By Thomas Madison
Donald Trump leads Marco Rubio by a seemingly insurmountable 16 points in the latest Florida GOP presidential poll, which is significant for four reasons:
- Florida is Rubio’s home state, where he is being embarrassed by an outsider. If he can’t win in his own state, where can he win?
- Florida is a delegate-rich state, offering 99 GOP delegates.
- Florida is a winner-take-all state. No proportional divvying of delegates in the Sunshine State.
- Trump is leading in nearly all of the 12 Super Tuesday states. Cruz has a very thin lead in Arkansas and is tied with Trump in the latest Texas poll. Should The Donald do as well as expected on Super Tuesday, a win in Florida could seal the deal, putting him virtually out of sight.
Unless Donald Trump body slams a nun in a busy intersection on national TV sometime in the very near future, he is going to do at least very well on Super Tuesday, March 1. Florida (March 15) could put him so comfortably ahead, it will be practically impossible for any candidate to catch him.
From Jonathan Easley, The Hill
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is crushing the field in Florida, a critical winner-take-all state that could seal the deal for the GOP front-runner on March 15.
A Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday found Trump with 44 percent support.
Marco Rubio, who represents Florida in the Senate, follows with 28 percent. Rounding out the field are Ted Cruz, at 12 percent; John Kasich, at 7 percent; and Ben Carson, at 4 percent.
This is the first survey of Florida since the state’s former governor, Jeb Bush, dropped out of the race, and it shows Trump has only grown his lead as the field has winnowed.
“If Sen. Rubio can’t win in his own home state, it is difficult to see how he can win elsewhere,” Quinnipiac polling director Peter Brown said.
Florida’s 99 delegates make it the biggest winner-take-all state this cycle. The only other winner-take-all state that will vote on March 15 is Ohio, and Trump is currently favored to collect that state’s 66 delegates as well.
Political watchers say that if Trump builds a comfortable delegate lead after Super Tuesday next week, as he’s expected to, victories in Florida and Ohio could make it impossible for any of the other candidates to catch him in the race.
Still, the poll raised one red flag for Trump.
Florida only allows registered Republicans to vote in the state’s primary, provoking Brown to wonder “whether the flood of new voters Donald Trump seemed to bring to earlier contests will be able to participate.”
But Trump’s lead in Florida is so thorough, it would take a total collapse for someone to catch him there.
“He leads in every age group by 9 to 19 percentage points,” Brown said.
“Despite being a New York multi-billionaire, he leads among those who identify with the Tea Party. He also does twice as well among white evangelicals as does Sen. Ted Cruz, who is trying to make this his core constituency.”
On the economy, which most Florida Republicans called the top issue in the election, Trump leads Rubio 51 percent to 28 percent.