Hillary Clinton is so much more popular than Donald Trump among Miami-Dade County voters that even a significant number of Republicans support her in the likely presidential match-up, a new local poll has found.
Clinton leads Trump by a whopping 52-25 percent, with 23 percent of respondents undecided, according to the poll by Bendixen & Amandi International for the Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald, WLRN and Univision 23.
One-fifth of Republicans said they back Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has yet to garner a GOP majority, with 48 percent of Republicans saying they’d back him and nearly a third undecided.
“This should be an early sign of potential concern and worry for the Trump campaign,” said pollster Fernand Amandi, a Democrat who is not working for any presidential campaign. “If she gets 20 percent of Republican voters statewide, it’s going to be a very early night on Nov. 8.”
If she gets 20 percent of Republican voters statewide, it’s going to be a very early night on Nov. 8.
Pollster Fernand Amandi on Hillary Clinton
Several prominent local Republicans have said they can’t back Trump, although they also won’t vote for Clinton.
Clinton pulls support from 79 percent of Democrats, with only 6 percent of them backing Trump and 15 percent undecided. Among voters without party affiliation, the Clinton-Trump split is 49-28 percent, with 23 percent undecided. Clinton leads among every age group — especially among younger voters — and among both men and women — especially among women.
Some of her support comes from voters less interested in supporting Clinton and more interested in opposing Trump. One of them is 33-year-old poll respondent Billy Santana, a registered Democrat who plans to become a Republican.
He voted for Democrat Barack Obama in 2012, said Santana, a fitness coach who lives in Sweetwater and said he is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq. He has become more conservative and liked Ted Cruz for president, Santana said, yet he added: “I cannot vote for Trump.”
“Even though Hillary is very pro-choice, and seems to be in the pocket of Planned Parenthood, I would have to vote for her. The lesser of two evils, I guess,” he said. “I’m sure he’s a great businessman. But the things he does — he’s very erratic and impulsive. I just don’t think he’s going to have a level head.... I can’t really say I trust him.
“At his rallies, he’s generated this animosity toward minorities. The rhetoric is xenophobic. I can’t trust the man with nuclear codes.”
I can’t trust the man with nuclear codes.
Poll respondent Billy Santana on Donald Trump
The poll surveyed 600 registered Miami-Dade voters in English and Spanish from May 1-4. It has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Spanish-dominant voters were split 36-36 percent between Clinton and Trump, unlike English-dominant voters, who favored Clinton.
One bright spot for Trump: He’s still ahead of Clinton 41-29 percent among Cuban-American voters, defined as those born in Cuba or with Cuban parents or grandparents.
“Right now, it’s the one group that Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton on in Miami-Dade County,” Amandi said.
Another Miami-Dade survey, conducted last month by Republican pollster Dario Moreno, also found Trump ahead of Clinton, by 37-31 percent, among Cuban American voters.
The problem for Trump in both polls: His lead among Cuban Americans is nowhere near as high as it has been for past Republican nominees. Trump’s margin was so low in the April poll that Moreno concluded Trump’s nomination could drive Cuban Americans from the GOP.
Trump also trails in the Bendixen poll with Hispanic voters as a whole: Clinton leads by 8 percentage points (41-33 percent). He’s even further behind among non-Hispanic whites, who prefer Clinton by 22 points (59-27 percent), and completely underwater among African Americans, who prefer Clinton by 73 points (76-3 percent).
Trump’s backers, though, sound passionate about their candidate.
“Trump all the way,” said poll respondent Gail Engle, a 65-year-old retiree who lives in the Hammocks and backed Mitt Romney in 2012. “I’m independent. And a woman, by the way.”
Engle, who originally pulled for hometown Republicans Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, said she likes “everything” Trump talks about. “I’m for the wall. And I’m for defeating ISIS, with a little more pressure than we’ve had from Obama,” she said. “And I don’t want Hillary Clinton, because of Benghazi.”
“He’s a born leader. Period,” she added. “That’s all. Nobody in my lifetime has been a born leader like he is.”
Miami Herald staff writer Douglas Hanks contributed to this report.