Trump Leads Rubio In Florida By Double Digits

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Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Donald Trump is leading Florida Sen. [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore] in the Sunshine State by double digits, according to a poll released Thursday.

The Quinnipiac University poll has Trump in the lead with 44 percent, Rubio following behind with 28 percent, and Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] in third with 12 percent. In fourth is Gov. John Kasich with 12 percent, and Carson is in last with 4 percent.

“Florida is the single biggest prize of the primary season because it is the largest state to allocate its delegates on a winner-take-all basis,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “If Sen. Rubio can’t win in his own home state, it is difficult to see how he can win elsewhere.”

He added, “Only registered Republicans may vote here, which raises the question of whether the flood of new voters Donald Trump seemed to bring to earlier contests will be able to participate in Florida.”

Likewise in Nevada, only registered Republicans were allowed to participate in the caucus. VIDEO: Chuck Todd: Hillary Will ‘Long For The Days Of Ken Starr When Running Against Trump’

The Quinnipiac poll shows that Trump leads among a variety of voters. He is in first with men and women, tea party supporters, white evangelicals, folks who consider themselves very conservative, and moderates. The only group he doesn’t lead in is those with a college degree. Rubio gets 37 percent of their support — Trump 31 percent.

Brown said, “A third of likely primary voters say a candidate who is a strong leader is key to their choice and 66 percent of them support Trump.”

Florida voters thought both Rubio and Trump were the most honest/trustworthy candidates, each tied at 30 percent.

The poll was of 705 likely Republican primary voters, with a margin of error of 3.7 percent.

The most important issue for the primary voters was the economy and jobs, with 51 percent saying they believe Trump is best to handle the subject. Among those who list immigration as their most important issue, the New York real estate developer leads Rubio 66 percent to 12 percent.