In the Republican presidential primary contests in Florida and Illinois, businessman Donald Trump exhibits continued strength in his bid for the GOP nomination. Trump is also a strong second in Ohio behind the state’s popular governor, John Kasich. On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outpaces Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in Florida and Ohio, but a closer contest exists in Illinois.
“Coming out of ‘Super Tuesday Round Two,’ we should know whether Hillary Clinton has regained her momentum to go along with her current delegate lead,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “We should also have a better sense of whether Donald Trump is on the path to his party’s nomination or whether the GOP is staring at a contested convention in this unprecedented election cycle.”
In Illinois, Trump, 34%, leads Texas Senator Ted Cruz, 25%, among the state’s likely Republican primary voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or who voted by absentee ballot. Kasich follows with 21%, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio trails with 16%.
In Florida, Trump bests favorite son, Rubio, 43% to 22%, among the state’s likely Republican primary electorate. Cruz follows with 21% while Kasich lags behind with 9%.
On Kasich’s home turf of Ohio, Kasich has the support of 39% to 33% for Trump among likely Republican primary voters in Ohio including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or who voted by absentee ballot. Cruz garners 19%, and Rubio has 6% among the likely GOP electorate in Ohio.
In Illinois and Florida, Trump has the advantage among most key demographic groups except for likely Republican primary voters who self-identify as very conservative. Among this voting group, Cruz has the advantage. In Ohio, Kasich draws strength from those who describe themselves as moderate, college graduates, women, or Republicans.
58% of likely Republican primary voters with a candidate preference or who voted by absentee ballot in Illinois, 65% of those in Florida, and 65% of those in Ohio strongly support their choice of candidate. In Illinois and Florida, Trump enjoys the greatest intensity of support among his backers. In Ohio, Trump, Kasich, and Cruz have the identical proportion, 67%, of dedicated followers.
In all three states, Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich vie for the title of most preferred second choice candidate among likely Republican primary voters with a candidate preference including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate.
Looking at the Democratic side in Florida, Clinton receives 61% to 34% for Sanders among the state’s likely Democratic electorate including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or who voted by absentee ballot. In Ohio, Clinton has the support of 58% to 38% for Sanders. In Illinois, Clinton edges Sanders, 51% to 45%, among likely Democratic primary voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or who voted by absentee ballot.
In each of these states, Clinton’s support is bolstered by likely Democratic primary voters who are African American, those over 45 years old, Democrats, or women. Sanders’ support is buoyed by those who self-identify as very liberal, independents, those younger than 45 years old, or first time voters. Sanders outpaces Clinton among Latinos in Illinois and runs competitively with her among these voters in Florida.
75% of likely Democratic primary voters with a candidate preference or who voted by absentee ballot in Florida, 70% of those in Illinois, and 64% of those in Ohio strongly support their candidate of choice. In Illinois and Ohio, Clinton and Sanders enjoy similar intensities of support among their respective backers. However, in Florida, the proportion of Clinton’s supporters, 80%, who report a firm commitment to her is greater than that of Sanders’ backers, 66%, who report the same level of intensity.
When Clinton or Sanders is paired against Trump or Cruz in hypothetical general election matchups, the Democratic candidate has the advantage among registered voters in Illinois and Florida. However, in Ohio, Clinton leads Trump by only 6 points and is 2 points behind Cruz. Sanders leads Trump by 9 points in Ohio and is competitive against Cruz.
When Clinton, 47%, and Rubio, 46%, are paired against each other in Florida, the two are competitive. In Ohio, Kasich leads Clinton by 21 points among registered voters in the state.
54% of Illinois residents, 48% of Floridians, and 45% of Ohio residents approve of the job performance of President Barack Obama. This includes 88% of likely Democratic primary voters in Illinois, 83% of those in Florida, and 83% of the Ohio likely Democratic electorate.