Republican Donald Trump has a razor-thin 1-point lead over Hillary Clinton in Florida—a statistical tie and a reversal from last month—according to a new Suffolk University poll of likely general-election voters in a state some consider the tipping point for the 2016 presidential election.
Trump (45 percent) led Clinton (44 percent) with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 3 percent, the Green Party’s Jill Stein at 1 percent, and 7 percent undecided. Six candidates for president are listed on the Florida ballot, including Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party and Roque De La Fuente of the Reform Party, neither of whom received support in the poll.
In a Suffolk University poll taken in early August, Clinton held a 4-point lead in a four-way ballot test that included Johnson and Stein and led Trump by 6 points in a head-to-head matchup.
“Hillary Clinton’s support remains in the mid-forties, but she has lost her August lead because Donald Trump is aggregating previous undecided and Johnson supporters in his camp,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “One of the more striking findings is that Florida voters don't perceive Hillary Clinton as easy a winner as they did in August.”
Asked which candidate will most likely be elected president come November, 47 percent of voters indicated Clinton, while 38 percent said Trump. In August, voters perceived Clinton as the ultimate winner by a 20-point margin, 54 percent to 34 percent.
Clinton led by 10 points among women (50 percent to 40 percent) while Trump led among men (51 percent to 36 percent). Trump improved among registered Republicans; he was the choice of 82 percent of GOP voters this month compared to 74 percent in August.
Trump voters appear to be slightly more intense about the 2016 presidential election. Asked how they would gauge its importance, 54 percent of Trump voters said “it’s the most important election of my life” compared to 45 percent of Clinton voters who gave that response. Asked how this election made them feel, 50 percent of Trump voters said they were alarmed and 33 percent excited, while 60 percent of Clinton voters were alarmed and 19 percent excited.
National & state issues
The issue of terrorism/national security (27 percent) was seen as the most important issue facing the next president, followed by jobs/economy (22 percent), choosing Supreme Court nominees (11 percent), and illegal immigration (9 percent). Over 56 percent of likely Florida voters said they feel less safe living in America than they did five to 10 years ago.
The threat of the Zika virus spreading in the Unites States is still a concern to Floridians, although it has declined slightly over the past month. Less than 32 percent said they were very concerned about the issue, down from 42 percent in August. However, 80 percent support a bill funding the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s efforts to combat the Zika virus, while 11 percent oppose the measure.
Amendment #2, an initiative that would allow medical marijuana in Florida, was supported by 67 percent of likely voters and opposed by 28 percent.
Rubio leads Democrat Murphy in Senate race
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (43 percent) leads Democrat Patrick Murphy (34 percent) by 9 points in the race to retain his seat. In August, Rubio led by 13 points. Nearly 17 percent of voters remain undecided. The seven U.S. Senate candidates listed on the Florida ballot and an additional six candidates eligible to receive write-in votes were included in a follow-up question in the poll.
In 2012, the final Suffolk Florida poll predicted a 3-point win for Democrat Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney. Obama prevailed by 1 point, 50 percent to 49 percent.
The Florida survey of 500 likely voters was conducted Sept. 19-21 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they were very or somewhat likely to vote in the 2016 general election. The margin of error is +/-4.4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, firstname.lastname@example.org.