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Donald Trump Leads Florida; Jeb Bush Fourth

The latest Quinnipiac poll of Florida Republicans brings somber news for the campaigns of Sen. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. Despite their long-records of political office in the Sunshine State, both men trail outsiders in their quest for the Republican nomination.

Rubio is third with 14 percent support while Bush is fourth with just 12 percent support.

As in other states, real estate developer Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson win the top spots among Florida Republicans. Trump continues to lead the field with 28 percent support, up 7 points from August. Carson is second with 16 percent support.

It is noteworthy that Trump’s support among Florida Republicans is more than Rubio and Bush earn combined. This is not how major candidates normally poll in their home states.

“The generally more energized Republican party members, who backed former Gov. Bush and Sen. Rubio when they ran for office in the Sunshine State, are deserting the establishment candidates for the outsiders – specifically Trump and Carson,” Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac polling, said.

There has been a compression in the candidates’ support since the last Quinnipiac poll at the end of August. Lower tier candidates have lost support as the campaign has progressed, with voters moving towards the top-tier of candidates. Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz both earn 7 percent support in Florida, while all other candidates occupy margin-of-error territory.

In August, a number of the lower tied candidates polled outside the margin of error. Trump has gained the most from the shifting support, rising 7 points, while Bush has experienced the sharpest drop, falling 5 points. Rubio and Carson each picked up a handful of points, with Fiorina and Cruz have remained steady.

“Those who were waiting for Donald Trump’s campaign to collapse will need to wait longer,” Brown said.

More interesting than Trump’s continued lead in Florida, however, are the apparent struggles of the Bush and Rubio campaigns in their home state. The anti-establishment wave building within the Republican party looks set to sweep away a lot of otherwise successful politicians.

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