If the 2020 presidential primary was held today in Florida, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden would easily win the primary election. But the two candidates would be locked in a political dead heat in a head-to-head match-up in the general election.
Those are the findings of a survey conducted by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU (FAU BEPI).
The poll shows Trump’s approval rating on the rise in Florida, jumping to 47 percent. That’s up 3 percent from FAU’s last poll conducted in March. Forty-four percent of registered voters disapprove of the job the president is doing.
“President Trump’s approval ratings in Florida have remained fairly steady across our polling, and he continues to have a strong base of support in this state,” said Kevin Wagner, professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of the Initiative. “Former Vice President Joe Biden does well across the board in Florida, and his strength among moderate Democrats appears largely unchallenged so far.”
The FAU poll also measured a contest between Trump and the only other announced Republican in the race, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, along with three hypothetical Republican challengers: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and current Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. Trump won 85 percent support in the poll, with Rubio polling at 5 percent, Kasich at 2 percent and Weld at 1 percent.
In a crowded field of some two dozen Democratic candidates, Biden tops the poll of contenders at 39 percent. He’s followed by U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who are tied at 12 percent, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 9 percent, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris at 7 percent and former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke at 5 percent.
“Even though Joe Biden has a substantial lead among the Democrats, with almost 10 months to go before the Florida Democratic presidential primary, there is still plenty of time for the other candidates to make up ground,” said Monica Escaleras, director of the FAU BEPI.
The survey asked registered voters who they would support in a matchup between Trump and each of the top five Democratic candidates in the survey. Biden fared the best posting a 50-50 tie with Trump. Sanders polled at 49 percent to Trump’s 51 percent. Trump won matchups with Warren and Buttigieg, both 52-48 percent, Harris trailed six points behind the president, 53-47 percent.
The FAU poll also sampled voters opinions on Amendment 4 and the implementing language enacted by the Legislature during this year’s legislative session. In 2018, Florida voters approved the constitutional amendment automatically restoring the right to vote to nearly 1.5 million people who had committed a felony in the past.
A plurality of voters, 48 percent, supports legislation that requires repayment of financial obligations before a felon’s voting rights are restored, while 34 percent oppose and 19 percent are undecided.
The FAU poll surveyed 1,007 Florida registered voters between May 16 and 19. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points.