Poll: Trump leads Rubio in Florida

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs up during a South Carolina Republican primary night event, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 in Spartanburg, S.C. Trump is the winner in the South Carolina Republican primary. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(WFLA) — Billionaire celebrity and real estate mogul Donald Trump is leading Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in a new Quinnipiac University poll of likely Republican primary voters in Florida.

The poll, which was released Thursday, said that Trump leads Rubio 44 to 28.

Men preferred Trump over Rubio by a margin of 49 to 25 percent  and women preferred Trump 39 to 31 percent.

“Florida is the single biggest prize of the primary season because it is the largest state to allocate its delegates on a winner-take-all basis. If Sen. Rubio can’t win in his own home state, it is difficult to see how he can win elsewhere,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Qunnipiac University Poll.

12 percent of participants picked Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Ohio Gov. John Kasich had 7 percent and Dr. Ben Carson had 4 percent.

Five percent of Florida likely primary voters who participated in the poll said they are undecided. Thirty percent who named a candidate said they might change their mind before the March 15 primary.

“A third of likely primary voters say a candidate who is a strong leader is the key to their choice and 66 percent of them support Trump,” said Brown.

Rubio and Trump are tied 30 to 30 percent among those who most want a candidate who is honest and trustworthy. The economy and jobs is the most important primary election issue, 31 percent of Republicans say, with 18 percent citing terrorism and 14 percent listing immigration.

Trump was in Tampa less than two weeks ago and attracted a record crowd at the USF Sun Dome during a campaign rally on Feb. 12. 

From February 21 – 24, Quinnipiac University surveyed 705 Florida likely Republican primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points. Live interviewers called land lines and cell phones.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks at a town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Jan. 5. AP Photo
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks at a town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Jan. 5. AP Photo

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