TAMPA (FOX 13) - A FOX 13 Opinion Savvy poll of Florida voters shows overwhelming support for Donald Trump, with Marco Rubio a distant second ahead of the March 15 Florida Primaries.
Polling in Florida continues leading up to the vote, and final pre-primary numbers will be released Monday at 5 p.m.
The poll of 590 registered likely Republican primary voters shows Donald Trump with nearly a twenty point lead over his closest opponent, Marco Rubio. The poll also has Ted Cruz within striking distance of Rubio for second place.
Here are the results:
- Trump: 43%
- Rubio: 24%
- Cruz: 21%
- Kasich: 10%
- Undecided: 2%
Analysis by Matt Towery, pollster and analyst for FOX TV affiliates said almost one million votes had been cast in early voting and Trump leads in every region of the state, even in southeastern areas where Rubio started his political career.
Towery added, Trump performs better with men than women (47%-to-39%), but leads among both, and carries every age group.
Trump also carries every age group and almost half (45%) describe themselves as evangelical Christians.
Towery shed some light on why Trump's lead seems to be expanding:
"First, his victories last Tuesday gave him additional momentum. Second, the decision by Mitt Romney to actively campaign by recorded message in Florida had an unexpected negative reaction. Florida voters don’t mind an endorsement from leaders within their own state. Sometimes those endorsements help a candidate and sometimes they fall flat. But voters here often react negatively to politicians outside of the state who appear to be telling them how to vote."
Towery added a word of caution, noting the poll was ahead of the GOP debate in Miami. Since the memorable moments Marco Rubio and Donald Trump discussed the size of Trump's hands, as well as the cancelling of Trump's rally in Chicago due to security concerns, poll numbers may have fluctuated.
However, if Trump support declines due to events of the last few days, Trump still has a substantial portion of votes already cast during early voting, Towery noted.
"The concept that Trump could go from leading by 19-percent to losing would be highly problematic," Towery said.
The survey was conducted by IVR phone calls to landlines as well as surveying handheld mobile devices. The survey is weighted for age, gender, race, evangelism, and region. It has a margin of error of +/- 4% and a 95% confidence level.