Poll: Rubio and Bush Almost Tied in Florida, Attracting Different Types of Republican Voters

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio
Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio
Photos courtesy of Florida, US Senate

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio's home-state advantage may not guarantee victory in a general election (they're both trailing Hillary Clinton in Florida), but it certainly seems to be helping them among Florida primary voters. Another poll, released today by Quinnipiac, shows Bush is the frontrunner in Florida. Twenty percent of registered Republicans say Jebbers is their top choice, but Marco Rubio isn't far behind, with 18 percent. 

However, it appears that Bush and Rubio are attracting slightly different aspects of the Republican Party in Florida. 

Bush and Rubio were polled among the 14 other Republicans running for president, and no other candidate even broke 10 percent in Florida. Only Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came close, with 9 percent. Walker hasn't officially announced his candidacy yet. 

Taking a look at the cross tabs shows where Bush and Rubio's strengths and weaknesses lie.

Rubio Leads Tea Partiers
Rubio, for example, is the favorite among self-described Tea Partiers, getting 15 percent of their vote. After all, he is the political superstar the Florida Tea Party made, so the only surprise is that he's not showing even stronger among that set. Interestingly, Ted Cruz comes in second in the demographic, with 11 percent. Bush and Walker are tied for third, with 10 percent each. 

Bush Leads Slightly Among White Born-Again Evangelicals 
George W. Bush was basically the white born-again evangelical president, so it's not surprising that his brother would get 21 percent of their vote in Florida. Rubio isn't far behind, with 19 percent. Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and pastor, is this group's third choice, with 11 percent. 

Rubio Leads Among Conservative, Bush Among Moderates 
Seventeen percent of Florida Republicans who consider themselves "very conservative" choose Rubio, compared with just 10 percent who like Bush (Walker was second place with 13 percent). Rubio has a bigger lead among those who consider themselves "somewhat" conservative, with 26 percent to Bush's 17 percent. 

However, Bush dominates Republicans who consider themselves either moderate or even liberal. He gets 32 percent of their vote, compared to Rubio's 13 percent. Ben Carson comes in third among this demographic, with 7 percent. 

Men Favor Bush, Women Favor Rubio
Here are the gender cross tabs:
Men: 23 percent for Bush / 16 percent for Rubio
Women: 21 percent for Rubio / 16 percent for Bush

Rubio Is in More People's Top Two Than Bush
Asked about their second choice, 21 percent of Floridians said it would be Rubio. Sixteen percent said Bush. That means Rubio is the first or second choice of 36 percent of Florida Republicans, and Bush is the first or second choice of 33 percent. 


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