A week and a day from Florida’s all-important Republican presidential primary, Donald Trump still holds a lead over Marco Rubio, according to a new poll.
Monmouth University found Trump ahead of Rubio by 38-30 percent – a single-digit gap like the one found by other recent surveys conducted with a similar method. But there’s a new sign of trouble for Rubio in the survey: He’s quickly losing support among voters who have yet to cast ballots.
Rubio amassed a 19 percent lead over Trump among respondents who had already voted, putting him ahead 48-23 percent. But Trump leads Rubio 42-26 percent among those yet to vote. About a fifth of all expected GOP voters have cast ballots already.
“Rubio is within shooting distance in his home state with a week to go in this volatile nomination contest,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement. “It is telling, though, that Rubio is not even the clear victor in a direct face off with Trump. There goes the argument that Rubio would triumph if only it were a two person race.”
In a hypothetical one-on-one match-up, Trump bests Rubio 47-45 percent. The poll’s error margin is 4.9 percentage points.
The two candidates’ support is also split by geography, according to the poll. Rubio leads Trump 41-30 percent in South Florida, while Trump is ahead of him 44-22 percent in Central Florida. Trump is narrowly ahead of Rubio 36-32 percent in North Florida; Rubio campaigned Saturday in Jacksonville and will hold a rally Tuesday in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Rounding out the Florida field were Ted Cruz, who drew 17 percent support, and John Kasich, with 10 percent.
Monmouth surveyed 403 likely Republican voters from March 3-6. The university relied on voter lists showing past voter history – a method generally considered more reliable for Florida’s closed primary, which doesn’t allow independents to cast ballots.