- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Businessman Donald Trump has a double-digit lead over his closest 2016 GOP competitor in Florida, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, with both men outpacing native sons Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Mr. Trump has the support of 28 percent of GOP primary voters in Florida, followed by Mr. Carson at 17 percent, according to the survey from the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling.

Mr. Bush, the state’s former governor, was at 13 percent and Mr. Rubio, a current U.S. senator, was at 10 percent.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was in fifth at 9 percent, followed by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina at 7 percent and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 5 percent.

Mr. Rubio had the highest favorable rating among GOP voters, 73 percent/20 percent favorable/unfavorable split among GOP voters. Mr. Bush had a 55 percent/36 percent favorable/unfavorable split among Republicans.

In a head-to-head matchup, Mr. Trump beats Mr. Bush by 17 points, 55 percent to 38 percent, while Mr. Trump loses to Mr. Rubio by 3 points, 49 percent to 46 percent.

Mr. Trump had a 56 percent/35 percent favorable/unfavorable split among Republicans, and Mr. Carson led the way among non-Floridians with a 72 percent/13 percent split among the GOP.

Mr. Carson was also the most frequently named second choice for Republicans, at 16 percent.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had a sizable lead, with 55 percent of Democrats supporting her compared to 18 percent for Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and 17 percent for Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who has not yet made a decision on a 2016 run.

But she trails in head-to-head match-ups against Mr. Carson, Mr. Trump, Ms. Fiorina, Mr. Rubio, Mr. Bush, Mr. Kasich, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. She had 2 point leads, 45 percent to 43 percent, against both Mr. Cruz and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

In a three-way contest, Mrs. Clinton received 39 percent of the vote to Mr. Bush’s 29 percent, with Mr. Trump, as an independent, at 27 percent. Mr. Trump recently signed a pledge stating he would support the eventual GOP nominee and not mount a third-party run if the doesn’t win the Republican nomination.

Mr. Carson had the biggest head-to-head lead on Mrs. Clinton at 9 points, 49 percent to 40 percent, and had a 45 percent/25 percent favorable/unfavorable split among the general electorate.

Among the general electorate, Mrs. Clinton had a negative 53 percent/40 percent unfavorable/favorable split.

The survey of 814 voters was taken from Sept. 11-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent. The poll included 377 GOP primary voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percent and 368 Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percent.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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