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Mason-Dixon poll: Half of Florida voters want Marco Rubio to run for Senate again

@PatriciaMazzei

Nearly half of Florida voters want U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio to seek re-election, according to a new poll that finds a messy Republican primary field to replace him if he doesn't.

The survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research found 49 percent of respondents -- including 77 percent of Republicans -- think Rubio should run for a second term.

"If he decides to do so, he would clearly be the strongest candidate, as none of the current contenders appears to have caught fire with state voters," pollster J. Brad Coker said in a statement.

More than 40 percent of voters are undecided in the Democratic and Republican primaries. On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter leads U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando by 31-23 percent, with first-time candidate Pam Keith at 3 percent.

On the Republican side, five candidates remain mostly unknown. Sarasota developer Carlos Beruff is ahead with 17 percent, followed by U.S. Rep. David Jolly of Indian Shores with 13 percent, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of Ponte Vedra Beach with 10 percent, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera of Miami with 9 percent and Orlando defense contractor Todd Wilcox with 2 percent.

The poll's error margin is plus-or-minus 5 percentage points. Mason-Dixon surveyed 625 registered voters from May 31-June 2, over-sampling 400 likely Democratic voters and 400 likely Republican voters for the Senate-race questions.

Rubio chose not to run for re-election in order to run for president. But he's no longer vying for the White House, and he's got no clear successor. Candidates can qualify for the race through June 24.

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