SAINT LEO, Fla., March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In Florida, Donald Trump is maintaining his lead among GOP presidential candidates, getting the support of 41.4 percent of likely Republican primary voters surveyed this week by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.
Florida's own Marco Rubio trailed behind, attracting just 22.8 percent of the 500 Republicans surveyed in the online poll. As for other GOP candidates, 12.4 percent favored U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, and 10.8 percent will vote for former Ohio Governor John Kasich. Another 12.6 percent said they are undecided.
The poll also surveyed 500 likely Democratic Florida primary voters and found U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton strongly in the lead, with 59.4 percent selecting her over U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders supporters amounted to 27 percent of those polled, meaning he was more than 32 points behind Clinton. The proportion of undecided Democrats was 13.6 percent.
Political science instructor Frank Orlando said that Marco Rubio is under intense pressure in his home state. "If he loses Tuesday, he's effectively done," said Orlando. "Even if he wins, the road is still very difficult, but one could see him gaining some momentum back and surviving the process. He needs to use Thursday night's debate performance and all the ground game he can manage to change the tide in a hurry."
Trump's results showed broad appeal, but more so among men, particularly among white males. In the poll, 47.3 percent of males said they would vote for Trump compared to 34.2 percent of females. "If he does end up being the [Republican] nominee, we might witness the greatest gender gap in recorded history," said Orlando.
On the Democratic side, Orlando sees Clinton's poll results foreshadowing victory in the Florida primary. "Being down by 32 is quite a mountain to climb," Orlando said. "Also, Florida has a higher minority population and a larger proportion of older voters. Both of these things help Clinton."
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about Florida and national politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis' popularity, and other topics, can be found here: http://polls.saintleo.edu. You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.
SOURCE Saint Leo University Polling Institute