A new poll out by Monmouth University shows Florida Sen. [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore] closing the gap in his home state on front-runner Donald Trump.
The real estate billionaire leads Rubio 38 to 30, according to Monmouth, which polled 403 likely voters from March 3-6. Texas Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] and Ohio Gov. John Kasich registered 17 percent and 10 percent in the poll, respectively.
The eight point gap is significantly smaller than other recent polls which showed Trump far ahead of the rest of the field. A Quinnipiac poll released last month had Trump leading Rubio 44 to 28.
That’s good news for Rubio, who desperately needs to win his home state and its 99 delegates if he is to remain competitive.
Rubio has won only two contests so far this primary season and is far behind Trump and Cruz in terms of delegates. Trump has 384 delegates, Cruz has 300 and Rubio has 151.
Rubio can take cautious optimism in another Monmouth poll result.
He leads 48 to 23 among those who have already voted, the poll shows. But with a sample size of 72 early voters, the margin of error for that cohort would be relatively large.
Among those who have yet to vote, Trump leads 42 to 26. But he has underperformed polls in several states recently.
He underperformed in caucuses held Saturday in Kansas, Kentucky and Maine. He also underperformed in Louisiana’s primary where he saw a massive lead among early voters narrow to less than four percentage points by the time all votes were cast.