A new poll shows former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a slight lead over Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush in Florida, the largest swing state on the map in presidential elections, even as a majority of voters say she can’t be trusted. Clinton leads other Republicans by far wider margins.
Quinnipiac University released a poll of Florida voters showing Clinton edging Rubio 47 percent to 44 percent while she leads Bush 46 percent to 42 percent. The poll shows Clinton doing far better against other Republicans, beating U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., by 7 percent; Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., by 10 percent; and Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., by 11 percent. Clinton does best when matched up against Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, beating him 48 percent to 35 percent.
Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, pointed toward Clinton's strength with female voters as the reason for her advantage in Florida.
"Secretary Clinton continues to out-poll most major Republican wannabes in the Sunshine State. She holds her own when matched against the GOP's two native sons, former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio," Brown said. “The margin stems from her ability to keep the gender gap running in her favor. She holds low double-digit leads among women when matched against either man and that is enough to make the difference.”
Florida voters are divided on Clinton, with 47 percent seeing her as favorable while 45 percent see her as unfavorable. Rubio is seen as favorable by 38 percent and unfavorable by 33 percent. Bush is seen in a favorable light by 42 percent while 40 percent view him as unfavorable.
Other Republicans are upside down in the poll. Paul is seen as unfavorable by 35 percent and favorable by 30 percent. Huckabee is seen as favorable by 33 percent while 39 percent view him as unfavorable. Christie does even worse with only a quarter -- 25 percent -- seeing him as favorable while 43 percent view him as unfavorable. Cruz is less known but 25 percent see him as favorable while 32 percent view him as unfavorable.
Two candidates who ran in 2012 and are back in 2016 are also upside down in Florida. Former Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, is seen as favorable by 25 percent and unfavorable by 37 percent. Only 20 percent view former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., as favorable while 36 percent see him as unfavorable.
Easily the lowest polling candidate in Florida is businessman Donald Trump, who launched a presidential bid on Tuesday. A clear majority -- 62 percent -- of those surveyed see him as unfavorable while only 20 percent view him as favorable.
Other candidates remain largely unknown. Walker is seen as favorable by 27 percent and unfavorable by 25 percent, while 47 percent do not know enough about him to hold an opinion. A majority of those surveyed -- 54 percent -- aren’t sure about Dr. Ben Carson, who is running for the Republican nomination, but he does well with Floridians who know him with 27 percent seeing him as favorable and 18 percent as unfavorable.
Almost two-thirds -- 64 percent -- are not sure about Republican businesswoman Carly Fiorina but 18 percent see her as favorable while the same percentage see her as unfavorable. A majority -- 59 percent -- are not sure about U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., but 25 percent see him as unfavorable while 15 percent see him as favorable. Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., is seen as favorable by 20 percent, unfavorable by 25 percent while 54 percent are not sure about him.
Kasich is the most unknown possible candidate, with 70 percent not sure about him while 15 percent see him as favorable and 14 percent view him as unfavorable. Former Gov. George Pataki, R-N.Y., is also largely unknown with 68 percent not sure about him while 12 percent see him as favorable and 19 percent view him as unfavorable.
While she might be ahead, a slight majority of Florida voters -- 51 percent -- say Clinton is not honest and trustworthy while 43 percent think she is. Bush does slightly better with 52 percent saying he is honest while 36 percent disagree. Rubio is seen as honest by half -- 50 percent -- of those surveyed while 34 percent say he is not. Paul also gets good marks with 45 percent seeing him as honest while only 25 percent say he is not.
Most Florida voters -- 61 percent -- think Clinton has strong leadership qualities while 37 percent disagree. Slightly more voters -- 62 percent -- say that about Bush while 29 percent think he does not have those qualities. Voters are less sure about Rubio’s leadership qualities, with 52 percent saying he has them while 33 percent think he does not.
Where Rubio does score is with voters thinking he cares about average people’s problems, with 52 percent thinking he cares about them; 37 percent do not agree. Almost half -- 48 percent -- say Bush cares about average people’s problems but 43 percent think he does not. Voters divide on Clinton with 48 percent thinking she cares, while 46 percent think she doesn’t.
Asked about the most important issue in the presidential election, 40 percent of Florida voters say it’s the economy and jobs while 14 percent say health care and 12 percent think it is terrorism. Foreign policy is the chief concern of 8 percent while 7 percent say the federal deficit is the most important issue; 6 percent say it’s immigration, 5 percent think it’s climate change and 4 percent say taxes.
The poll of 1,147 Florida voters was taken June 4-15 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
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