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Quinnipiac poll: Jeb Bush's lead over other likely GOP candidates shrinks in Florida


Former Gov. Jeb Bush is still the favorite 2016 presidential candidate among Florida Republicans, a new poll says, but he has lost some ground since February.

Bush tops the GOP field at 24 percent, down from 32 percent on Feb. 4, the public-opinion survey by Quinnipiac University found. Rounding out the top three are Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 15 percent and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 12 percent.

Bush would benefit from Walker stays out of the race, the poll indicates, while Rubio would be the beneficiary if Bush doesn't run.

In two other swing states -- Ohio and Pennsylvania -- Bush's popularity is in the single digits. In Ohio, he's tied for third at 8 percent, compared to 10 percent in February. In Pennsylvania, Bush is tied for second place at 9 percent, down from Bush's 12 percent last month.

Bush "can't be happy with his numbers today," Peter A. Brown, the poll's assistant director, said in a statement. "Bush has a lead over the field in his home state of Florida, but it's not anywhere near insurmountable."

By contrast, on the Democratic side, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is far and away the favorite in Florida. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they would vote for her in a primary, followed by Vice President Joe Biden at 11 percent and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 7 percent. Warren has said she's not running, and Biden isn't expected to challenge Clinton.

Only one candidate on either side of the political aisle -- Cruz -- has officially announced he's running, so it's early in the race for polls to mean much. The key constituency for now is deep-pocketed donors who can help a contender amass enough money to launch a serious campaign. Much of the Republican establishment in that demographic has gravitated toward Bush; results from Quinnipiac released earlier this week suggest he is the strongest general-election candidate against Clinton in Florida.