Republican Marco Rubio is maintaining his lead over Democrat Patrick Murphy in a new poll of Florida’s US Senate race. University of North Florida pollsters conducted the survey before a 2005 video surfaced showing presidential nominee Donald Trump bragging about groping women. It's not yet clear how Trump's actions will affect other GOP candidates down-ballot.
Senator Marco Rubio is up 7 points over Congressman Patrick Murphy, whom 21% of voters say they’ve never heard of. While Murphy continues to struggle with name recognition, Rubio is winning voters that other Republicans aren’t, according to University of North Florida pollster Michael Binder.
“Republican voters who are voting for Clinton, 42 percent of them are willing to split their ticket and come back to Rubio. And even though that’s not a huge number of Republicans voting for Clinton, it is significant in that if Clinton were to win Florida, Rubio’s not losing a lot of the Republicans that Donald Trump has lost,” he said.
UNF conducted the poll before a 2005 videotape surfaced showing Donald Trump disparaging women, and therefore doesn't reflect any possible backlash from the video. But Michael Binder says the results suggest Rubio is immune to some of the issues that are plaguing Trump, at least for now.
“He’s doing better amongst Democrats than Murphy is doing among Republicans. Rubio, not necessarily surprisingly, but he’s ahead in the Hispanic vote, which has been Trump’s Achilles’ heel in Florida for the past year. So he’s making inroads where the current presidential nominee is not,” Binder said.
After the release, Rubio is reaffirming his support of Trump despite what he calls “offensive behavior”. Democrats hope to use Rubio’s endorsement against him in the weeks leading up to Election Day.