Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate MORE has widened his lead over President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE in Florida, according to a poll released Thursday, the latest sign that the president is facing an increasingly difficult battle in his adopted home state.
The survey, conducted by St. Pete Polls for the website Florida Politics and AARP Florida, shows Biden garnering 50 percent of the vote in the Sunshine State, while Trump trails with 44 percent. That’s a notable improvement for Biden over St. Pete Polls’ last survey of the presidential race in Florida in late May, which showed the two candidates in a statistical tie.
Since then, however, Florida has emerged as a new epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic as COVID-19 cases in the state have surged, with many blaming Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisCalifornia dreaming did not become reality for Republicans Florida landlord requiring proof of vaccinations from tenants Anthrax was the COVID-19 of 2001 MORE (R), a staunch ally of Trump's, for reopening the state too quickly after an initial lockdown.
Since May, Biden has picked up significant support from Florida independents, according to the poll. He now carries the support of 53 percent of independents in the state compared to the 39 percent who back Trump. In May, Biden led Trump among independents 47 percent to 44 percent.
Biden also performs slightly better among Democratic voters than Trump does among Republican voters. Eighty-one percent of Democrats surveyed said they will support their party’s presumptive nominee in November, while 15 percent would choose Trump. Among Republicans, 78 percent said they are committed to Trump, while nearly 18 percent support Biden.
Taken together, the poll’s findings could spell trouble for Trump in the nation’s largest swing state and one that his campaign sees as crucial to his reelection in November. He won the state narrowly in 2016, and a loss there this year could deal a potentially fatal blow to his quest for the 270 electoral votes he needs to win a second term.
Trump, who officially became a Florida resident last year, has spent more campaign money on advertising in Florida than in any other state — a staggering $40 million, according to an analysis of advertising data by The Hill. Republican groups have spent another $16.1 million on advertising in the state.
The survey from St. Pete Polls shows Trump and Biden largely carrying the parts of the state that candidates from their respective parties typically rely on. Trump, for instance, holds a wide lead in the Pensacola and Panama City media markets in the Florida Panhandle, while Biden is ahead in the Miami and West Palm Beach media markets.
But Biden is also leading among voters in the Orlando and Tampa media markets along the state’s I-4 corridor, perhaps the most crucial electoral battlefield in Florida. The former vice president also leads in the Fort Myers media market in southwest Florida, a part of the state typically carried by Republicans.
The survey from St. Pete Polls is based on responses from 3,018 likely Florida voters and was conducted from July 13 to 14. It has a margin of error of 1.8 percentage points.