Republicans could use a little good news in this election cycle, and Bloomberg offers up a respite from the recent polling gloom. For the first time since the beginning of the month, Donald Trump has a lead in Florida in a major poll, albeit within the margin of error. Trump leads by two in the four-way race, and by a single point head-to-head with Hillary Clinton:
Donald Trump has a slim advantage in Florida as critical independent voters narrowly break his way in the must-win battleground state, a Bloomberg Politics poll shows.
The Republican presidential nominee has 45 percent to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 43 percent among likely voters when third-party candidates are included, the poll found. In a hypothetical two-way race, Trump has 46 percent to Clinton’s 45 percent.
Among independents, Trump gets 43 percent to Clinton’s 41 percent in a head-to-head contest. When third-party candidates are included, Trump picks up 1 point with independents while Clinton drops to 37 percent, with Libertarian Gary Johnson taking 9 percent and the Green Party’s Jill Stein getting 5 percent.
To be sure, this is an outlier, at least at the moment. The RCP average before this poll had Hillary up 3.1 points (now 1.6 points), and the closest Trump has gotten to Hillary since the second debate is being behind three points in several polls. (One Republican pollster called it a tie last week.) What’s interesting about Florida is that it has remained close all along. A quick look at the aggregation at RCP shows a very stable race since late September, when Trump’s better polling faded out even before the release of the Access Hollywood tape. For the past five weeks, one mostly sees results of Hillary up between 3-5 points — no big swings or changes.
Of course, polling shows a slice of time, and things could have changed in the past few days to produce a shift. However, we also have more solid data on voter registration and early voting in Florida, both of which indicate a turnout stronger among Democrats than Republicans. If there has been a late shift, it might be too late to impact the 2 million votes already received by the state. These days, late-breaking news matters less than before as early voting keeps expanding. Also, the partisan composition of the poll (R+1 at 33/32/33) doesn’t quite match up with the split on new voter registration, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility for an Election Day model, either.
In the Senate race, Rubio has assumed a commanding lead over Patrick Murphy:
In the U.S. Senate race, Republican incumbent Marco Rubio leads Democratic Representative Patrick Murphy 51 percent to 41 percent. Independents support Rubio 51 percent to 36 percent.
Both Rubio and Trump win with independents, but Rubio’s performance is superior among women, who back him by eight points. Rubio also ties Murphy among Hispanic voters, whereas Hillary gets 51% of that demo (Bloomberg doesn’t mention Trump’s percentage in the four-way question). This poll is also a bit of an outlier for the Senate race in Florida, but not by a lot. Rubio’s had a couple of +8 results in RCP’s aggregation, although a Fox/Opinion Savvy poll showed the race a tie last week. Murphy has not led in any poll this cycle except for two from Democratic pollster PPP in June, just before Rubio made his candidacy official — and PPP’s most recent iteration puts Rubio up five.
Rubio’s bid looks pretty good. Trump’s chances still look a little bit like a long shot, especially with the volume and direction of early voting.