Trump leads tight race in Florida, says new poll
© Greg Nash

A new poll shows a tight race for the Republican primary in Florida, with Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress Trump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time MORE in the lead, but five candidates showing double-digit support.

All five candidates are within 10 points of each other in the survey, released by the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute (PPI) on Thursday.

Trump maintains his lead in the state with 24.4 percent, followed by former Florida governor Jeb Bush with 16.9 percent, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina with 15.6 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonDole salute embodies emotion of Bush farewell The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Trump says Cohen should go to jail | Nation prepares for Bush 41 funeral | Congress delays votes The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Trump faces pivotal stretch on trade, immigration MORE with 15 percent and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPolitifact names conspiracies about Parkland students as 2018's 'lie of the year' Republicans skeptical of Trump’s plan to have military build the wall Alex Jones heckles Google CEO heading into House hearing MORE (R-Fla.) with 14.9 percent.

The only other candidate to draw more than 2 percent was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who won 4.3 percent.

Despite his lead, pollsters say Trump's ceiling is low due to his high unfavorability rating in the state.

“While Trump is in the lead, his high unfavorable rating and the 30 percent of respondents in the poll who said they would not vote for him suggests there is a low ceiling of support for him in Florida,” Jacksonville University Political Science Professor Paulina S. Rippere said. “As candidates drop out and the field narrows, the poll results indicate that these voters will go to other candidates, and not to Trump.”

Trump has the lowest favorable-unfavorable margin, with 50.1 percent of voters seeing him favorably and 40.3 percent unfavorably. Rubio has the best margin between those who view him favorable versus unfavorably, followed by Carson, Fiorina and Bush.

Republican voters in Florida also expressed a preference for political outsiders rather than Washington insiders.

Respondents said they preferred candidates with business as opposed to government experience by a 44.6 percent to 18 percent margin. A large majority of 66.7 percent did not see lack of prior elected office as a hindrance to becoming president.

With 99 GOP delegates at stake, the Florida primary represents a crucial battleground in the Republican nomination process.

The PPI poll surveyed 585 registered Florida Republicans in cellphone and landline calls from Sept. 17 to Sept. 22. The margin of error for the sample is 4.1 percent.