Florida Is Hillary Clinton Country — at Least in the Primary

Florida Is Hillary Clinton Country — at Least in the Primary
Photo by Marc Nozell | Flickr, CC2.0

Florida Democrats just really, really love Hillary Clinton, and nothing can shake their resolve. In 2008, Clinton took a brief break from getting bested in earlier primary states by our current president and absolutely crushed both Barack Obama and John Edwards in the Florida primary. Now polling for 2016 indicates Clinton still has nothing to worry about in the state, even before Joe Biden announced this morning that he won't run. 

A new poll out of the University of North Florida found that 54.6 percent of Florida Democrats say they support Hillary. Bernie Sanders came in second place with 15.9 percent, and Joe Biden got 11.2 percent. I guess there aren't that many disappointed Florida Democrats today. Lincoln Chafee, Jim Webb, and Martin O'Malley all polled below 1 percent — and, yes, the poll was taken after the first Democratic debate. 

Clinton sits six points higher in Florida than she does in the Real Clear Politics national average of polls. Biden was five points below his national standing. But the biggest difference between Florida and national polls is with Bernie Sanders. He's polling about 25.7 percent in national polls, but just 15.9 percent here. That's nearly a full 10 points fewer.

Maybe the question isn't why Hillary has such a clench on Florida but why Sanders hasn't made much headway here.

It might not even have much to do with political ideology. 

In Florida, 55.5 of "very liberal" voters picked Clinton, compared to just 28.8 percent for Sanders. Among moderates, Sanders is at just 10.8 percent. 

Of course, national polls show that Sanders is largely a phenomenon among white liberal voters, and in Florida he's failed to make much progress with minority voters. 

Sanders got 11.1 percent of Florida's Democratic African-American vote and 12 percent of the Hispanic vote. Biden was the most popular among African-Americans, garnering 18.5 percent of the vote. Clinton had her highest lead among Hispanic voters, with 61.9 percent. 

Asked whom their second choice would be, 24.9 percent of likely primary voters picked Biden, who is now no longer a choice. Just 22.3 percent chose Sanders. 

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