Time-Lapse Photography Into the State of Florida 03/15/16 Republican Primary; Cruz Moving Up, Rubio Trending Down, Trump Impervious & Still in the Lead
7 days till votes are counted in the Florida Republican Primary for President of the United States, Donald Trump appears to have an advantage over Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, according to SurveyUSA research conducted exclusively for TV station Bay News 9 in Tampa. But: a fluid electorate makes it difficult to freeze-frame the state of the race in a way that will “hold” until Election Day.
At this hour, it’s Trump 42%, favorite-son Rubio 22%, Cruz 17%. But, there is inter-day play that is worth introspection. On the first day of interviewing (Friday 03/04/16, after the Thursday night Fox News “small hands” Republican Party Debate in Detroit), Ted Cruz had 13% of the primary vote. On the last day of interviewing (Sunday 03/06/16, after the results of the Saturday caucuses in Kansas, Maine and Kentucky were known, and after the results of the Louisiana primary were known), Cruz had 21% of the primary vote, a specific upward trajectory. On the first day of interviewing, Rubio had 25% of the primary vote, compared to 20% on the last day of interviewing. A downward trajectory, though less pronounced. Trump polled at 43%, 41%, and 44% over the 3 days of interviewing for the survey — no particular trajectory, and no evidence that Trump has yet been wounded by relentless anti-Trump advertising in the Sunshine State.
Results of today’s 03/08/16 Michigan and Mississippi primaries will color Florida results, one week later. If Cruz has an unexpectedly strong showing in Michigan and/or Mississippi, and is able to maintain 24 or 48 hours of uninterrupted media spotlight, he may carry that momentum into Florida and eclipse Rubio. If Rubio has a comparatively weak showing in Michigan and/or Mississippi, he may lose critical support back home. Should Trump’s support collapse in Michigan and Mississippi, that may dampen Trump’s perceived inevitability, and cut into his Florida base, making the outcome far closer than it herein appears. In the end, however, whether Trump wins the Florida Primary by 3 votes or 300,000 votes, and whether Cruz or Rubio finishes in 2nd place, Trump wins the same number of convention delegates, 99, and Cruz and Rubio both get zero. Trump has 84 more delegates than Cruz at this hour. Trump has 233 more delegates than Rubio.
For now, among Republican primary voters who tell SurveyUSA that they have already returned a ballot, it’s Trump 47%, Rubio 29%, Cruz 10%. Among voters who have not yet returned a ballot but who promise to do so before polling places close, it’s Trump 41%, Rubio 20%, Cruz 19%.
Rubio leads Trump 38% to 27% among Cubans who plan to vote in the Republican Primary. Trump leads Rubio by 15 points among non-Cuban Hispanics. Trump polls above 40% in 4 regions of the state — NW FL, NE FL, Central FL, and SW FL. Trump is at 37% in SE FL, with Rubio on his heels at 31%. Trump leads Cruz by 10 points among voters who are “very conservative.” Trump leads Cruz by 34 points among voters who are “moderate.” Rubio’s support is strong among GOP primary voters who do not own a gun and who are not members of the Tea Party. John Kasich, who polls at 10% in a GOP primary “today,” does best among women, seniors, pro-choice voters and moderates.
In a Democratic primary today, Hillary Clinton defeats Bernie Sanders 2:1. Support for Sanders declined from 33% on the first day of interviewing to 25% on the last day of interviewing.
Looking ahead to the 11/08/16 general election, Florida’s critical 29 electoral college votes are very much in play. Clinton today runs effectively even with any of the top 3 Republicans. At this hour, it’s:
* Trump 45%, Clinton 44%. Clinton gets 82% of the black vote, 61% of the Non-Cuban Hispanic vote.
* Clinton 45%, Rubio 44%. Clinton gets 82% of the black vote, 58% of the Non-Cuban Hispanic vote.
* Clinton 46%, Cruz 44%. Clinton gets 79% of the black vote, 64% of the Non-Cuban Hispanic vote.
In the 08/30/16 Republican primary for U.S. Senator from Florida, “other” and “undecided” today combine for 50% of the likely vote — so all named candidates have significant opportunity to move up or down. Today, it’s David Jolly at 18%, Ron DeSantis at 11%, Carlos Lopez-Cantera at 9%, Todd Wilcox at 7%, Ilya Katz at 4%. Among those Republicans likely to vote in the Senate primary, 56% say they would definitely vote for Ben Carson, should Carson enter the race.
In the 08/30/16 Democratic primary for U.S. Senator, “other” and “undecided” combine for 46% of the vote, leaving plenty of room for all 3 named candidates — Patrick Murphy who polls at 27%, Alan Grayson who polls at 16%, and Pam Keith who polls at 11%.
Like U.S. Senate races in other states in 2016, Florida’s Senate fight will have national significance, and will likely see millions of outside dollars poured into it, as both Democrats and Republicans seek to control the Upper Chamber in the next Congress so as to steer the confirmation hearings for Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement. The open Florida Senate seat is currently held by Republican Rubio, who is not seeking re-election.
Filtering: SurveyUSA interviewed 2,450 state of Florida adults 03/04/16 through 03/06/16. Of the adults, 2,204 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, 1,961 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the 11/08/16 general election, 937 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the 03/15/16 Republican presidential primary, 823 were determined to be likely to vote in the 03/15/16 Democratic presidential primary, 724 were determined to be likely to vote in the 08/30/16 Republican primary for US Senator, and 592 were determined to be likely to vote in the 08/30/16 Democratic primary for US Senator. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (64% of registered voters) were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (36% of registered voters) were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet, or other electronic device. Most of the interviews for this survey were completed before the results of the Puerto Rico Republican Primary were known; Rubio won decisively there. All interviews for this survey were completed before the 03/06/16 CNN Democratic Presidential Debate in Flint MI. Mitt Romney won the Florida Republican Presidential Primary in 2012 with 46% of the vote. Democrat Barack Obama carried Florida in the 2008 and 2012 general elections. Republican George W Bush carried Florida in 2004 and was awarded Florida by the Supreme Court of the United States in 2000.