Saint Leo Poll Results on Target with Tuesday Election Results

March 17, 2016

Tuesday’s presidential primary elections held true to last week’s survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute of likely Florida voters.Trump & Clinton

In the online survey, conducted March 8 and 9 of 500 likely Republican voters, billionaire businessman Donald Trump had the support of 41.4 percent of likely Republican primary voters, and with those saying they were leaning toward voting for Trump, the percentage rose to 45.4. 

Election results on March 15 found Trump garnering 45.7 percent.           

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute also polled 500 likely Florida Democratic voters during the same two days, and found former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton strongly in the lead with 59.4 percent selecting her over U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. With poll respondents who said they were leaning toward voting for Clinton, those saying they most likely would vote for her increased to 66.2 percent.

On Tuesday, Clinton received 66.4 percent of the votes in the Democratic primary.

Each poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida earned 27 percent while U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas earned 17.1 percent, and Ohio Governor John Kasich earned 6.8 percent in the Republican presidential primary. Rubio suspended his campaign Tuesday night after failing to win his home state.

“It was a big night for Donald Trump, and an even better night for Hillary Clinton,” said Frank Orlando, Saint Leo University political science instructor and Polling Institute expert. “You could argue that she moved closer to the nomination and presidency than ever before.  Her big wins make Sanders' campaign less than viable mathematically, and Trump's wins make it more likely that he will be her opponent in the general election. She'll start off in that campaign as a massive favorite based on the leakage away from Trump among Republicans that we observe in our poll.”

The Saint Leo poll specifically asked all the GOP likely voters how they would respond if Trump wins the party nomination. Two-thirds, exactly 66.6 percent, said they would vote for Trump in the general election if he wins the nomination, while 11.2 percent will choose the Democratic nominee. Another 15.2 percent said they were not sure, and the balance, 7 percent, said they would not cast a vote for a presidential candidate.

Orlando said he was pleased with how Saint Leo’s poll fared when compared with other polls prior to Florida’s primary.

“Out of all the big firms polling in the state, our poll performed the best across the two races,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to provide accurate assessments of the Florida electorate throughout this year's campaign.”