BOCA RATON, Fla., Sept. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Marco Rubio jumped into second place in Florida, a pivotal swing state where Hillary Clinton trails in most general election matchups with Republican presidential contenders, according to the latest survey conducted by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI) in the College of Business.
The survey was conducted in Florida from Sept. 17-20, the days immediately after the latest Republican debate.
If the 2016 Republican primary for president were held today, Donald Trump would win Florida with 31.5 percent of the vote, with Rubio finishing second with 19.2 percent of the vote and Jeb Bush taking third with 11.3 percent.
In a Democratic primary, Clinton would win an overwhelming majority with 59.5 percent of the votes, well ahead of Joe Biden (15.9 percent) and Bernie Sanders (15.2 percent).
That's where the good news ends for Clinton, however, as she came up short in many of the matchups with possible GOP nominees in the general election. Ben Carson fared best against Clinton, winning 51.7 percent to 39.5 percent. Rubio also looks to be a formidable opponent for Clinton, outpolling her 50.4 percent to 42.2 percent. Bush topped Clinton by several points, 49.1 percent to 40.9 percent. Meanwhile, Trump is in a statistical dead heat with Clinton, leading 45.9 percent to 44.5 percent, which is well within the margin of error.
"The survey shows a substantial negative view of Hillary Clinton, leaving room for other candidates to compete with her in both the general and primary elections," said Kevin Wagner, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of the Initiative. "The biggest winner from the debate among Florida voters may be Marco Rubio, who has jumped over both Jeb Bush and Ben Carson into second place."
The polling sample for the Democratic and the Republican primary consisted of 298 and 352 likely Florida voters, respectively, with a margin of error of +/-5.6 percent and +/-5.2 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. The General Election Sample consisted of 801 registered voters with a margin of error of +/-3.4 percent and a 95 percent confidence level.
SOURCE FAU Business and Economics Polling Institute