Poll Shows Sunshine State Looking Cloudy for Clinton; Trailing Both Bush and Rubio

A new poll in Florida shows Democrat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton trailing the state’s two Republican presidential contenders, Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush.

The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research from April 14 to April 16 of 625 registered Florida voters, 400 Republicans and 400 Democrats. Poll respondents were interviewed by phone, both landlines and cell phones, and quotas were used to balance voter turnout by county. The margin of error was +/- 4 percent.

In a head-to-head contest, voters preferred Rubio to Clinton 49 percent to 43 percent, with 8 percent undecided. Bush’s lead was a little narrower, 47 percent to 43 percent, and 10 percent undecided.

Consistent with recent Florida elections, the responses were sharply divided on partisan lines, with Clinton capturing the majority of Democrats’ votes and Bush and Rubio doing likewise with Republicans. The key was with independent voters, where both Bush and Rubio outperformed Clinton. Bush won independents 43 percent to Clinton’s 36 percent, with 18 percent undecided. Rubio did even better, earning support from 48 percent of independents, with 39 percent for Clinton and 13 percent undecided.

J. Bradford Coker, Managing Director of Mason-Dixon, said in a statement that Clinton “hopes to exploit” the gender gap “in her quest to become the first female president,” but this was a double edged sword for her. Women did prefer Clinton, 46 percent to 42 percent for Bush and 49 percent to 41 percent for Rubio, but the difference was much greater among male voters. With men, Rubio beat Clinton 57 percent to 38 percent, and Bush won 54 percent to 39 percent.

A question about the Democratic presidential primary was also asked of a separate sample of 400 registered Florida Democrats, and revealed some possible problems for Clinton. “Clinton’s early campaign struggles have made some Democratic leaders nervous and there is evidence to support that it has trickled down to rank and file party voters,” noted Coker.

Among this Democratic sample, only 39 percent said they would definitely vote for Clinton in the primary. Forty percent would consider another Democratic candidate and 12 percent said they would definitely vote against her. Nine percent were undecided.

So far, Clinton, Rubio, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have officially entered the race. Bush, Vice President Joe Biden (D), Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and several others are presumed to be entering the race soon or considering getting in.

This Maxon-Dixon poll only tested Bush and Rubio against Clinton, and omitted the rest of the field of potential candidates. As Breitbart News reported, in the first Florida poll after Rubio’s April 13 announcement, Rubio was in the lead with 31 percent support, then Bush at a close second at 30 percent, Cruz 8 percent, Paul 7 percent, Walker 2 percent. Seventeen percent were undecided and the remainder of votes went to “other.” The poll’s margin of error was five percent.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.

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