Clinton Leads New Florida Poll as Hispanic Voter Influx Could Doom Trump

Donald Trump faces a widening poll gap in Florida, and a surge of new Hispanic voters aren't helping his chances.
Donald Trump faces a widening poll gap in Florida, and a surge of new Hispanic voters aren't helping his chances.

The numbers are beginning to look as obvious as a Donald Trump spray tan: To have any realistic shot at the White House, the GOP nominee absolutely must win Florida in November. But that possibility is looking more and more like a long shot.

A new poll out this morning has Hillary Clinton up by five points in the Sunshine State, and that's not even Trump's worst Florida news to start the week. The latest voter registration numbers from the state show a huge influx of new Hispanic voters — a group that is turning against the Republican candidate in droves.

The latest polling data comes from the YouGov/CBS News Battleground Tracker, which sampled nearly 1,200 registered Florida voters between August 10 and 12. The survey found Clinton leading 45 to 40 percent, with 5 percent of voters going to Libertarian Gary Johnson.

Significantly, the poll finds a growing wave of support for Clinton. YouGov has consistently tracked the race in Florida since May, when it found Clinton up by just a single point. In June, that lead grew to three points. Now it's outside the margin of error.

The poll finds that GOP voters in Florida aren't flocking to Trump — just 80 percent of registered Republicans said they planned to vote for him. Eight percent of GOP voters said they would back Hillary.

The poll also revealed a huge advantage for Clinton among Hispanic voters in Florida. That finding has echoed other recent surveys — in June, Univision found the state's Hispanics favoring the Democrat by 67 percent to 19 percent.   

That's very bad news for Trump, because increasing numbers of Hispanic voters are filling up the rolls statewide. 

More than 242,000 Hispanics have registered to vote in Florida since the 2012 presidential election, according to new state data released before the August 30 primary votes. That brings the proportion of Hispanic voters in the state from 13.4 percent in the last presidential contest up to 15.4 percent, Politico reports.

That margin could grow further by Election Day. Voters have until October 11 to register, and Clinton's campaign has a strong ground game in place in Florida that will concentrate on turning out minority voters on Election Day.

Puerto Ricans, in particular, are flocking to Florida in record numbers as the Zika virus wreaks havoc on the island. They could play a key role in the election — and it's not likely to be a role favorable to Trump. A Fox News poll last week found Puerto Rican voters backing Clinton by a four-to-one margin.

Trump clearly knows he needs to turn around his performance in the state that's home to his palatial Mar-a-Lago estate. He's finally opening more than 20 field offices around Florida and trying to boost his staffing.  

But it's hard to see how he can overcome his biggest obstacle: His message — from calling Mexicans "rapists" to demanding a border wall and assailing a Latino judge — is turning off most Hispanic voters in droves.  

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