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Donald Trump, Ben Carson first and second in latest Florida presidential poll

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The latest Public Policy Poll survey released Tuesday shows that, as is the case in virtually every other poll in the country right now, Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson are the top two favorites of Republican presidential primary voters in Florida, more than four months before the first votes start counting.

Trump and Carson’s ascendancy is bad news for Florida native sons Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, who now reside in third and fourth place, respectively in the new PPP poll.

Trump is on top with 28 percent, continuing his place atop the leader board in the Sunshine State. Carson trails Trump by 11 percentage points, and currently has 17 percent support. Bush is third with 13 percent, Rubio fourth with 10 percent.

Ted Cruz follows at 9 percent, Carly Fiorina is at 7 percent and John Kasich at 5 percent.

Beyond that group Mike Huckabee‘s at 3 percent, Chris Christie and Scott Walker at 2 percent, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum at 1 percent, and Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Rand Paul are all at less than 1 percent.

The poll shows that Bush would be walloped by Trump if the race were just a two-man contest. Trump leads Bush, 55-38 percent.

On the other hand, Rubio beats Trump, 49-46 percent.

On the Democratic side, Florida remains a bulwark for Hillary Clinton. While she’s struggling against Bernie Sanders in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton is dominating in Florida, leading Sanders 55-18 percent.

Vice President Joe Biden is in third place with 17 percent. Martin O’Malley is at 2 percent. Jim Webb and Lincoln Chaffee are at 1 percent.

“Florida provides more evidence of Hillary Clinton remaining strong for the Democratic nomination in the South even as she struggles in Iowa and New Hampshire,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling.

The general election numbers in Florida are generally good for the GOP. The strongest Republican in the state is Carson, who leads Clinton 49/40 and Sanders 48/33. Carson easily has the best net favorability rating with the overall electorate– +20 at 45/25. The second strongest polling Republican is actually Trump, who leads her by 6 at 48/42 and who has a similar 47/41 lead over Sanders. Biden polls a tick closer to Trump, trailing by 4 at 47/43. Also leading Clinton by decent-sized margins are Fiorina (46/41) and Rubio (48/43). Fiorina (37/31) and Rubio (44/43) join Carson in having positive favorabilities with the full voter pool.

Public Policy Polling surveyed 814 voters from September 11th to 13th, including 377 Republican primary voters and 368 Democratic primary voters. The margin of error for the overall survey is +/-3.4 percent, for the Republican primary voters it’s +/-5.1 percent, and for the Democratic primary voters it’s +/-5.1 percent. Eighty percent of participants responded via the phone, while 20 percent of respondents who did not have landlines conducted the survey over the Internet.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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