If the Republican presidential race came down to only two candidates in Florida -- Donald Trump and Marco Rubio -- Trump would still get the better of Rubio, according to a new poll.
The Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found that Trump bests Rubio 52-38 percent in a head-to-head match-up. Two other Florida polls this week showed Rubio trailing Trump in the existing field of five candidates. PPP found that as well: Trump leads with 45 percent, followed by Rubio (25 percent), Ted Cruz (10 percent), John Kasich (8 percent) and Ben Carson (5 percent).
A second Florida poll Thursday shows Donald Trump besting native son Marco Rubio in the Republican presidential race. But this survey, privately funded by Associated Industries of Florida, shows Rubio trailing Trump by 7 percentage points -- instead of the 16-point difference in a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier in the day.
The AIF poll finds Trump ahead 34-27 percent, with Ted Cruz drawing 17 percent of the vote, and John Kasich and Ben Carson each at 5 percent. Twelve percent of respondents were undecided.
"What is in common with the Q poll released this morning, is that while this survey has Trump with half the lead they reported, we do have Rubio at the same level of support as in their survey," Ryan Tyson wrote in an email disseminating the results to the trade group's members.
The underpinnings of both polls are similar: Trump leads among men and voters who want a "strong leader" (in the Quinnipiac poll) or someone with a "strong national defense" platform (in the AIF poll).
The main difference seems to lie in how the polls treat voters with a lower propensity to cast primary ballots, with Quinnipiac giving them more weight than AIF. Republicans have seen unusually high turnouts in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada; the question is whether that will also happen in Florida, which closes off its primary to independent voters and does not allow same-day voter registration.
Quinnipiac lets respondents self-identify if they plan to vote in the GOP primary, whereas AIF calls respondents based on their past Florida voter history, identifying them as "likely" voters off the voter file.
Trounces. Crushes. Pummels. Pick a dramatic action verb: This is what Donald Trump does to Marco Rubio in Florida, according to a new presidential poll that shows Trump is more popular than he’s ever been in Rubio’s home state.
The survey, by Quinnipiac University, shows Trump leading Rubio 44-28 percent less than three weeks before Florida’s March 15 primary. And voters — tens of thousands of them — are already casting ballots by mail, which leaves Rubio very little time to make up the deficit against the Republican front-runner.
“If Sen. Rubio can’t win in his own home state, it is difficult to see how he can win elsewhere,” said a statement from Peter A. Brown, the poll’s assistant director.
Florida’s winner-take-all primary awards all 99 delegates to the first-place candidate, making it the biggest single prize early on in the race to secure the Republican nomination.
Rubio adviser Todd Harris rebuffed the poll, saying Quinnipiac numbers are “way wrong.”
Media needs to chill. The FL Q poll #'s are way wrong. We are going to win Florida. Period. Take it to the bank.
Gov. Rick Scott hasn't written off one of his famous predecessor's chances of becoming president.
Scott, in Washington to deliver an address on reforming hospital pricing practices at the American Enterprise Institute, put on his politics hat after the talk.
Scott, governor since 2011, said it's too soon to give up on former Gov. Jeb Bush despite his failure to gain traction in polls.
"I still think it's early," Scott told the Miami Herald. "I mean, we haven't even done the first primary yet."
Scott said that Bush "was a very successful governor" when he headed the state from 1999 to 2007, noting in particular his education reforms.
"We're at a 12-year high in our K-12 graduation rate," Scott said.
Adding that "Jeb is working hard," Scott said, "The person that works the hardest generally wins."
Despite praising Bush's record in Florida, Scott declined to endorse him. Neither is he endorsing -- yet -- fellow Floridian Marco Rubio, the first-term U.S. senator, nor any of the other Republican presidential hopefuls.
"Like a lot of voters in Florida, I'm watching the candidates," the governor said.
Four days before the Feb.1 Iowa caucuses, Bush tallied just 4 percent in a NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll of that state's Republican voters released Thursday. He was far behind businessman Donald Trump and U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio of Florida, while also trailing neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
Bush is faring better in New Hampshire, which will hold its primary Feb. 9, according to a poll released Thursday by Suffolk University. Bush broke out of the single digits with 11 percent, putting him in a second-place tie with Cruz, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Rubio, with all four men well behind Trump's 27 percent standing.
In addition to Bush, Scott said he has personal relationships with Rubio, along with Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie through the Republican Governors Association.
Scott criticized the Republican National Committee for having scheduled just nine presidential debates this year.
"I wish the national party hadn't limited the number of debates and limited the locations," he said.
The RNC is weighing three additional possible Republican presidential debates.
The March 10 GOP debate will be at the University of Miami, nine days after Super Tuesday, when 14 states will hold Republican primaries or caucuses. Florida will hold its primary on March 15.
Scott declined to comment directly on Trump's decision to skip Thursday night's Fox News debate because of his ongoing feud with Megyn Kelly, one of its moderators.
"Every candidate's got to think about what's the best forum for them to get their message out, whether it's debates, whether it's town halls," Scott said.
There are two Republican races going on in Iowa ahead of Monday's caucuses, according to a new poll: The race for first place between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and the race for fourth place among a gaggle of unpopular candidates. In the middle? Marco Rubio.
The Quinnipiac University poll shows the Florida senator a distant third to Cruz and Trump but further ahead of the rest of the field: Trump is at 31 percent, Cruz at 29 percent and Rubio at 13 percent, with no other GOP contender about 7 percent.
Jeb Bush received 4 percent support, behind Ben Carson (7 percent) and Rand Paul (5 percent). The poll's error margin is 3.8 percentage points.
"One week before the caucuses gather, the question is which candidate has the best field organization," Peter A. Brown, the poll's assistant director, said in a statement. "If the events of the last two weeks haven't moved the needle, one wonders what would change in the next six days."
Florida voters are undecided about who they want to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate, according to a new state robopoll.
But of those supporting a candidate early on in the campaign, Democrats prefer U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando to U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter, 27-20 percent, the Florida Atlantic University survey shows. Republicans like U.S. Rep. David Jolly of Indian Shores, who received 28 percent support, over U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of Ponte Vedra Beach and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who drew 8 percent support each.
How many voters remain undecided? Forty-five percent of Democrats and a full 50 percent of Republicans. The primaries won't take place until August.
"While it is very early, the race between Congressmen Patrick Murphy and Allen Grayson looks to be competitive," Kevin Wagner, an FAU associate professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of the Business and Economics Polling Initiative, said in a statement. "While Grayson has a lead in our poll, the large number of undecideds make that lead tenuous at best. Grayson's advantage may simply be greater statewide name recognition at this point. This appears to be a wide open primary contest.
"In the Republican Senate primary, Congressman David Jolly is out to a substantial early lead, but with half of the polled voters undecided, this race is far from over."
The poll, conducted Jan. 15-18, surveyed 371 likely Democratic voters and 345 likely Republican voters, with an error margin of 5 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.
Florida is still Donald Trump country, according to a new robopoll that finds the real-estate magnate and part-time West Palm Beach resident drawing 48 percent support from likely Republican presidential primary voters.
The Florida Atlantic University survey found Trump a whopping 32 percentage points ahead of his nearest competitor, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who drew 16 percent support. In third and fourth place respectively were Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (11 percent) and former Gov. Jeb Bush (10 percent).
The results show Trump's and Cruz's popularity continuing to grow in Florida. Here's how they've changed since the last time the university polled, in November:
Trump: 48% (+16)
Cruz: 16% (+6)
Rubio: 11% (-7)
Bush: 10% (+1)
"At this point, Donald Trump is simply crushing the opposition in the Florida Republican primary," Kevin Wagner, an FAU associate professor of political science and a research fellow of the university's Business and Economics Polling Initiative, said in a statement. "Not only has he increased his lead, Mr. Trump's favorability ratings among Republicans are now ahead of his competitors by a substantial margin."
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds a wide lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 62-26 percent, but the contest has tightened 8 percentage points since November.
Clinton and Trump were the most favorably viewed candidates among respondents, and Cruz the one they viewed least favorably. Trump leads even among Hispanics, who have dropped their support for Rubio and the bilingual Bush. In potential head-to-head match-ups, Clinton trails 47-43 percent and Bush 45-42 percent, ties with Rubio at 46 percent and leads Cruz 47-42 percent.
The poll of 383 likely GOP voters and 386 likely Democratic voters was conducted January 15-18 and has an error margin of 4.9 percentage points.
A survey published Wednesday by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found Donald Trump still leading -- but not growing his lead -- among Republicans in New Hampshire, which holds the nation's first primary Feb. 9.
Trump drew 29 percent support, followed by Marco Rubio (15 percent), Chris Christie (11), John Kasich (11), Jeb Bush (10) and Ted Cruz (10).
The Rubio-Christie-Kasich-Bush traffic jam among more moderate conservatives is helping Trump, according to the polling firm. If it were a three-way GOP race among Trump, Rubio and Cruz, the split would be 36-34-19 percent.
"If the Republican establishment really wants to stop Donald Trump in New Hampshire it might require some more people dropping out of the race," PPP President Dean Debnam said in a statement. "Four different establishment candidates all polling in double digits is what's allowing Trump to have such a big lead in the state."
Trump's popularity has stagnated: It was 28 percent in October and 27 percent in December. Bush gained the most support since early December, moving up to 10 percent from 5 percent, followed by Rubio, who climbed to 15 percent from 11 percent. Bush's favorability -- a measure of how much voters like him -- has also improved.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders in a tight race, 47-44 percent.
The error margin is 4.3 percentage points for Republicans and 4.5 percentage points for Democrats.