Joe BidenJoe BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system MORE holds a 6-point lead over President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE in Florida, according to a new poll from the University of North Florida released on Monday, giving the former vice president an early leg up in the nation’s largest swing state.
The poll shows Biden with the backing of 46 percent of registered voters in the Sunshine State, while Trump comes in with 40 percent support.
Michael Binder, the director of UNF’s Public Opinion Research Lab, said that Biden’s lead should be taken with caution. The survey results are based on responses from 3,244 registered Florida voters, rather than likely voters, making it difficult to compare to past election data.
At the same time, Binder noted, the 2020 campaign season has been stopped in its tracks by the coronavirus pandemic as candidates have called off in-person events and largely halted their travel schedules.
“I would exercise caution when looking at these numbers, first these are registered voters — not likely voters; second, the campaign season has screeched to a grinding halt and people are rightly less focused on politics,” Binder said.
Still, he said, the same sample of voters indicated a slight advantage for Trump in 2016, when the real estate mogul carried the state over his Democratic rival at the time Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE. That suggests that “something may be changing in Florida ahead of the election,” Binder said.
One potentially positive sign for Biden is in Jacksonville, where the former vice president leads Trump by 8 points. Republicans have carried Duval County, which encompasses Jacksonville, in every presidential election since 1980, though the party’s margin of victory has narrowed in recent years.
Andrew Gillum, who unsuccessfully sought the Florida governor’s mansion in 2018, won also won in Duval, making him the first Democratic gubernatorial candidate in decades to carry the county.
With 29 electoral votes and a history of unpredictable election results, Florida is considered the largest battleground of the 2020 presidential race. Both parties have poured huge sums of money into the state in an effort to gain an edge there. Trump, who owns multiple properties in the Sunshine State and spends a significant amount of time there, also declared residency status in the state last year.
The UNF poll surveyed 3,244 registered voters in Florida via email from March 31 to April 4. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.7 percentage points.