President Donald Trump and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden hold commanding leads in the race for their parties’ nominations for president in 2020, and are in a dead heat in a possible head-to-head matchup, according to a statewide survey of Florida voters by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI).
In a crowded field of Democratic candidates, Biden polled at 39 percent, followed by U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who are tied at 12 percent, South Bend, Ind. 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, Ph.D., director of the FAU BEPI.
The survey polled how each of the top five Democratic candidates would do in a matchup with Trump. Biden fared the best in 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, while Harris phttps://www.dynata.com/olled six points behind the president, 53-47 percent.
Trump’s approval rating among Florida voters rose to 47 percent (up from 44 percent in the FAU BEPI’s March poll), with 44 percent disapproval. With former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld the only announced GOP opponent to Trump, the survey also included 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.
A plurality of voters, 48 percent, supports legislation recently approved by the Florida legislature requiring repayment of financial obligations before a felon’s voting rights are restored, while 34 percent oppose and 19 percent are undecided. In 2018, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment automatically restoring the right to vote to nearly 1.5 million people who had committed a felony in the past.
“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, Ph.D., 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 survey was conducted May 16-19 and polled 1,007 Florida registered voters. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points. The data was weighted by ethnicity, age, education, party affiliation, region and gender based on a 2016 voter model. It is important to remember that subsets carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines and an online panel provided by Dynata. The polling results and full cross-tabulations are available at www.business.fau.edu/bepi.
The Florida Atlantic University Business and Economic Polling Initiative conducts surveys on business, economic, political and social issues with a focus on Hispanic attitudes and opinions at regional, state and national levels via planned monthly national surveys. The initiative subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research and is a resource for public and private organizations, academic research and media outlets. In addition, the initiative is designed to contribute to the educational mission of the University by providing students with valuable opportunities to enhance their educational experience by designing and carrying out public opinion research.