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Poll: Rubio, Bush lead GOP field in Florida, narrowly trail Clinton

But a Quinnipiac University poll finds a majority of Sunshine State voters think Clinton isn’t trustworthy

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

florida mugGAINESVILLE, Fla. (CFP) — Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the state’s U.S. senator, Marco Rubio, are in a dead heat in the GOP presidential sweepstakes in their home state, and both men are far ahead of the rest of the field, a new poll finds.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush

The Quinniapiac University poll of Florida voters also found that while both Bush and Rubio narrowly trailed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in hypothetical general election match-ups, a majority of Florida voters say they think Clinton isn’t trustworthy.

In the Republican primary race, Bush was the choice of 20 percent of registered Republicans in the poll, with Rubio at 18 percent, which was within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percent. No other candidate was in double digits.

When voters were asked to name both their first and second choices in the crowded GOP field, Rubio was either the first or second choice of 36 percent of respondents; Bush, 33 percent.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

Florida  is likely to loom large in the 2016 Republican presidential contest. The state legislature moved the primary to March 15, which will make Florida first among the four largest states to hold a primary, and the Florida Republican Party decided to make it a winner-take-all affair, putting a treasure trove of 99 delegates up for grabs.

In Quinniapiac’s hypothetical general election match-ups, Clinton led Rubio 47 percent to 44 percent, just outside the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent. Her lead over Bush was 46 percent to 42 percent.

When asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Clinton, respondents were nearly evenly split, with 47 percent saying they viewed her favorably and 45 percent unfavorably.

However, when they were asked if they found Clinton trustworthy, only 43 percent said yes, while 51 percent said no.

Bush was viewed favorably by 52 percent and unfavorably by 36 percent. Rubio was viewed favorably by 50 percent and unfavorably by 34 percent.

Florida has become a key bellweather state in presidential politics. The last person to win the White House without carrying the state was Bill Clinton in 1992, and in the last 16 presidential elections, the winner carried Florida 14 times.

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