Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump remains standing at the front of the stage as his rivals head to their podiums at the start of a debate in Detroit, Mich., March 3, 2016.
Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

Latest polling sets stage for next round of Republican races

With the Republicans’ presidential primary in Florida now just five days away, it’s hard not to notice the one candidate who appears to be in a dominant position. This Fox News poll was released yesterday afternoon:
1. Donald Trump: 43%
2. Marco Rubio: 20%
3. Ted Cruz: 16%
4. John Kasich: 10%
The University of North Florida also released a survey of Republican voters in the state, and it showed a slightly more competitive contest.
1. Donald Trump: 36%
2. Marco Rubio: 24%
3. Ted Cruz: 16%
4. John Kasich: 9%
Note, as we discussed yesterday, the latest polling from Quinnipiac and CNN also show Trump leading Rubio in Florida, the senator’s home state, by margins of 23 points and 16 points, respectively.
When a Monmouth University poll released earlier this week showed Trump’s lead at just eight points, some of the results pointing to lopsided margins seemed like possible outliers. But as more surveys are added to the mix, it’s easier to believe the frontrunner’s advantage really is that large – average the polls together and it looks like Trump’s lead over Rubio is roughly 16 points.
And if Rubio comes up short in his own home state – the primary he’s basing his entire candidacy on – it stands to reason he’ll quit soon after.
Of course, the Sunshine State isn’t the only primary of interest on tap for Tuesday; there’s also a closely watched contest in Ohio, where Fox’s poll offered a surprise:
1. John Kasich: 34%
2. Donald Trump: 29%
3. Ted Cruz: 19%
4. Marco Rubio: 7%
Though several recent polls have shown Trump narrowly leading Kasich in the governor’s home state, this is the first statewide poll in months that has shown Kasich actually leading among his Republican constituents.
The latest FiveThirtyEight projection actually shows Kasich favored to win the Buckeye State.
We’ll see soon enough whether the Ohio governor can score his first primary victory of the year, but if he does, we can count on him sticking around for quite a while, probably in a three-way contest.