The Establishment’s Florida Problem
The Florida and Ohio primaries on March 15 will determine whether Trump will be able to win the nomination outright, and at least in Florida it appears that he isn’t going to be stopped. A new PPP survey from Florida not only found that Trump is leading Rubio by 20 points (45-25%), but that he has surpassed Rubio’s favorability ratings in the state. Trump is now viewed favorably by 64% of Florida Republicans compared to Rubio’s 60%. Trump’s lead is consistent with what other recent Florida polls have found, and Trump’s lead in the RCP average is 18 points. According to PPP, Rubio’s overall approval rating as senator has dropped to a dismal 31%, and disapproval has shot up to 55%. His approval ratings have gone down 10 points since September, and more Floridians want him to drop out of the race (44%) than want him to stay in (40%). It seems that neglecting to do his job and running a presidential campaign most Floridians didn’t want him to run have taken their toll.
Perhaps most remarkable of all is that Trump beats Rubio in a hypothetical one-on-one match-up 52-38%. For all the complaining about Kasich’s continued presence in the race from the senator’s fans, Rubio couldn’t win his home state against the front-runner even if all of the other candidates were out of the race. If the poll is correct, it wouldn’t even be close. Kasich may be able to beat Trump in Ohio even with the other candidates staying in. That’s the difference between being the popular governor of Ohio who has actually done something for his constituents, and an unpopular, no-show senator from Florida who has accomplished nothing for his. Naturally, many party leaders want to rally behind the latter, which is more evidence of the sort of judgment that got them into their current mess. It is fitting that the candidate so many anti-Trump Republicans have worked so hard to prop up and cheer on won’t be able to deliver his own state when it is absolutely necessary in order to thwart a Trump nomination.