• Sat. Oct 24th, 2020

Poll: Trump and Biden are tied in battleground Florida

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are deadlocked in the battleground of Florida eight weeks before Election Day, with ballots being mailed to state voters later this month, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll.

Trump and Biden both get the support of 48 percent of likely voters, with the president ahead among Latinos in the state, and Biden doing better with seniors than Hillary Clinton did four years ago.

Among a wider universe of all registered voters, it’s Trump 48 percent, Biden 47 percent.

Also, the poll shows Trump leading on which candidate would better handle the economy, while Biden has the advantage on the coronavirus and race relations.

“It’s not unusual for Florida to be this close,” says Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the survey.

Trump won it by just more than 1 percentage point four years ago.

And Miringoff explains the electoral implications of the state’s 29 electoral votes: “If Trump loses Florida, it’s game over. If Trump wins, the story of the night will still have to be told,” given the remaining battlegrounds of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Biden’s biggest advantages in the tied Florida race are among Black likely voters (he leads them 83 percent to 11 percent), women (57 percent to 40 percent) and independents (51 percent to 40 percent).

Trump, meanwhile, leads among men (58 percent to 38 percent), white voters (56 percent to 41 percent) and whites without college degrees (63 percent to 35 percent).

Yet in a significant break from four years ago, Trump holds the narrow edge over Biden among likely Latino voters, 50 percent to 46 percent — with Trump leading sizably among Latinos of Cuban descent, and with Biden just slightly ahead among all other Latinos in the state. (The Cuban-versus-non-Cuban Latino split in the poll is too small to report the actual numbers.)

In the 2016 race, Hillary Clinton bested Trump among Florida Latinos, 62 percent to 35 percent, according to the exit poll.

But in another break from 2016, Biden is barely ahead among seniors in the state, 49 percent to 48 percent.

Four years ago, Trump won Florida seniors, 57 percent to 40 percent, according to the exit poll.

Trump leads on the economy; Biden ahead on coronavirus and race relations

As national polls also show, Florida voters give Trump the advantage on the economy, with 53 percent of likely voters in the state saying the president would better handle the issue, versus 40 percent who think Biden would.

But Biden leads on dealing with the coronavirus (49 percent to 40 percent) and on race relations (51 percent to 37 percent).

Trump holds a narrow 3-point lead on which candidate would better handle crime, 48 percent to 45 percent.

And asked about the recent police actions against George Floyd in Minnesota and Jacob Blake in Wisconsin — as well as protests and violence and destruction that followed — 44 percent of likely voters say they are more concerned about the police actions, while 43 percent are more concerned about the protests.

Trump’s job rating in Florida stands at 47 percent

Forty-seven percent of likely voters in the Sunshine State approve of President Trump’s job performance, while 48 percent disapprove. (Among the wider group of registered voters, it’s 46 percent approve, 48 percent disapprove.)

Similarly, 47 percent of likely voters have a favorable impression of Trump, versus 50 percent who have an unfavorable impression (-3).

Biden’s fav/unfav rating is 46 percent favorable, 49 percent unfavorable (-3).

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ job rating among likely voters stands at 46 percent approve, 44 percent disapprove, according to the poll.

What the poll’s sample looks like

As Marist works to ensure that harder-to-reach voters are included in its samples, 19 percent of the likely voters surveyed come from the North/Panhandle region of the state; another 19 percent are from Orlando and the central coast; 16 percent are from the Tampa area; 19 percent are from the central part of the state; and 27 percent are from the Miami and Florida Keys areas.

Thirty-five percent of likely voters identify as Republicans, 32 percent are Democrats and 31 percent are independents.

And 42 percent of all likely voters hold college degrees, while whites with college degrees make up 26 percent of the likely voter sample.

The NBC News/Marist poll of Florida was conducted – by cell phone and landline interviews – from Aug. 31 to Sept. 6 of 766 likely voters, which has a margin of error of plus-minus 4.5 percentage points.

The poll also interviewed 1,047 registered voters (plus-minus 3.9 percentage points) and 1,146 (plus-minus 3.7 percentage points).