meanwhile, Trump leads among those 50 and up, at 57% to 39% for the 50-69 cohort and at 52% to 43% among those 70 and older.
While demographic breakdowns show bright spots for Trump in the district, the overall performance comparison to four years ago follows trends that could spell trouble for Trump’s reelection.
For Trump to win Florida’s crucial 29 electoral votes in what is likely the nation’s most important swing state, he needs to maintain performance levels in counties he won in 2016 and make ground in areas he lost in order to compensate for potential seeped votes elsewhere.
That effort is most on display in South Florida where Trump has been campaigning hard for the Hispanic vote.
Yet the I-4 corridor is showing signs efforts there may be falling short. A St. Pete Polls survey also out this week showed Trump losing by more than 13 points to Biden in Pinellas County where he won against Hillary Clinton by just over 1% four years ago.
Likewise in Hillsborough County, a St. Pete Polls survey earlier this month showed Biden leading 55% to 42%. Clinton only won that county in 2016 with 52% of the vote.