March 15, 2016
Florida has a number of things in common with North Carolina. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are favored in both. Bernie Sanders is trying to close the likely delegate gap in both.
The difference is on the GOP challenger side. There, Ted Cruz has some upside, here Marco Rubio is trying to salvage his political future. Will The Donald still have Rubio to kick around after today?
Donald Trump: 43.0%
Florida is a Trump state. It was one of the first to show a clear preference for The Donald. Not a 25% or 30% plurality, but a place he would win a two-way race. He cleared 40% when there were still 10+ candidates in the race.
He always manages to retain his final poll average in a Trump state. It’s especially likely in a place with such a high percentage of early and absentee voters. Nobody likes a good comeback story than me, but I just can’t find a Trump-slayer in the data.
Marco Rubio: 29.2%
This is with the assumption that many Cuban voters will rally around their countryman. This is assuming that other Floridians, those who like their junior senator, will decide at the last minute to support him to reduce his chances of an embarrassing loss.
It’s about equal to his very highest poll numbers. When Rubio had momentum, he often exceeded them. When he doesn’t, he falls short. Given his current status, there’s no way I could justify a number north of any of his polls.
Ted Cruz: 17.7%
Cruz normally exceeds his final poll average. It could happen again, but usually doesn’t in states where he fails to finish in the top two.
There are enough Tea Party supporters, particularly in the Panhandle and North Florida, who are disappointed with Rubio to keep Ted’s support in this range instead of falling away like Rubio’s is when Cruz is the clear anti-Trump choice.
John Kasich: 8.6%
As in North Carolina, Kasich picked up many of his current supporters after it became clear another candidate was the only way to stop Trump. In 18 polls, Kasich did no worse than 8%.
Whomever these voters are, they aren’t interested in Trump and aren’t interested in pooling their votes to stop him.
Hillary Clinton: 59.7%
I’m operating under the assumption that Michigan restored Bernie’s momentum. That’s helping him tremendously in Illinois. It’s helping quite a bit in Ohio. We’ve repeatedly seen that it only goes so far.
If a certain candidate has a definite advantage in a given state, it holds even if things are going the wrong way. That’s how Bernie won in Colorado and Minnesota on a day that was otherwise a bit disappointing.
It’s how Cruz won in Alaska when it looked like he was headed the wrong way. Bet momentum all you want in a state that’s something of a toss-up.
Florida is supposed to favor Hillary. The Panhandle and North Florida are like the Southern states she cleaned up in. South Florida and the Villages along the I-4 Corridor have the older voters who prefer her.
Floridian African American voters have more in common with their Southern brethren than the voters in Michigan who gave Bernie about 30% support for the first time.
I’m figuring Hillary comes in around 60% with approximately a 20 point lead. This is an indicator of how things may look in New York in another month. If Florida winds up closer than this, she’s a definite underdog in the state she represented.
Bernie Sanders: 39.8%
This is still better than his polls are showing. Polls in Southern states regularly sold Hillary short. To make them work, you had to give all undecided voters to her, and sometimes round his support down too.
Northeastern states are sort of the opposite (Midwestern states are consistently undershooting Bernie’s support.) Since Florida is a bit of a mix, I’m figuring the undecided voters split fairly evenly, and I’m giving extra weight to the most recent surveys.
This number is based on Bernie more than holding his own with Latino voters. If he gets over 55% with them, or over 20% with African Americans, he will break 40%.
Berners think he’s going to make this interesting. Not win, but get inside 15 points. In Nevada, I listened to them and incorrectly predicted a Sanders win. In Michigan I ignored them and incorrectly predicted a 16 point loss.
In fairness, not even Team Sanders was expecting a win, but they did think it was much closer than polls were making it appear. Going to stay cautious one more time.