Billionaire Donald Trump has a substantial lead among Florida Republicans in his bid for the presidential nomination, beating out rival Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on his home turf by 16 percentage points, according to a Qunnipiac poll released Thursday.
The poll showed support for Trump at 44 percent in the Sunshine State, an enormous lead over Rubio, who stood at 28 percent, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at 12 percent.
This poll reflects the tumult of the Republican race since the previous Quinnipiac poll of the state was taken in early October, when Trump led at 28 percent while Rubio, at 14 percent, trailed neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 16 percent but far outstripped Cruz at 6 percent.
Trump’s lead in the new Quinnipiac poll is much greater than in most state or national surveys, which tend to show him polling in the mid-30s at most. Although this poll shows Rubio being trounced by an out-of-state candidate, he can take solace in its finding that he leads Cruz by 16 points. Cruz and Rubio have been neck-and-neck in the contest for second place in most states.
TPM’s PollTracker Average shows Trump leading in the state at 43.9 percent, followed by Rubio at 27.3 percent and Cruz by 11.7 percent.
The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 705 likely Republican voters in Florida from Feb. 21-24, using live telephone interviews. The margin of error was 3.7 percentage points.