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Poll: Trump surging in Florida, 'crushing' GOP rivals

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Jan. 21, 2016 at 12:30 PM
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BOCA RATON, Fla., Jan. 21 (UPI) -- A new poll by Florida Atlantic University shows Donald Trump with more support among likely Republican voters in Florida than all of the other GOP candidates combined.

Trump has surged in Florida to 48 percent among likely Republican voters, jumping 9 percent in the two months since the last FAU poll, when Trump had the support of 36 percent of likely Republican voters. In the September FAU poll, Trump had 31.5 percent.

"At this point, Donald Trump is simply crushing the opposition in the Florida Republican primary," said Dr. Kevin Wagner, a political science professor at FAU. "Not only has he increased his lead, Mr. Trump's favorability ratings among Republicans are now ahead of his competitors by a substantial margin."

The poll showed Trump with a 70 percent favorability rating among Republicans.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, came in a distant second in the FAU poll with about 16 percent support among likely Republican voters.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., came in third with just 11 percent support -- a big drop-off from the fall, when the FAU poll showed him with 19 percent in September and 18 percent in November.

Jeb Bush, a popular former Republican governor of Florida, came in fourth with just 9.5 percent, and Ben Carson was fifth with 3.3 percent, a big change from November when he had 14.5 percent in the FAU poll.

On the Democratic side, the FAU poll shows Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders 62 percent to 30 percent among likely Democratic voters, but support for Clinton appears to be softening slightly in the Sunshine State, and support for Sanders strengthening. In the November FAU poll, Clinton was three points higher, at 65.5 percent, while Sanders had 22 percent. Since September, support for Sanders among Democratic voters in Florida has increased by 11 percent, according to the poll.

In a hypothetical general election match-up, the FAU poll shows Clinton losing to Trump 44 to 47, doing about the same as she did in the same poll in September, but better than in November when she had 41 percent to Trump's 49 percent. Clinton beats Cruz 47-42 and ties with Rubio at 46 percent. However, the poll shows her losing to Jeb Bush 42-45.

The poll was conducted Jan. 15-18 by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative. The polling sample of 383 Democratic and 386 Republican voters was a random selection of registered voters. Data was collected using an interactive voice-response system. The margin of error is +/- 4.9 percentage points.

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