Nearly even with Bush in the Sunshine State
Do Florida Republicans have a new favorite son? According to a new survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, Senator Marco Rubio has pulled even with former Governor Jeb Bush as the top choice of Florida Republicans for president of the United States.
By several measures, support for Rubio has surged since he officially declared his presidential candidacy earlier this spring, while Bush’s support has plateaued. Presented with a long list of candidates, Bush remains the top choice of Florida Republicans:
We know it’s early, but thinking about the presidential election in 2016 … here is a list of potential candidates who may run for the Republican nomination. If the Republican primary for president were held today, which one of the following would you support for the Republican nomination?
|31 %||30 %||Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush|
|16 %||24 %||U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida|
|10 %||7 %||Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker|
|9 %||7 %||Dr. Ben Carson|
|7 %||7 %||U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky|
|4 %||6 %||Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee|
However, Rubio’s support rose by eight points since a March survey by Saint Leo University, while Bush’s support stayed flat. Rubio also saw an eight-point increase in the number of voters naming him as their second choice. Combining the first and second place votes, Rubio has overtaken Bush. Rubio combines for 53 percent first- and second-choice votes, whereas Bush receives 42 percent.
And who would be your second choice?
|21 %||29 %||U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida|
|13 %||12 %||Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush|
|7 %||8 %||Dr. Ben Carson|
|6 %||7 %||Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker|
|5 %||7 %||New Jersey Governor Chris Christie|
|5 %||6 %||U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas|
|5 %||6 %||Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee|
When given a choice of only Bush and Rubio, Rubio leads Bush among Florida Republicans, 48 to 40 percent:
Let’s say both Florida Senator Marco Rubio and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush run for president in 2016. Which candidate would you support?
|34 %||Marco Rubio||48||35||21|
|32 %||Jeb Bush||40||30||26|
|6 %||Don’t know / not sure||6||8||4|
In another sign of Rubio’s rise, the percentage of Republicans who think he will end up as the party’s nominee has tripled since his official announcement:
Regardless of whom you personally support, which candidate do you think is most likely to win the Republican nomination for president in 2016?
|38 %||34 %||Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush|
|9 %||27 %||U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida|
Significant Surge by Senator Rubio
The survey showed that Bush and Rubio are popular with Florida Republicans. If Rubio isn’t a voter’s first choice, he is likely their second or third choice. “The surge for Senator Rubio is significant and is easily the most interesting finding in our recent politics poll,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. “Bush is still holding off Rubio in Florida, but the only factor keeping Rubio from the lead is the large number of conservative candidates who have siphoned his support,” commented Orlando. “That is evidenced by how many respondents like Rubio as their second choice.”
By a wide margin, Florida Republicans support both candidacies: 81% approve of Rubio running, and 76% approve of Bush’s candidacy.
Do you approve or disapprove of Senator Marco Rubio running for president of the United States?
|24 %||Strongly approve||43||20||10|
|30 %||Somewhat approve||38||39||19|
|17 %||Somewhat disapprove||11||13||24|
|21 %||Strongly disapprove||3||20||39|
|8 %||Don’t know / unsure||6||8||9|
Do you approve or disapprove of former Governor Jeb Bush running for president of the United States?
|27 %||Strongly approve||45||22||16|
|26 %||Somewhat approve||31||27||21|
|14 %||Somewhat disapprove||10||18||16|
|27 %||Strongly disapprove||13||28||39|
|6 %||Don’t know / unsure||1||6||9|
Appealing to Moderates and Shoring up Conservatives
“The big surprise is that more people would prefer Rubio to Bush if they have the choice, and the margin increases when you examine only Republicans. Bush has made moderate Republicans his base in Florida, while Rubio is shoring up support among conservatives,” said Saint Leo’s Orlando.
Clinton Candidacy Remains Strong
In a primary, 60 percent of Florida Democrats name Clinton as their first choice, way ahead of Vice President Joe Biden at 11 percent. Bernie Sanders is supported by 5 percent of voters.
More voters expect Clinton to win the Democratic nomination than did so three months ago. Now 62 percent of Democrats expect Clinton will be nominated:
Regardless of whom you personally support, which candidate do you think is most likely to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2016? (ROTATE):
|55 %||62 %||Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton|
|12 %||10 %||Vice President Joe Biden|
|4 %||3 %||New York Governor Andrew Cuomo|
Clinton continues to enjoy an 82/12 favorable/unfavorable rating among likely voter Democrats.
“There is no evidence of a ‘stop Hillary’ sentiment among Florida Democrats,” said Saint Leo’s Orlando.
About the Saint Leo University Polling Institute/Methodology
This Saint Leo University poll of 535 Florida adults was conducted between May 25 and May 31, 2015. The margin of error on political questions (of likely voters only) is approximately 4.5 percent +/- with a 95 percent confidence level. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. Sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantages of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed that is convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive – usually $1 dollar deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account – for their participation.
Full Survey Results
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute has posted full results in table form here.
About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University is a regionally accredited, liberal-arts-based institution known for an inclusive Catholic heritage, enduring values, and capacity for innovation. The school was chartered in 1889 by Catholic Benedictine monks in rural Pasco County, FL, making Saint Leo the first Catholic college in the state. Saint Leo provides access to education to people of all faiths, emphasizing the Benedictine philosophy of balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit.
The university welcomes learners from all generations and backgrounds, from civilian occupations and the armed forces, and from across the country and more than 60 nations around the world. Saint Leo’s 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students may elect to study at the beautiful University Campus in Florida, at more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from other locations. The university’s degree programs range from the associate to the doctorate. Throughout these rich offerings, Saint Leo develops principled leaders for a challenging world.
Saint Leo University boasts nearly 80,000 alumni in all 50 states, Washington, DC, five U.S. territories, and 72 countries.
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