Rubio’s lead widens on Murphy in latest Florida poll

Republican Marco Rubio; Democrat Patrick Murphy

Republican Marco Rubio; Democrat Patrick Murphy

Republican Marco Rubio has gained an edge over Democrat Patrick Murphy on the strength of strong support among independent voters in the latest survey of Florida’s free-swinging U.S. Senate race.

Rubio holds a 6 percent lead on Murphy, 50-44 percent, in a Quinnipiac University Poll released Thursday. While early voters have been favoring Murphy, the Republican incumbent has a commanding lead among independent voters, 54-38 percent, the survey found.

“Candidates with a 16-point lead among independent voters rarely lose, and Sen. Rubio, who has that edge over U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, appears to be pulling away from the challenger. But anything is possible,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Republican Senate committees and outside groups like the National Rifle Association have been spending heavily on behalf of Rubio, giving him a roughly 3-to-1 advantage on Murphy, who has been mostly set adrift by Democratic organizations and allied groups who have steered their money into Senate contests in other states.

Rubio has led in virtually every poll released since he entered the race in June. But recent surveys had shown the race tightening.

Rubio also has kept his distance from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who he has endorsed but refuses to campaign with or near.

While Trump has tanked among women voters, Rubio leads Murphy 51-43 percent within this cohort. He’s also ahead of the Democrat among men 49-46 percent, the poll showed.

Quinnipiac surveyed 626 likely Florida voters from last Thursday through Tuesday. The poll has a margin-of-error of plus-or-minus 3.9 percentage points.

 

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