Sen. Marco Rubio is campaigning for his political life in Florida, but polling in his home state keeps getting worse in spite of his renewed efforts.
A new CNN/ORC poll shows that Donald Trump is leading Rubio by sixteen points in Florida with 40 percent of the vote. Rubio has 24 percent while Ted Cruz has only 19 percent and John Kasich has five percent.
Rubio campaigned in Ponte Vedra, Florida last night, predicting victory in the state.
“So here we are. It always comes down to Florida, doesn’t it? And it will again this year, not once but twice,” he said.
A Quinnipiac poll released this morning shows that Trump is leading Rubio by 23 points in Florida.
Trump is smashing the field with 45 percent support, while Rubio only has 22 percent. Cruz is closing in on Rubio with 18 percent while Kasich only has 8 percent.
Trump is leading every candidate in every category in the Quinnipiac poll — Tea Party, White Born Again Evangelicals, men and women, conservatives, moderates and liberals, and those who have a college degree and those who don’t.
The controversial billionaire won convincingly in Hawaii, Michigan, and Mississippi, sending a message to the remaining candidates.
According to the RealClearPolitics delegate count, Trump now leads with 458 delegates, while Cruz has 359. Rubio only has 151 delegates.
Rubio recently went negative against Trump, mocking the billionaire for his hair, his hands, his face, his spray tan, and his failed businesses. But Trump appeared confident that the attacks didn’t matter.
“He became hostile about two weeks ago and it didn’t work,” he said, referring to Rubio during his press conference last night. “See, hostility works for some people. It doesn’t work for everybody, OK?”
When asked for comment on the recent polls from the Rubio campaign, communications director Alex Conant cited an NBC poll that showed Rubio beating Hillary Clinton in a theoretical general election matchup.
“Today’s NBC poll has Clinton beating every GOP candidate except Rubio,” he said in an email to reporters. “According to this poll, if Trump is the GOP nominee, Republicans would be crushed by an historic margin against either Clinton or Sanders.”
Trump was well aware of the poll during his press conference last night, calling into question its accuracy.
“The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll was the phoniest, most disgusting poll I’ve ever seen, OK?” he said. “I don’t believe that poll and I don’t know who’s making up that poll but they should not pay their bill.”
If Rubio loses badly in Florida, it is unlikely that he will stay in the presidential race, even though he has vowed to continue on until the Republican convention in Cleveland. During his rally with supporters last night, Rubio set a high standard for his performance in the state.
“I believe with all my heart that the winner of the Florida primary next Tuesday will be the nominee of the Republican primary,” he said.