Exclusive Florida Decides Poll: Rubio barely leads Murphy by 4 points

By Anthony Leone and Julie Gargotta, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 9:59 AM EDT

Marco Rubio leads Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy by four points, according to a Bay News 9 / News 13 Florida Decides exclusive statewide poll.

Out of 1,251 likely November voters, 45 percent favored the Republican incumbent U.S. senator, while 41 percent preferred Murphy, who is currently the U.S. congressional representative of the 18th district. The margin of error on the poll was +/- 2.3 percent.

“I really like Marco Rubio,” said Linda Updike, one of the poll respondents. Updike said that she met Rubio years ago at a luncheon and the memory stuck with her. “I was very impressed with the fact that he didn’t dance round. He answered the questions directly,” she said.

The poll was broken down into various categories, such as gender, age, race, party affiliation and the issues, among other things.

Following a failed presidential bid, Rubio entered the Senate race back in June. He now has a strong 13-point lead among seniors. But Murphy is receiving support from younger voters.

"You decided to run for the Senate after this Pulse nightclub shooting, when you've been one of the most anti-gay senators in the country,” said Murphy.

"Congressman Murphy hasn't once broken with the nominee of his party, when she's been caught doing all these things,” countered Rubio.

Demetrius Smith, a political science professor at three area colleges, says results could tip the balance of power.

"If Patrick Murphy was to win, the Democrats have a chance of regaining the Senate," he said, noting that Murphy has a long way to go before the general election. "Patrick Murphy has to do everything he can. Marco Rubio has everything going for him because of name recognition."

Rubio is leading among Cuban, Hispanic and white voters, while Murphy is doing favorably among black and Asian voters.

However, in a separate part of the poll, 1,314 registered voters were asked who they favorably approved, and Rubio received 33 percent; Murphy received 27 percent in the same category.

Yet, the Republican challenger received a 26 percent unfavorable rating, while 25 percent of voters saw the Democratic seeker unfavorably.

The margin of error for these are +/- 2.8 percent. See more of that portion of the poll here.

Join us for exclusive coverage of the general election throughout October and through the Nov. 8 election.

Here’s your guide to our special coverage:

  • Special editions of Political Connections
  • Florida Decides 2016 election preview, Monday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m.
  • Election day coverage on-air, online, and on mobile starting at 7 a.m.

Get additional election coverage and other poll information here.

Detailed poll results

Q: If the election for United States Senator from Florida were today, and you were filling out your ballot right now, who would you vote for? Republican Marco Rubio? Democrat Patrick Murphy? Or one of the other candidates?

  Gender Age
Male Female 18-34 35-49 50-64 65+
Marco Rubio
45% 44% 33% 44% 45% 53%
Patrick Murphy
41% 41% 44% 38% 43% 40%
Other
7% 5% 5% 7% 7% 4%
Undecided
7% 9% 18% 11% 5% 2%
Total
100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Composition of likely
November primary voters
49% 51% 19% 26% 29% 27%

 


 

                Race Cuban Non-Cuban 
White Black Asian/
Other
Yes Hispanic
Marco Rubio
49% 21% 36%
59% 43%
Patrick Murphy
37% 67% 43%
28% 38%
Other
6% 5% 4%
3% 8%
Undecided
8% 7% 17%
10% 11%
Total
100% 100% 100%
100% 100%
Composition of likely
November primary voters
80% 14% 7% 5% 7%

 


 

 

  Party Affiliation
Strong
Rep.
Republican Ind. lean
Rep.
Independent Ind. lean
Dem.
Democrat
Strong
Dem.
Marco Rubio 92% 77% 81% 28% 5% 15% 4%
Patrick Murphy
3% 9% 5% 38% 79% 73% 92%
Other
4% 7% 7% 11% 6% 5% 0%
Undecided
1% 8% 7% 23% 10% 6% 4%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Composition of likely November voters 16% 16% 13% 12% 9% 18% 15%

 


 

 

  Ideology  
  Very Conserv. Somewhat Conserv. Moderate Somewhat Liberal Very Lib.
Marco Rubio 77% 72% 34% 14% 4%
Patrick Murphy
14% 16% 44% 75% 91%
Other 6% 7% 6% 6% 2%
Undecided 3% 5% 16% 5% 3%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Composition of likely
November voters
19% 23% 30% 14% 12%

 


 

  Education Income
  High School Some College 4-yr College < $40K $40K - $80K > $80K
Marco Rubio
39% 51% 42% 38% 45% 48%
Patrick Murphy 43% 34% 46% 46% 41% 39%
Other
7% 6% 6% 6% 5% 6%
Undecided
11% 9% 7% 10% 9% 7%
Total
100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Composition of likely November voters 15% 34% 50% 25% 35% 39%

 



  Issue
  Immigration Terrorism Economy National Security
Marco Rubio 73% 50% 42% 54%
Patrick Murphy
18% 38% 43% 36%
Other 6% 4% 6% 4%
Undecided 3% 8% 9% 6%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100%
Composition of likely
November voters
13% 18% 39% 12%

 


 

  Presidential Candidate
  Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton
Marco Rubio 82% 10%
Patrick Murphy
5% 79%
Other 7% 3%
Undecided 6% 8%
Total 100% 100%
Composition of likely
November voters
45% 48%

 

This Bay News 9/News 13 Exclusive statewide Florida Decides poll was conducted by SurveyUSA from Oct. 20-24. SurveyUSA interviewed 1,400 state of Florida adults, 1,314 of whom were registered to vote. Of those registered, 1,251 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the Nov. 8 general election. Just 1 percent of voters interviewed for this survey said they "almost always" vote in presidential elections but will not vote in 2016 because they do not like any of the candidates on the ballot. Five percent of voters said they "almost never" vote in presidential elections but will vote in 2016 because they were drawn to one of this year's candidates. Importantly: These "new" voters are spread across the political spectrum; they are not disproportionately Trump supporters. All of the interviews for this survey were conducted after the third presidential debate and at a time when Trump described himself as "unshackled." This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on their home telephones (65 percent of likely voters) were interviewed on their home telephones in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (35 percent of likely voters) were shown a questionnaire on the display of their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device.