Clinton’s Florida Lead Continues to Grow

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest Florida poll finds Hillary Clinton’s lead in the state continuing to tick up. She’s at 46% to 42% for Donald Trump, with Gary Johnson at 5%, and Jill Stein at 1%. When PPP last polled the state two weeks ago, Clinton’s advantage was 45/43.  In a head to head, Clinton’s lead over Trump grows to 5 points at 49/44.

Trump was already unpopular in Florida but after the revelations of the last week his favorability numbers have cratered in the state. On our last poll he had a net -11 rating (42/53) and that’s declined by another 11 points to where it’s now -22 (37/59). Clinton, on the other hand, has seen a slight improvement from 43/53 up to 44/51.

It seems like Trump’s last ditch effort to revive his campaign might be trying to use Bill Clinton’s past accused actions against his wife, but we find that voters in Florida are likely to firmly reject that line of attack. Only 35% of voters think it’s fair to hold Hillary responsible for the behavior of her husband, to 57% who say that’s unfair. That line of argument might play well with Trump’s hardcore base, but it’s not likely to help him win over many new converts.

One thing that’s helping Clinton’s prospects in Florida is that voters say 52-43 they’d rather have another four years of Barack Obama as President than the sharp change of direction that a Trump presidency would represent. Undecided voters, by a 29 point margin, would rather have Obama than Trump. Those folks don’t like Hillary Clinton or else they’d already be voting for her, but it seems they might go Clinton, or they might go third party, or they might stay home. But they’re not likely to move to Trump, who literally not a single undecided voter in our poll said they had a positive opinion of.

There’s been some surprise that the bottom hasn’t fallen out on Trump even more than it already has this week. Here are some findings that explain why Trump’s not seeing a greater decline in support:

-84% of Trump voters think that Hillary Clinton should be in prison, to only 6% who disagree with that notion. If you hate the opposing candidate so much you think she should be in jail, you’re probably not jumping ship.

-Alex Jones floated the notion this week that Hillary Clinton is actually a demon, and 40% of Trump voters say that they really do think Clinton is a demon to only 42% who dismiss that idea. This measurement pretty clearly shows that 40% of Trump’s base is the InfoWars crowd, so they’re not going to be too dissuaded by allegations of sexual misconduct.

-We’ve talked all year about how there’s a cult like aspect to Trump’s following, and this finding might show it most of all: despite everything that’s come out in the last week, 75% of Trump voters say they think that he respects women to only 9% who don’t believe he does. Again, if you’re willing to dismiss all the facts in front of you to the contrary, you’re probably going to stay on board through election day.

-One thing that gives motivation to 38% of Trump voters in Florida is that they think the country is inherently better off with a man as President, regardless of this year’s candidates. It seems safe to say the folks who subscribe to that school of thought are unbothered by the last week of Trump revelations.

Clinton’s a stronger favorite now- both nationally and in Florida- than she’s ever been. But the above mentioned reasons are why she’s not up by double digits and seems unlikely to get to that point regardless of how many more bad news cycles Trump has between now and election day.

Other notes from Florida:

-The good news about the sexual misconduct news cycle for Donald Trump is that it’s at least taken some of the attention off his taxes. 58% of Floridians think Trump should release his tax returns, to only 29% who don’t think it’s necessary for him to do so. Only 38% of voters think he pays his fair share of taxes, and only 35% think he’s as rich as he claims to be. 46% of Floridians think they personally pay more in federal income taxes than Trump, to only 36% who think he pays more.

-Trump’s continued insinuations about voter fraud are having a definite impact on his supporters. 75% of them think that if Hillary Clinton wins the election it will be because it was rigged for her, to only 15% who believe a Clinton win would be because she received more votes.

-Just 22% of Floridians think Donald Trump is a role model for children, to 63% who say he isn’t. Even among his own voters just 49% claim he’s a good role model with 23% saying that he isn’t, and 29% taking no position on the issue either way.

-One final note on the Presidential race, we tested Ken Bone as a hypothetical independent candidate and he gets 4%. He can’t quite match Gary Johnson’s 5%, but he’s at least doing better than the 1% standing Jill Stein has.

-In the US Senate race Marco Rubio leads with 44% to 38% for Patrick Murphy, and 6% for Paul Stanton. In a head to head, Rubio’s advantage is 48-43.

-In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, Rick Scott has the best approval numbers we’ve ever found for him with 45% of voters giving him good marks to 38% who disapprove. There’s nothing that helps an unpopular politician’s approval ratings like coming off as a strong leader during a natural disaster. Bill Nelson with a +14 approval rating at 40/26 is still the state’s most popular politician as ranked by net approval though. Despite his advantage for reelection, Rubio comes in last at 39/45.

-Finally we find in these divisive times that there’s one thing that pulls voters together across party lines: pulling for the Cubs. 35% of Floridians want the Cubs to win the World Series, compared to only 23% pulling for all the other remaining teams combined. The Dodgers are second at 11%, and the Indians and Blue Jays each come in at 6%. Democrats (39% pulling for the Cubs to 20% for everyone else put together) and Republicans (32% pulling for the Cubs to 27% for everyone else put together) agree on this one.

Full results here

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