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Poll: Trump may be bleeding Republican support among early voters in Florida

Poll finds that nearly 1 in 3 Republicans who voted early voted for Clinton

♦ By Rich Shumate, editor

florida mugGAINESVILLE, Florida (CFP) — A unique poll of Florida voters who have already cast ballots for the November 8 election finds that Donald Trump may be bleeding Republican voters, allowing Hillary Clinton to open up a substantial lead in the early vote.

white-house-chaseThe TargetSmart/William & Mary poll found that 27 percent of Republicans who had cast ballots at the time of the poll, taken October 25-30, said they voted for Clinton over Trump, while just 6 percent of Democrats had chosen Trump over Clinton.

If that polling result is accurate, it would mean a net shift of 206,000 votes to Clinton as of November 3, when the count of Republicans who voted early approached 1 million.

Among voters affiliated with neither party, the poll found 40 percent for Clinton and 43 percent for Trump. Among all early voters, Clinton led Trump by a 17-point margin, 55 percent to 38 percent.

However, TargetSmart/William & Mary also polled Florida voters who had not yet cast ballots, which showed the race as a tie, with Trump at 43 percent and Clinton at 42 percent, mirroring the results of other national polls.

The poll used both online contact and telephone surveys; therefore, it did not constitute a random sample, and no margin of error could be specified. Also, the sample size was small, including only 311 early voters and 407 people who hadn’t voted.

Still, given that more than 20 percent of registered voters in the Sunshine State cast ballots as of November 3 – including nearly 1 million registered Republicans – any significant erosion of GOP support could present difficulties for Trump’s quest to carry the state. By contrast, Mitt Romney took 93 percent of the Republican vote in 2012.

The poll also combined the early and non-early results in the poll and did a demographic analysis which showed Trump trailing Clinton by a whopping 86-point margin among African-American voters and by 29 points among Latinos.

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