Rubio leading Murphy — helped by double-digit edge among independents, poll shows

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy won their respective Senate primaries on Tuesday.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy won their respective Senate primaries on Tuesday.

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio holds a 7 percent lead over Democrat Patrick Murphy in Florida’s nationally watched U.S. Senate race, helped by a double-digit edge among independent voters, a poll showed Friday.

Quinnipiac University’s survey found that Florida’s race parallels the presidential contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in many ways. Like Trump, Rubio runs strongest among men and white voters, generally; Murphy is helped by women voters and minorities — another Clinton strength.

Overall, Rubio is leading Murphy 50-43 percent, the poll showed. But that margin is helped by the Republican’s 53-37 percent dominance among independent voters.

Rubio’s strength among these voters is a sign that his late-entry into his re-election contest — after months of insisting he would no run — is not hurting.

“Democrats hoped they could use Sen. Marco Rubio’s change of heart on running for re-election against him, but so far the former presidential candidate has been able to keep a narrow lead,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll.

“Without Rubio’s double-digit lead among independent voters, he would be in much more trouble,” Brown said.

Last month, a Quinnipiac poll concluded the Rubio-Murphy race was too close to call. But that could be changing after both men secured their parties’ nominations in Aug. 31 primary contests.

The latest survey has a 4 percent plus-or-minus margin-of-error. Quinnipiac telephoned 601 Florida likely voters from Aug. 31 through Wednesday.

The Florida race is among several which could prove key to whether Republicans can maintain control of the U.S. Senate following the November elections.

In other state surveys released Friday by Quinnipiac, Republican candidates are also leading in North Carolina and Ohio.

 

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