Saint Leo University Polling Institute Releases Results from New Florida Politics Survey

June 10, 2015


As a key battleground state in national elections, Florida continues to be a bellwether both demographically and politically of national trends.

That certainly holds true in the Saint Leo University Polling Institute’s new quarterly survey of Florida politics in which both the presidential and U.S. Senate races were examined. The poll of 535 Florida adults was conducted between May 25 and May 31, 2015. The margin of error was approximately 4.5 percent +/- with a 95 percent confidence level.

According to the polling institute’s latest results, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida has pulled nearly even with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as the top choice among Florida Republicans for president of the United States. While Bush remains the top choice of 30 percent of the respondents, Rubio has closed the gap considerably, and is now at 34 percent, up eight points from Saint Leo’s March survey.

If the Republican primary for president were held today, which one of the following would you support for the Republican nomination?

March June Candidate
31 % 30 % Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
16 % 24 % U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida
10 % 7 % Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
9 % 7 % Dr. Ben Carson
7 % 7 % U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky
4 % 6 % Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Rubio also saw an eight-point increase in the number of voters naming him as their second choice. Combining the first and second place votes, Rubio has overtaken Bush. Rubio shows a combined 53 percent first- and second-choice votes, whereas Bush receives 42 percent.

And who would be your second choice?

March June Candidate
21 % 29 % U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida
13 % 12 % Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
7 % 8 % Dr. Ben Carson
6 % 7 % Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
5 % 7 % New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
5 % 6 % U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas
5 % 6 % Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

When given a choice of only Bush and Rubio, Rubio leads Bush among Florida Republicans, 48 to 40 percent:

Let’s say both Florida Senator Marco Rubio and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush run for president in 2016. Which candidate would you support?

    Select crosstabs: R I D
34 %   Marco Rubio 48 35 21
32 %   Jeb Bush 40 30 26
28 %   Neither 6 27 49
6 %   Don’t know / not sure 6 8 4

“The surge for Senator Rubio is significant and is easily the most interesting finding in our poll,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. “Bush is still holding off Rubio in Florida, but the only factor keeping Rubio from the lead is the large number of conservative candidates who have siphoned his support. “That is evidenced by how many respondents like Rubio as their second choice.”

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s candidacy continues to remain strong as 60 percent of Florida Democrats named her as their first choice in a primary, way ahead of Vice President Joe Biden at 11 percent. Bernie Sanders is supported by 5 percent of voters.

More voters expect Clinton to win the Democratic nomination than did so three months ago. Now 62 percent of Democrats expect Clinton to be nominated:

Regardless of whom you personally support, which candidate do you think is most likely to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2016?

March June Candidate
55 % 62 % Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
12 % 10 % Vice President Joe Biden
4 % 3 % New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Clinton continues to enjoy an 82/12 favorable/unfavorable rating among likely voter Democrats.

“There is no evidence of a ‘stop Hillary’ sentiment among Florida Democrats,” stated Orlando.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about Florida and national politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis’ popularity, and other topics, can be found here: You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.