A recent poll shows that real estate mogul Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) lead Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) in Florida.
Here are the results of Thursday's St. Pete Poll conducted between Dec. 14-15:
- Trump: 36 percent
- Cruz: 22 percent
- Rubio: 17 percent
- Bush: 9 percent
- Dr. Ben Carson: 6 percent
This poll has not yet been included in RealClearPolitics polling averages in Florida, but they still show Trump leading:
- Trump: 32 percent
- Carson: 18 percent
- Rubio: 17.3 percent
- Cruz: 10.7 percent
- Bush: 9 percent
The fact that Rubio and Bush aren't even in the top two in their home state does not bode well for either, especially since their polling numbers combined don't come close to Trump. The Daily Beast's Will Rahn notes that Rubio is having trouble on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire, too:
Now, instead of talk of a boom for Rubio, we increasingly have Republicans wondering how the guy is getting so consistently out-hustled on the ground. “[U]nderneath the buzz, GOP activists in New Hampshire are grumbling that Rubio has fewer staff members and endorsements than most of his main rivals and has made fewer campaign appearances in the state, where voters are accustomed to face-to-face contact with presidential contenders,” The Boston Globe wrote this month. Iowa Republicans, meanwhile, are likewise annoyed that he doesn’t have much of a presence there.
Rubio’s apparent reluctance to really work the trail is all a bit mystifying. He says he’s missing Senate votes because he’s busy campaigning, and then people in New Hampshire and Iowa get miffed that he’s nowhere to be found. You don’t need a lot of money to barnstorm, which is why it’s usually the preferred tactic of candidates like Rubio, who has lagged behind Cruz and Bush in the fundraising race.
The Washington Examiner pointed out that Bush's debate watch party in Miami was mostly empty.
The St. Pete poll seems to confirm the trend that Republican voters aren't interested in establishment candidates like Rubio and Bush, consistently choosing outsiders like Trump, Cruz, and Carson over them. It could end up being a Trump vs. Cruz primary after all.