Trump Leads in Florida

A new Viewpoint Florida poll finds Donald Trump leading the GOP presidential race with 27%, followed by Marco Rubio at 16%, Ben Carson at 15%, Ted Cruz at 12% and Jeb Bush at 12%.

Key finding: “Without Bush in the race, Trump has a problem: He gets no added benefit, but Rubio’s support jumps up so that he almost ties the frontrunner, 24-27 percent. The rest of the GOP field is essentially unchanged.”

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  • FuzzyLogik

    No Bush in the race and Rubio still can’t beat Trump. Sounds like a problem for Rubio, not Trump!

    • Wags

      Yes but framed the way you put it, it doesn’t help the media narrative.

      • TracyS711

        It’s pretty amusing to watch the media spin. I saw a headline about Rubio surging in NH, clicked the link and find that he’s in third behind Trump and Carson. Not terrible, but really?

        • GatorLegal1

          Many people assume that the top-polling GOP outsiders (Trump, Carson) will eventually fall, thus leaving the door open for an “establishment” guy like Rubio. However, little we’ve seen since this summer would suggest that is a likely outcome at this point. Trump has maintained his strength with the base, Carson is at or near the top in many polls, and Cruz (another outsider, but current officeholder) has risen to 3rd in many polls. We would need to see a large slice of the GOP electorate (the 50%, 60% currently supporting outsiders) abandon their favorite outsider and switch to an establishment candidate in order for someone like Rubio to have a strong chance of winning the nomination. Again, right now that just doesn’t look too likely, but things could change by Feb or Mar if Trump or Carson implode.

          • TracyS711

            I’m actually one of those who thinks an establishment candidate (probably Rubio) will eventually prevail but the media needs to slow its roll. It’ll happen when it happens but I’ve seen articles referring to him as the front runner which is way too premature.

  • southerndemnut

    I cannot say that I am terribly surprised if most of Bush’s support gets transferred to Rubio if he were to drop out in Florida. Rubio is a sitting US Senator and would then become the favorite son. Most favorite sons are expected to do well in their home states, even in a large complex state like Florida. The bigger question is if Bush drops out does Rubio rise in the same fashion everywhere and would the other establishment candidates, like Christie and Kasich, be able to take advantage of those available votes in other states?

    • embo66

      That was my question, too. Would Rubio’s numbers rise by the same proportion in other states besides Florida if Bush were to drop out?

      Something tells me not . . . at least not yet.

      • southerndemnut

        If Bush were to drop out before Christie and Kasich, Christie could play for establishment votes in the big states especially in the East Coast while Kasich could play for Great Lakes and Midwest states. Especially of the powers-the-be want someone with more substance than Rubio.

    • KurtBusiek

      What an ignominious position. Second-favorite son.

      • Hawkeye

        Third actually. Trump is also from Florida now.

  • TracyS711

    Trump needs to pivot to attacking Rubio and/or Carson now. I know he started in on Carson a bit but he hasn’t unleashed on either like he did Jeb. I don’t know if it was just a personal vendetta against Jeb that was driving that but if he actually wants to win then it’s time to move on from him because his campaign appears to be dead now.

    I will be very disappointed if Trump doesn’t follow my advice.

  • gjetsonpdx

    JMHO, any candidate who cannot carry their home state in the primary has received a knockout punch. But after FL on March 15, more than half the delegates will be awarded, and we’ll have a pretty good idea how scrambled things are (or not).

  • Adam Brown

    This is what I’ve said all along. When Bush/Rubio drops out, 100% of their voters will go over to the remaining Floridian. That immediately pushes the remaining Floridian into the top tier along with Trump and Carson, both of whom have already maxed out their support.

    • Calbengoshi

      According to the poll, of the 12% of Florida GOP voters supporting Bush, only 2/3 of them (8%) would start to support Rubio. I think the switch from Bush to Rubio would be smaller in other states. For example, I think Kasich would inherit many of the Bush supporters in NH, OH, MI and PA, and I think that Christie also would get some of them in certain states.

      • Adam Brown

        That might all be true if Christie and Kasich stick around, but I’m not so sure they will be around long haul. And eventually, the more serious establishment voters will coalesce around a candidate. They won’t waste their vote to give Christie 2% and let Trump win.

        • Calbengoshi

          Even if one accepts as correct your assumption (which I consider to be very dubious) that all of the “more serious establishment voters” who currently support Jeb will end up supporting Rubio, that still leaves the voters who are supporting Jeb who are not among the “more serious establishment voters,” such as the voters who support Jeb because of how he handled the Terri Schiavo matter. If Jeb drops out, those voters are more likely to switch their support to Carson, Huckabee or Cruz.

          In other words, not all of the voters who support a particular candidate do so for the same reasons. Thus, if the candidate they are supporting drops out, it is unreasonable to anticipate that all of them will switch their support to the same alternative.

          • Adam Brown

            Most Voters who are diehards on the Schiavo “issue” aren’t supporting Jeb.. they are likely already supporting Huckabee, Cruz or Carson.
            Jeb is gathering a very small number of supporters within the GOP at the moment — less than 10%, some polls suggest far far less than 10%. Clearly not a very big tent, he isn’t getting huge numbers of Evangelical voters for whom Huckabee is a second choice.

            Take a look at a heavy Evangelical state like Iowa, where by all accounts, Bush is getting almost no support.

            It’s fair to say that the overwhelming majority of Bush’s small support comes from GOP establishment-type voters. It’s like asking how many of Jim Webb’s supporters were voting for him because of his support of gay marriage or because he was pro-choice.

  • Allan Williams

    But what if Carson or Cruz drops out…how does that change the numbers (would Trump’s numbers rise?). It’s easy to extrapolate Rubio’s numbers if Bush goes since they are both FL mainstream candidates, but disingenuous if you don’t include other possible senarios.

  • chucktranberg

    You tell me that the MSM is not trying to push Rubio? They make a big point of the fact that without Bush in the race Rubio still is behind Trump by three-points IN HIS HOME STATE!! and make it sound like that’s pretty darn impressive! Frankly, if neither Rubio or Bush can win Florida both should get out of the race (My guess is that Bush will be gone by the time of Florida).

  • Jeb at fourth/fifth place in Florida. LOLOL!! Let’s be charitable and call it fifth! :0D

  • rssrai

    I have commented before that Rubio and Bush would split their votes and end up giving the win to someone else for Florida.

  • Dem2016

    Winner take all for Trump would be a smack down for Rubio and Bush!

  • littlejohn

    It looks like the GOP is intent on nominating the weakest general election candidate in the field, at least up to this point. Hillary Clinton would crush Donald Trump.

    • I Am Helpy

      I still think it’ll be Rubio. Trump will bow out the moment he can no longer credibly claim to be in first place, as he always does. Carson will be forced to withdraw when he finally says something that’s too crazy even for the GOP. Jeb! is a dead man walking, kept alive only by unholy amounts of money – but once the states start voting and he doesn’t place in the top two or three places he’s gone.

      And that leaves Rubio. Rubio has actually run a pretty tight campaign to this point, which is bad because some of his ideas are actually more nuts than anything Trump or Carson have said.

      • littlejohn

        It would be logical that Rubio would be an alternative for the GOP, but they aren’t warming up to him if these polls are correct. And I don’t really think any of the nominees can say anything too crazy – Trump and Carson have definitely pushed crazy and it hasn’t hurt either one. Everyone keeps waiting for Trump to implode, but I think we need to face the fact that he is liable to be the GOP nominee.

        • I Am Helpy

          Well, it would be hilarious if he was – as you pointed out, he’s completely unelectable in the general. I just don’t think he’s got a credible path to getting the nomination – he’s probably already maxed out the support he’s going to get from the base, everyone else hates him.

          • Rhysem

            That’s the point though. Carson is probably starting to fade; he got beat pretty hard all weekend and today for his denial of supporting a supplement company. Getting caught in an outright lie is about the only thing that could derail him with the Evangelical base. If Carson implodes/fades, then Trump would likely carry Iowa; he’s already going to carry New Hampshire and South Carolina. None of the major players will drop out until after NH, so Trump’s 25% is more than enough to win back-to-back in IA/NH. That momentum would get him SC/NV as well.

            At that point, the establishment will be in full panic mode and the “establishment” candidates will start dropping out to consolidate around a single standard bearer. I just think it will be too little too late.

            The only way Trump doesn’t win the nomination is if he implodes or Carson recovers. Neither are looking particularly likely at this point.

          • I Am Helpy

            There’s something to that argument. I’m not entirely convinced that the party establishment will be as passive as all that, but it’s not clear how much power they still really have.

  • Lot of focus on Florida, but there are 25 states and territories (Puerto Rico) that vote before. Including Texas on Super Tuesday, with only four primaries/caucuses beforehand. Any polling from there? It may be Cruz’ home state but I imagine the Bush brand remains strong there. If Bush doesn’t drop out before Iowa (something I never would have imagined, but now seems increasingly likely), I suspect he may try to stick it out until March 1. Is Florida among the first winner-takes-all primaries? If so, that might be why it’s getting more attention (along with the media-hyped Bush/Rubio showdown).

    • Rhysem

      I seriously doubt anything after Nevada will matter. It will definitely be over by Super-Tuesday. The Florida polling is more about narrative than primary delegate politics.

    • ryp

      Only one Texas poll in the last month but Cruz was a distant third behind Trump and Carson. A real problem for the rest of the candidates is that Trump and Carson are the top two everywhere, including in other candidate’s home states. It’s one thing to insist one or thee other can’t last, but borders on wishful thinking to expect them both to fade before we get to Florida.

      • Hawkeye

        Cruz so far back in his home state, is a very bad sign for him.

  • ryp

    Jeb will drop out before FL, as will have everyone else beyond some combination of Trump, Carson, Cruz and Rubio. Rubio most likely wins the state unless Trump ends up being an unstoppable juggernaut. Florida kicks off the winner take all portion of the primaries where nearly half the delegates will still be chosen. Coming out of FL as a winner will give that candidate a lot of momentum. Assuming he can survive until then, this is one of the main reasons Rubio has to be considered a strong contender.

    • Hawkeye

      I am not so sure that the GOP has a strong contender considering that its leading candidate is only polling about 25% if that. I say the whole field is weak and anything can happen, including some rising star coming out of nowhere, getting in the race late and then peaking at exactly the right time. I am not so sure that we have seen all the GOP candidates yet.

  • Hawkeye

    Not a good sign for either Rubio or Bush that neither of them can match Trump in their home state, especially since even combined they still can’t. I don’t think Rubio wins if he can’t beat Trump at home. Of course Trump is also from Florida, but both of the other two should have powerful allies in the Florida Republican party, allies that right now seem to be missing in action/.