It's been an entire month since a major presidential preference poll was taken among Florida's Republican primary voters. They've had weeks of new developments, another debate, numerous wacky ads put out by the candidates, and, no doubt, wonderfully illuminating discussions with their relatives over the holidays. However, according to a new poll from the Florida Times-Union, their outlook on the race hasn't changed much.
Donald Trump still leads in Florida. Ted Cruz is firmly in second. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Marco Rubio has leveled off a bit, and he's now statistically tied with Jeb Bush for third place in their home state. It's worth pointing out that Trump has more support than both Rubio and Bush combined.
The poll surveyed 838 likely primary voters and has a margin of error of 3.3 percent. Here are the results:
Donald Trump 31
Ted Cruz 19
Jeb Bush 13
Marco Rubio 12
Ben Carson 7
Chris Christie 4
Carly Fiorina 4
John Kasich 3
Rand Paul 3
Mike Huckabee 2
Rick Santorum 0
There's not much major movement since the last time the Times-Union released a poll back on December 16. The biggest statistical change is that Rubio's 15 percent support dropped to 12.
One would expect Bush and Rubio to have a natural advantage in the state, considering one was Florida's governor and the other is a senator. Sure, Bush hasn't been on the ballot since 2002, and the makeup of the state's Republican voters has changed greatly since then. Rubio, however, was elected only in 2010.
Bush is actually over-performing in the state compared to where he sits nationally. According to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, his support in all 50 states is down to just 4.8 percent. Rubio, meanwhile, is at 11.8 percent nationally, about where he is in Florida.
However, Trump continues to maintain his lead in the state.
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"The poll shows deep support for Trump, who leads both in every age group and in every category of ideology," Matt Towery, founder of InsiderAdvantage, a polling company involved in the survey, told the Times-Union.
About 70 percent surveyed said they caught Thursday night's Republican debate on Fox Business Network. Thirty-seven percent said Trump won the debate. Twenty-five gave the advantage to Ted Cruz, and only 17 percent of Florida Republicans said Rubio prevailed.
It's not particularly good news for either of Florida's native sons in the race. If they can't win in their own state, where can they win?
Florida's primary won't be held until March 15. The race could be very different by then, but it's worth noting that many observers believe the state moved its primary back to that date to help either Bush or Rubio. March 15 is the earliest date the state could hold a winner-takes-all primary in which all of the convention delegates at stake are awarded to the winner.