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Florida Hispanic voters give Hillary Clinton 24 point lead, Marco Rubio 9 points

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Florida’s Hispanic voters are solidly behind Hillary Clinton, especially non-Republican voters, and less solidly behind Florida’s Hispanic Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, according to a new poll conducted by Associated Industries of Florida.

The survey of 600 likely Hispanic voters — with 53 percent of them interviewed in Spanish — gives Clinton, Rubio, and his Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy strongly favorable indexes and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump a strong unfavorable index.

Overall, 54 percent of Hispanic voters are ready to vote for Clinton and 30 percent are willing to vote for Trump. In addition, there is a much larger portion of Republican voters who are undecided: 14 percent, to 7 percent of Democrats. Clinton has 75 percent of Democrats and Trump has 63 percent of Republicans. Independent and third-party voters prefer Clinton 61 to 20 percent.

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson is pulling 5 percent overall, mostly from the independent and third-party voters. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is drawing 2 percent overall, mostly from Democrats.

Clinton is winning all the age groups handily. The only age group that is relatively close is Hispanic voters 65 or older: 49 percent prefer Clinton and 39 percent favor Trump.

Rubio’s lead is built both among Republicans and independent and third-party voters. He has 83 percent of Republican Hispanics and 44 percent of independents, while Murphy draws 60 percent of Democrats. There are large numbers of undecided Democrats and independents in the U.S. Senate race, while almost all Republicans are decided.

The survey pool was picked to represent a party makeup that falls somewhere between the Hispanic voter turnouts of 2008 and 2012 and the current voter registration. In other words, today’s voter registration totals show a far larger number of independent or third-party Hispanic voters than showed up at either of the last two elections, and the poll split the difference. So 39 percent of the respondents were registered Democrats, 30 percent were registered Republicans, and 31 percent were either independents or members of third parties.

Clinton enjoys sizable leads over Trump when Hispanic voters were asked which candidate cares “about people like me;” “would create more jobs and strengthen the economy;” and “would take a stand to protect senior citizens.” Trump is slightly favored when such voters were asked which candidate “would secure our borders and strengthen our national security.”

Among all Hispanic voters, Clinton has a plus-26 favorability index [60 percent have favorable opinions and 34 percent have unfavorable opinions]; while Trump has a negative-36 [28 percent favorable, 64 percent unfavorable]. Rubio and Murphy both have plus-16 favorability indexes, though Rubio has a much higher favorable rating [53 percent], while Murphy has a much lower unfavorable rating [14 percent].

AIF’s analysis notes Murphy may suffer from continuing low name recognition, anticipating that many Hispanic voters who don’t know him might vote for Rubio out of default.

The survey report’s numbers do not report any distinctions between the ethnic groups — Cuban, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Caribbean, South American, Central American — but AIF apparently did monitor those data, because it is referenced in one of the conclusions.

“While Clinton has a substantial lead in the top lines, the real data point we would point out is the number of undecided Republicans. If they come home to him, it’s possible that Trump will perform closer to Romney’s number with Florida Hispanics in 2012, which was around 40 percent,” AIF’s analysis reported. “However, the positive outlook ends for him there, as Trump is down 44 percent with non-Cuban Hispanics who will make up half of the likely Hispanic electorate.”

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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