Marco Rubio Closing Gap Against Donald Trump in Latest Florida Poll

The GOP establishment's concentrated push against Donald Trump seems to have paid some dividends over the weekend, with Ted Cruz besting Trump in two states where the business magnate previously had a polling lead. The attacks, concentrating on the Donald's questionable Trump University business, also appear to have dealt some damage to the frontrunner in the latest Florida poll as well. 

According to the latest numbers from Monmouth, Trump's lead over Marco Rubio is now only eight points. That's a big difference from the two previous polls (albeit from other polling companies) that had Trump up by 20 points in the state. Both polls from Gravis Marketing and Public Policy Polling had Trump sitting at 45 percent to Rubio's 25 percent. 

Here are the numbers from the new Monmouth poll: 

  • Donald Trump - 38 percent
  • Marco Rubio - 30 percent 
  • Ted Cruz - 17 percent 
  • John Kasich - 10 percent 

Here's the thing: Florida's primary is a winner-takes-all affair. That means the victor gets all of the state's 99 delegates no matter how close the voting. Trump could win here by 0.5 percent and walk off with all 99 delegates, just the same as if he'd won by 40 percent. 

Though Rubio appears to be catching up, it's still not clear if he can make enough of a dent by next Tuesday. In the poll, 19 percent contacted said they had already voted (absentee ballots are out, and early voting is already in full swing in the state). Another 38 percent said that their mind is firmly made up. Only 19 percent said they're either still undecided or only have a slight preference. 

In a theoretical head-to-head, two-person matchup in the state, Trump would still win 47 percent to Rubio's 45 percent. That's better than how Cruz would fare in a two-person race here. He trails Trump 48 to 40 percent. 

However, Trump may not end up being the best choice to ensure a win in Florida in the general election. Only 75 percent of Republicans voters in Florida polled say they would vote for him against Hillary Clinton. Ten percent say they would actually vote for Clinton. Another 7 percent say they wouldn't vote at all. Though, that question wasn't asked about any of the other candidates, and, to be fair, 8 percent of Florida Republicans ended up voting for Barack Obama in 2012. 

In any event, Rubio's direct path to the nomination is seriously in question now. A win here for Florida's junior senator would more than likely only ensure a brokered convention for Republicans in July. 

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