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Poll: Most Florida Voters Unaware of Rubio's Trump Support

Will supporting Donald Trump lessen Marco Rubio's lead over Patrick Murphy? (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
Will supporting Donald Trump lessen Marco Rubio's lead over Patrick Murphy? (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
September 26, 2016

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Many Floridians are expecting fireworks tonight as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton take the stage in their first presidential debate.

But any attention getting comments from the Republican nominee could hurt Sen. Marco Rubio's run against Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Democrat facing Rubio in Florida's U.S. Senate race.

After at one point calling Trump a "con man," Rubio is supporting his former opponent. It's a fact that nearly two-thirds of Florida voters didn’t know, according t a recent poll from Monmouth University.

"Among those for whom it did matter, many more people told us that it made them less likely to support Rubio than more likely,” says Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “If that becomes a factor in this race for those voters, a few points' movement could give Murphy a shot here."

Currently, Rubio is ahead of Murphy 43 to 34 percent, according to a new Suffolk University poll, which also showed Clinton and Trump neck-and-neck in the Sunshine State.

Democrat Darden Rice, vice chair of the St. Petersburg City Council, says it's interesting that Rubio is backing Trump given the refusal of so many other Republicans to back him.

"A number of people that I've talked to, even Republicans, are really surprised by Rubio embracing Trump,” she states. “There's a sense that Rubio probably could have a good shot at winning his election without doing it, so it really calls into question Rubio's judgment and who he's really looking out for."

Rice says whoever becomes president will have influence for decades, something Rice says Floridians should consider when they cast their ballot.

"We're in a make-or-break moment where the next president will appoint two, possibly three, Supreme Court justices,” she points out. “And we're going to be looking at a number of important issues like fairness in elections, public sector unions, affirmative action, immigration."

The Suffolk poll also showed Trump ahead recently in the swing states of Nevada, Ohio and North Carolina.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - FL