With early voting already taking place in Florida, a new poll out from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) shows President Donald Trump in a strong position in the Sunshine State and former Vice President Joe Biden poised to win the Democratic presidential primary.
The poll shows Biden headed for a big win in the March 17 primary, taking 61 percent–up 19 percent from the last FAU poll of Florida Democrats–with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., taking 25 percent and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hi., lagging with only 3 percent while 10 percent remain undecided.
“Florida has been a strong Biden firewall state since we started polling a year ago,” said Monica Escaleras, the director of FAU’s Business and Economics Polling Initiative (BEPI). “With voters’ attitudes becoming more fixed on their choices, there is nothing in this data that suggests a change in the direction of this race at this time.”
Biden does best among older voters, the largest block of voters in Florida, trouncing Sanders by an 82-13 margin among Democrats over the age of 65. Not surprisingly, Sanders leads among those least likely to vote, Democrats between the age of 18 and 29. Sanders is ahead with these voters 35 percent to 15 percent.
Meanwhile, Trump is expected to cruise in the Florida Republican primary. The president has the support of 93 percent of GOP voters ahead of the primary with former Gov. Bill Weld, R-Mass., taking 4 percent.
As far as head to head matchups go in November’s general election, Trump would beat Sanders head to head in Florida by a 53-47 margin. But Trump only edges Biden by a 51-49 margin which is well within the poll’s margin of error. Still, it’s an improvement in the president’s fortunes as both Sanders and Biden led Trump in a January FAU poll.
Trump’s approval rating is better as well, now up to 49 percent in the Sunshine State while 41 percent disapprove of him. Back in the January poll, Trump had the approval of 45 percent and was disapproved by 43 percent.
Floridians are listing healthcare as their top issue heading into the primary at 26 percent with the economy just behind at 23 percent.
A slight majority–52 percent–are confident the government can handle coronavirus while 31 percent have no confidence in it. There is a partisan divide here as 77 percent of Republicans are confident the government can handle coronavirus while just 38 percent of Democrats are confident in it.
“Partisanship is driving the assessment of the response to the coronavirus,” said Kevin Wagner, a professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of the Initiative. “However, should the virus have a significant impact on Florida, those numbers may change as voters start evaluating the response based more on their personal experiences.”
The environment and immigration were the only two other issues to poll above 10 percent in the minds of voters with gun control finishing dead last. Just 3.5 percent of voters say limiting firearms is their top issue.
Gov Ron DeSantis continues to poll well with Florida voters as a majority–54 percent–approve of him while only 20 percent disapprove. That’s up from 48 percent approval and 28 percent disapproval in the January FAU poll.
The poll of 1,216 registered Florida voters was taken from March 5 through March 7 and had a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percent. This includes a sample of 399 Florida Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent and a sample of 409 Florida Republican primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percent.
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