With just a week to go until the Florida presidential primary election on March 15, polls continue to show Donald J. Trump with a clear, though perhaps tightening lead over Florida senator Marco Rubio.
A Monmouth University poll released Monday gives Trump an 8-point lead over Rubio. According to the poll, Trump is supported by 38 percent of likely primary voters, while Rubio is backed by 30 percent. Texas senator Ted Cruz and Ohio governor John Kasich are at 17% and 10% support, respectively.
The poll, which was conducted by telephone from March 3-6, sampled 403 Florida voters likely to vote in the Republican presidential primary, with a margin of error of ±4.9 percent.
While the Monmouth poll shows Trump leading the pack, his lead could be shrinking, if past polls are any indicator. Three polls released in February showed Trump with a lead ranging from 16 to 20 points. The Monmouth poll is the first taken since early voting began in Florida, and the poll shows Rubio with a 48% to 23% lead over Trump among the 19% of respondents who said they had voted early. However, the poll found Trump has a 42% to 26% lead among those who have yet to vote.
“Rubio is within shooting distance in his home state with a week to go in this volatile nomination contest,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. “It is telling, though, that Rubio is not even the clear victor in a direct face off with Trump. There goes the argument that Rubio would triumph if only it were a two-person race.”
If Trump emerges as the GOP nominee, 75% of those surveyed said they would get behind him in a general election against Hillary Clinton, though 10% said they would vote for Clinton.