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Donald Trump Leads Florida Polls, Despite Call for Muslim Travel Ban

Since announcing his candidacy for president of the United States, Donald Trump has managed to insult Mexicans, women, the Black Lives Matter movement, and Muslims. And in all that time, his lead has only grown in the polls. Specifically in Florida, where a recent St. Leo University poll of likely Florida voters shows the Donald with a 30.6 percent lead among the other GOP candidates in the Sunshine State.

Overall, Trump continues to lead the gaggle of Republican candidates nationally by 13 percent, according to a CBS News poll. Trump has seen a surge in the polls, even after his recent controversial call to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

As for Florida, Trump's popularity has either shrunken or gotten bigger, depending on the news cycle. But he's never relinquished his lead among likely Republican voters in the state.

Going back to September, a Gravis Poll showed Trump holding a 33 percent lead in Florida, with West Palm Beach neurosurgeon Ben Carson coming in with 22 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush coming in third with 15 percent. Before that, Bush had come in at 20 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll released back in June.

But Quinnipiac's August poll showed Bush dropping to 17 percent among Florida's Republican voters, all while Trump began to gain serious momentum, coming from 3 percent to 21 percent among Florida Republicans, which, according to Quinnipiac, reflects the national polling. 

Two weeks after the Gravis Poll, a Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute Poll had Trump getting 24 percent of the vote in Florida, with Bush coming in second with 17 percent.

The recent St. Leo University poll surveyed 404 likely Florida voters between November 29 and December 3, with a margin of error of +/- 5 percent. The poll has Trump leading the GOP pack with 30.6 percent, which is up nearly 5 percent points from a similar survey conducted in October. Meanwhile, Marco Rubio comes in at second place with 15 percent, with Bush in third with 14.3 percent.

It's unclear how much Trump's call on banning Muslims has swayed Florida voters, since there were no specific questions asked about that particular subject. But Trump, who has excelled at leading in the news cycle, did retweet a Christian Broadcasting Network reporter's tweet saying his stance would fly with evangelicals. He has since remained resolute in his call for banning Muslims, even in the face of some in his own party denouncing his comments. This defiance, along with his Twitter feed, has kept Trump in the conversation and has likely gotten his based riled up.

Trump has played the media coverage game almost to perfection and, as studies have shown, that's something that is benefiting him in the polls.

This, according to Five Thirty Eight, is the entirety of his strategy to win the nomination.

However, there is some bad news for Trump, according to the St. Leo University poll.

The survey shows Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton leading Trump in Florida 48.9 percent to 41.2 percent. Her lead only widens when put up against the other Republican candidates. 

Clinton has a commanding 60 percent lead in the poll, with Bernie Sanders coming in second at 26.9 percent. 

Ted Cruz, meanwhile, who has suddenly emerged as Trump's biggest challenger after taking the lead in Iowa polls, Cruz came in with 10.2 percent in the St. Leo University poll, gaining on once-stronger contender Carson.
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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph

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