A new Mason-Dixon poll finds the Sunshine State evenly divided on a Jeb Bush presidential bid
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (CFP) — A majority of Floridians want U.S. Senator Marco Rubio to seek a second term in 2016 rather than running for the Republican presidential nomination, a new poll finds.
A Mason-Dixon poll of 625 Florida registered voters found just 15 percent want Rubio to run for president, compared to 57 percent who want him to stay in the Senate and 28 percent undecided.
Among Republicans, the sentiment for Rubio to run for re-election was even higher, at 68 percent. Among Latinos, 30 percent want Rubio to run for president, compared to 56 percent who want him to stay in the Senate.
If elected in 2016, Rubio, who is of Cuban descent, would be the nation’s first Latino president.
Rubio, first elected to the Senate in 2010, has said he will give up his seat in 2016 if he decides to run for president, which would present Democrats with a pick-up opportunity.
However, the poll found substantially more support for a White House bid by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, with 42 percent saying Bush should run for president and 43 percent saying he shouldn’t, with just 15 percent undecided.
The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
Bush and Rubio are part of a group of nine Southerners — eight Republicans and one Democrat — considering a White House bid in 2016.
Among the potential Southern GOP candidates are former governors Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Rick Perry of Texas; U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas; and Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
On the Democratic side, former U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has already launched an exploratory committee for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination — a race that’s expected to be dominated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a former first lady of Arkansas.