GOP frontrunner Donald Trump may be focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire at present, but he is already touting results of a new poll in a key swing state. Florida Atlantic University polled likely Republican voters, and almost half of them plan to vote for the businessman.
There’s bad news for one candidate. Likely Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton is mopping the floor with socialist Bernie Sanders—she has a 36 point lead.
How important is the Sunshine State for both candidates?
The Republican winner, determined officially 10 weeks before the presidential election in November, takes all votes. The Democrat nominee will get 246 delegates for the national party convention and the Republican nominee will get 99 delegates.
To vote for the Republican or Democrat, you must be registered with the respective party because Florida is a closed primary state.
FAU announced results in a release on Wednesday:
“A new Florida Atlantic University statewide poll has GOP front runner Donald Trump surging with the support of 48% of likely Republican primary voters and an overall 32 point lead on his closest competitor Ted Cruz (16%.) Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush round out the top tier with 11% and 10% respectively. On the Democrat side, Hillary Clinton maintains a healthy 36 point lead over Bernie Sanders (62% to 26%), but their overall race has tightened 8 points since November and September when Clinton held a 44 point lead. This poll was conducted between January 15-18, 2016.”
The presidential preference primary for Florida will be held March 15. Setting the date months after early state primaries worked to 2012 nominee Mitt Romney’s disadvantage, but 2016, by most pundits’ accounts, is an intriguing cycle because voters either favor outsiders or in Mrs. Clinton’s case, are toying with candidate Sanders who early on was viewed as no threat.
For Republicans, Trump’s dominance has come as a shock to long time insiders as well as many regular party members. In spring, 2015, former Gov. Jeb Bush and current US senator Marco Rubio appeared to have an edge.
Rubio continues to make gains in polls, however, and he has ramped up his presence on social media.
March is still weeks away, and all candidates are eyeing Iowa and New Hampshire. But for any presidential aspirant, Florida is a key swing state delivering, like the state of New York, 29 electoral votes.
FAU provides transparency on polling unlike some other outlets. Interesting tidbits from the latest poll include the fact Trump garners 54 percent of the social bloc politicians label ‘hispanics’ which is higher than his share of the white vote at 48 percent. Perhaps more surprising for some is this:
“Among likely GOP primary voters, Trump is the most favorable at 70%, and has the greatest difference between his positive and negative rating with a +46. Rubio is behind him at a +36, followed by Cruz at +26 and Bush at +2.”
Polls will continue to proliferate ahead of the first primaries set for February, and as with any race, anything can happen between now and then, especially in a cycle as unusual as 2016.
(Filed by Kay B. Day/January 20, 2016)
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