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Donald Trump has 17-point advantage over Marco Rubio in new Florida poll

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Donald Trump has a 17-point lead over Marco Rubio going into Tuesday’s presidential preference primary.

According to a new Monmouth University Poll of likely primary voters in Florida, Trump is leading the Republican field with 44 percent support. Rubio is in second with 27 percent of Florida Republicans saying they backed him. Ted Cruz is in third with 17 percent, followed by John Kasich at 9 percent.

“Florida is do or die for the Rubio campaign, but it looks like victory may have slipped from his grasp,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, in a statement Monday.

The poll found that 35 percent of respondents said they had already voted in the Republican primary.

As of Monday morning, more than 1.1 million Republicans have already voted — either by absentee ballot or in person during the early voting period — in the March 15 presidential preference primary. Elections officials across the state have said they are expecting high turnout in the election.

Rubio is spending the day campaigning along the Interstate 95 corridor, holding an event in Jacksonville on Monday morning before making his way to Melbourne for an afternoon meet-and-greet.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted from March 11 to March 13. The live phone survey 405 likely Republican voters and has a margin error of 4.9 percent.

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