BOCA RATON, Fla., Jan. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Donald Trump has surged nearly 12 points in the last two months and is closing on half of the GOP vote in Florida, where Hillary Clinton has improved in all head-to-head matchups against GOP frontrunners, according to a new poll by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI).
The survey began Jan. 15, the day after the latest GOP debate, and concluded Jan. 18, the day following the most recent Democratic debate.
Trump leads the GOP field in Florida with 47.6 percent; followed by Ted Cruz at 16.3 percent; Marco Rubio at 11.1 percent; and Jeb Bush at 9.5 percent. Ben Carson fell from third to fifth as his support dropped from 14.5 percent in November 2015 to just 3.3 percent in this latest poll. Cruz gained more than six points from the November 2015 poll, while Rubio lost more than seven points, and Bush gained six-tenths of a point.
With his support growing in each of the polls BEPI has conducted since September 2015, Trump has clearly seized momentum in Florida, where he enjoys a 70 percent favorability rating among GOP voters.
"At this point, Donald Trump is simply crushing the opposition in the Florida Republican primary," said Kevin Wagner, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of the Initiative.
On the Democratic side, Clinton has strengthened her position in head-to-head matchups with the GOP frontrunners. Clinton has turned a three-point deficit against Cruz in November into a five-point lead, while pulling even with Rubio after trailing him by seven points two months earlier. Clinton also closed the gap on Trump by six points and now trails the GOP frontrunner 47 to 44.3 percent. However, Bush leads Clinton in Florida 45 to 41.5 percent.
Clinton also maintains a 36-point lead over Bernie Sanders (62.2 to 25.9 percent), despite losing seven points from her 43-point margin in November.
"Clinton continues to hold a solid lead on the Democratic side in Florida," said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of the BEPI. "She's also performing much better against all the GOP frontrunners, including Trump."
SOURCE FAU Business and Economics Polling Institute