Sen. Marco Rubio has pulled ahead of Jeb Bush in their home state of Florida following the GOP debate earlier this month, according to a new Florida Atlantic University poll that puts the senator in second place behind part-time Floridian Donald Trump.
Bush, a former governor and political mentor of Rubio's, placed third in the poll, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
The numbers break down as follows:
- Trump, 31.5 percent
- Rubio, 19.2 percent
- Bush, 11.3 percent
- Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who lives in West Palm Beach, Fla., 10.3 percent
- Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, 8.3 percent
"Marco Rubio being that far ahead of Jeb Bush is surprising," Kevin Wagner, an associate professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow at the university's Business and Economics Polling Initiative, commented. "Some of the early Florida polling suggested that Bush was in a stronger position."
But while the debate pushed Rubio up in the poll, 38.4 percent of the voters surveyed said Fiorina won the Sept. 16 GOP debate, followed by 14 percent for Trump, 11.3 percent for Rubio, and 10.4 percent for Bush.
The survey was conducted by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative in the College of Business between Sept. 17- 20
Also in the poll, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton remained on top, with 59.5 percent of likely voters from her party. Vice President Joe Biden, who has not yet announced his candidacy, netted 15.9 percent, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, with 15.2 percent. The remaining candidates received less than 2 percent of those polled.
In matchups between the Republican candidates and Clinton, though, she came in behind the GOP frontrunners:
- Carson had 51.7 percent of the Florida vote to Clinton's 39.5 percent
- Rubio had 50.4 percent to Clinton's 42.2 percent
- Bush beat Clinton, 49.1 percent to 40.9 percent
- Trump and Clinton were tied, with 45.9 percent for him and 44.5 percent for her
Wagner said the primary poll itself was "very good news" for Clinton, but the potential pair-ups between her and Republicans in the general election "show pretty strong weakness for her. She's going to have to make up some ground in Florida."
Clinton also marked a negative favorability rating in the poll, which showed she was viewed unfavorably by 53.7 percent of Florida voters and favorably by 40.7 percent, giving her a negative net rating of 13 percentage points.
In other ratings:
- Bush, negative unfavorability: 4.3 percentage points
- Carson had a net favorable rating of 22.5 percentage points in the survey. However, Wagner said too few people were surveyed after Carson's comments Sunday to draw any conclusions on his ratings
- Rubio, net favorable rating, 11 percentage points
- Sanders, net unfavorable, 20.2 percentage points
- Trump, net unfavorable rating, 22.7 percentage points
The survey of 298 Democratic likely voters carried a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points, a margin of 5.2 percentage points for its 352 Republican likely voters, and overall, the general election survey of 801 registered voters, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
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