With just Minnesota and now Puerto Rico under his belt as wins, the pressure continues to build on Marco Rubio. His home state of Florida is a must-win more than ever, not just for symbolic reasons but to help him begin to shrink the large gap that now exists in his delegate count vs. rivals Ted Cruz and Donald Trump — both of whom now have just about double the delegates Rubio holds.
Many polls, however, have shown Trump with a double-digit lead over Rubio in Florida. But one new poll released today shows prospects may be brightening for Rubio in his home state.
Via The Hill:
Trump leads Rubio by 8 points in the senator’s home state, 38 percent to 30 percent.
It’s a significant shift from earlier polls that found Trump with a double-digit lead.
Of course, we all know polling methodology varies so much that comparing a poll by one organization to another’s is comparing apples to oranges, so we can take those comparisons with a grain of salt.
Florida is a must-win state for Rubio, who would not have much of a path to the GOP nomination without a victory in his home state.
The loss would also be a significant blow to Trump, given that Florida is a winner-take-all state awarding 99 delegates.
The Monmouth poll finds Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) taking 17 percent and Ohio Gov. John Kasich winning 10 percent.
Rubio leads the front-runner among the about 1 in 5 voters who have already cast their ballots, 48 percent to 23 percent. Trump leads among those who haven’t voted yet, 42 percent to 26 percent.
The poll was conducted by phone from March 3 to 6 among 403 Florida voters likely to vote in the Republican presidential primary. There is a margin of error of 4.9 percent.
Breitbart’s John Nolte notes that even though Trump still leads Rubio in this latest poll, Rubio and his supporters have reason to be encouraged beyond Trump’s apparently shrinking lead.
Although, Trump leads in this poll, there is good news for Rubio. First off, he has banked much of his vote in early voting. Secondly, the trend is with him. Just two weeks ago, albeit in different polls, Trump’s lead was +20 points. Finally, Trump has been losing late deciders in most of these states. One caveat, though, is that Florida voters already know Marco Rubio.
Best of all, Rubio has another week and one more debate ahead of him. That is forever in politics.
Meanwhile CNN is reporting just this afternoon that some advisers are suggesting Rubio drop out before Florida.
But privately, the campaign is having a debate about whether he should remain in the mix — even for his home state of Florida’s primary.
“He doesn’t want to get killed in his home state,” one source familiar with the discussions said, noting “a poor showing would be a risk and hurt his political future.”
Alex Conant, Rubio’s communication director, said the report of such an internal debate is “100% false.”
Even if Rubio does indeed pull off a win in his home state, many question whether he has a path to the nomination at this point.
Given the situation, what are your thoughts on Rubio staying in the race vs. dropping out?
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]