A poll released Wednesday has Donald Trump firmly in first place in the state of Florida with 47.6 percent of support from likely Republican voters.
Sen.[crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] follows in second with 16.3 percent, while Florida’s own Sen. [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore] is in third with 11.1 percent, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush polled fourth with 9.5 percent of support. No other candidate polled above five percent.
This isn’t the first poll showing Trump in the lead in the Sunshine State — a recent one had Trump at 31 percent with Rubio and Bush fighting for third place. Florida’s March 15 primary is a winner-take-all state, and while this might bolster “GOP establishment” candidates Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, it seems to be backfiring.
“Not only has he increased his lead, Mr. Trump’s favorability ratings among Republicans are now ahead of his competitors by a substantial margin,” said Kevin Wagner, associate professor of political science at Florida Atlantic University. Wagner is also a research fellow at FAU’s Business and Economics Polling Initiative, the organization that conducted the Jan. 15-18 poll. (RELATED: Florida Atlantic University Is Still The Worst Place In America To Attend College)
He told the Tampa Bay Times, “Not only has he increased his lead, Mr. Trump’s favorability ratings among Republicans are now ahead of his competitors by a substantial margin.”
In a hypothetical general election matchup against Hillary Clinton, Trump leads 47.1 percent to 44.3 percent. Bush also defeats Clinton in a head to head matchup 45 percent to 42 percent, while the former secretary of state is nearly tied with Rubio.
Sanders’ surge in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire is not evident in Florida, with Clinton leading 62.2 percent to 25.9 percent.
The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent.