JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida, and its 29 electoral votes, are critical to any path to the White House.
According to a University of North Florida/First Coast News poll published Wednesday, President Donald Trump is trailing former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Vice President Joe Biden in a hypothetical match-up for the Sunshine State. The poll shows Bloomberg leading the President among Florida voters 50 percent - 44 percent. While Biden leads Trump 49 percent - 48 percent.
The poll shows Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are tied with Trump. The President leads both Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg by 4 percentage points.
Trump's job approval in Florida is underwater in the poll. Fifty-one percent of respondents disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job, while 47 percent approve. Inside those numbers, 41 percent 'strongly disapprove' while 31 percent 'strongly approve'.
The poll was conducted by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab from Feb. 10 to Feb. 18 included 725 registered voters answering the questions of pollsters over the phone. The party breakdown of the respondents were 37 percent Democrat, 35 percent Republican, 28 percent no party/other. The margin of error in the poll was 3.6 percent.
Professor Michael Binder, PhD is the director of UNF's polling lab. In recent years polls from UNF had gained national recognition and respect, but Binder admits his poll, and the entire polling industry need to earn back the public's trust after missing the mark in 2016. He says they learned a lot by looking back on their polling once the actual voting in November was done. He says the lab is applying those lessons to its polling this year.
"In 2016, there was a big relationship between whether you were college educated or not and who you voted for," Binder said. "And there is a big relationship between if you are college educated and whether you take college surveys. The more educated you are, the more inclined you are to take these surveys. So what happened was we had too many educated people in our sample which over-estimated for Clinton in some circumstances."
The job approval news is positive for both of Florida's Republican Senators. Senator Marco Rubio's job approval stands at 49%-36%. Senator Rick Scott's is 44%-36%.
Tomorrow, poll results on issues that concern Florida voters will be released.