Florida Down on Bush, Rubio Campaigns

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s new Florida poll finds that a plurality of voters in the state think that both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio should drop out.

Only 40% of voters in the state think Bush should keep running, compared to 47% who think he should drop out. And the numbers are similar for Rubio with just 42% believing he should continue on with his campaign to 48% who believe he should end it.

The lack of enthusiasm for Bush and Rubio’s candidacies is reflected in the Republican primary numbers in the state. Donald Trump has a wide lead at 28% with Ben Carson second at 17%. Bush (13%) and Rubio (10%) can only achieve 3rd and 4th place standings in their home state. Ted Cruz at 9%, Carly Fiorina at 7%, and John Kasich at 5% round out the candidates with any meaningful level of support.

Beyond that group Mike Huckabee’s at 3%, Chris Christie and Scott Walker at 2%, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum at 1%, and Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Rand Paul are all at less than 1%.

Bush’s position with the GOP electorate in Florida is so weak that he even trails Trump 55/38 when the two are matched up head to head. Trump’s 56/35 favorability rating comes in a tick ahead of Bush’s 55/36 favorability. When we polled the state earlier this year Bush led the Republican field at 25%, and boasted a 66/24 rating.

The news is not quite as dim for Rubio. His 73/20 favorability makes him the most broadly liked of the Republicans in the state, and he edges out Trump 49/46 if voters had to pick just between the two of them. His support has declined from earlier this year too, but only by 5 points from its previous 15% standing as opposed to Bush’s 12 point descent.

Other notes:

-Carson’s 72/13 favorability leads the way among candidates not from Florida. He’s followed by Fiorina at 63/14, Cruz at 56/24, and Huckabee at 51/34. Carson is also the most frequently named second choice of GOP voters in the state at 16% to 11% for Trump and 10% for Rubio.

-Florida doesn’t break the very long string in our polling of Chris Christie (38/48) and Rand Paul (27/48) being under water on their favorability with GOP primary voters everywhere we do a poll. For Christie this trend has lasted for most of the year, for Paul it’s just since the debate last month. Tomorrow’s debate may be more important for him in reviving his candidacy than anyone else in the field.

-Trump continues to lead the GOP field within all the demographic groups we look at. He gets 34% with seniors, 30% with men, 29% with ‘somewhat conservative’ voters, 27% with ‘very conservative’ ones, 27% with women, 26% with moderates, and 24% with younger voters. We continue to find there’s really just not that much variation in his support from one demographic group to another.

On the Democratic side, Florida continues to be a pretty strong state for Hillary Clinton. She’s getting 55% to 18% for Bernie Sanders, 17% for Joe Biden, 2% for Martin O’Malley, and 1% each for Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb. Compared to our March poll in the state Clinton is down 3, Biden is up 3, and Sanders is up 15. But even though Clinton’s lead is not quite as substantial as it was earlier in the year, these numbers do provide more evidence of strength for her in the south.

The numbers continue to indicate that if Biden enters the race it will hurt Clinton a lot more than it does Sanders. 54% of Biden voters say Clinton is their second choice, to 14% who say Sanders is. If you reallocate Biden’s voters to their second choice, Clinton’s lead over Sanders in the state goes up to 64/21.

Clinton’s hold on the Democratic electorate in Florida is pretty consistent across demographic lines. She’s at 75% with Hispanics,  64% with ‘somewhat liberal’ voters, 58% with women, 57% with younger voters, 56% with ‘very liberal’ voters, 54% with seniors, 52% with whites, 52% with men, and 50% with moderates. The one group she’s below 50% with has actually been one of her strongest in most states- African Americans with whom she gets just 48% due to a 34% showing for Biden.

The general election numbers in Florida are generally good for the GOP. The strongest Republican in the state is Carson, who leads Clinton 49/40 and Sanders 48/33. Carson easily has the best net favorability rating with the overall electorate- +20 at 45/25. The second strongest polling Republican is actually Trump who leads her by 6 at 48/42 and who has a similar 47/41 lead over Sanders. Biden polls a tick closer to Trump, trailing by 4 at 47/43. Also leading Clinton by decent sized margins are Fiorina (46/41) and Rubio (48/43). Fiorina (37/31) and Rubio (44/43) join Carson in having positive favorabilities with the full voter pool.

The other general election match ups with Clinton are close. She trails Jeb Bush 45/42, with Biden and Sanders down by similar margins as well. Bush’s not polling as well against the Democrats as some of the other Republican candidates is a reflection of his overall unpopularity in the state- only 36% of voters see him positively to 52% who have a negative opinion. Clinton is down 44/41 to Kasich and 45/43 to Walker. The two Republicans who trail Clinton in Florida are Cruz and Huckabee, both at 45/43.

Full results here

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