Months after his humiliating defeat to Donald J. Trump in the Republican primary, Little Marco Rubio has been fighting for his political career just to keep his Florida Senate seat.
Well, new polling from the Sunshine State show that Rubio is in big trouble against Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy, with Rubio leading by a mere 3 points, making the race virtually tied.
“It’s a competitive race. It’s not a slam dunk,” said Brad Coker, pollster for Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the three-day Florida survey of 625 voters that ended Wednesday.
Coker said the Republican incumbent’s 46–43 percent lead over Murphy can be considered a tie because of the poll’s 4-point error margin. He said Murphy has room to grow because he’s relatively unknown. Both men are more liked than disliked, but only 21 percent are unfamiliar with Rubio while 59 percent say they don’t know enough about Murphy.
However, the bilingual Rubio has a base in the Democrats’ stronghold of Miami-Dade County and can pull more Hispanic votes than most Republicans, Coker said.
Murphy still leads among Hispanics in the Mason-Dixon poll, but by 49–41 percent. Murphy also dominates the black vote, beating Rubio 79-12 percent. Rubio has a sizable lead among non-Hispanic white voters, 53-36 percent. Men support Rubio 50-38 percent; women favor Murphy 47-43 percent.
An X-factor in the race: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who had been struggling in recent Florida polls. Coker said it’s unclear what effect the presidential race will have down ticket, though presidential election years in Florida tend to bring out more minority and young voters, who generally vote Democratic.
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