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Latest FAU Poll Shows Trump Surging to 48 Percent in Florida as Clinton Closes Gap in Matchups with GOP (Allen Grayson Opens Lead on Patrick Murphy in U.S. Senate Race)

Release Date: Jan 20, 2016

MEDIA CONTACT: Jim Hellegaard
561-319-2233, jhellegaard@fau.edu

BOCA RATON, Fla. (January 20, 2016) – 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 was conducted in Florida from Jan. 15-18, immediately after the latest GOP and Democratic debates.

Trump leads the GOP field 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. “Not only has he increased his lead, Mr. Trump's favorability ratings among Republicans are now ahead of his competitors by a substantial margin.”

On the Democratic side, Clinton has strengthened her position in head-to-head matchups with the GOP frontrunners. Clinton has turned a 3-point deficit against Cruz in November into a 5-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.”

The public opinion of all the top-tier candidates continues to be universally unfavorable. Among all voters, Clinton and Trump had the best ratio, with each scoring a favorable rating from 42 percent of respondents and an unfavorable rating from 51 percent. Cruz fared worst in this area, with 31 percent of voters giving him a favorable rating and 54 percent an unfavorable rating.

In the race for the U.S. Senate in Florida, Allen Grayson, Democrat, holds a seven-point lead (27 to 20 percent) over U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy, Democrat. On the Republican side, David Jolly holds a 20-point lead over Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Ron DeSantis. Many respondents were undecided, including 45 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of Republicans.

The polling sample for the Democratic and the Republican primary consisted of 383 and 386 likely Florida voters, respectively, with a margin of error of +/-4.9 percent. The U.S. Senate primary poll consisted of 371 Democrats and 345 Republican adult registered likely primary voters in Florida, with a margin of error or +/-5.0 and +/-5.2 percent, respectively. The general election sample consisted of 1,008 registered voters with a +/-3 percent margin of error and a 95 percent confidence level.

For more information, contact Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., at 561-297-1312 or BEPI@fau.edu, or visit www.business.fau.edu/bepi

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