Marco Rubio might have gone toe-to-toe with Donald Trump in Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate, but the latest polls show he’s getting slapped in his own state.
The latest polls, as conducted by Public Policy Polling, show that Trump leads Rubio even in a head-to-head matchup between the business mogul and the Florida senator. It must be noted, however, that these polls were held before Thursday’s debate, where Rubio relentlessly went after Trump on issues ranging from immigration to his business record.
According to the PPP numbers, Rubio’s problems also extend to his approval rating as Senator, which has dropped to 31%, with 55% disapproving. This is a drastic tumble from the 41/44 spread when PPP last polled the state in September.
When asked whether Rubio should continue with his campaign, only 40% of voters said he should stick it out, versus 44% who believe it’s time for him to drop out.
The Florida GOP primary is seen as an absolute must-win for Rubio. It is his home state, and the primary held on March 15 awards the winner all of its 99 delegates in the race to reach the required number for the party nomination.
Unfortunately for Rubio, the PPP poll corresponds with another poll by Quinnipiac that shows Trump leading Rubio by 16 percentage points; in it, 44% of conservative Floridians show support for the billionaire, versus Rubio’s 28%.
“Florida is the single biggest prize of the primary season because it is the largest state to allocate its delegates on a winner-take-all basis,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement. “If Sen. Rubio can’t win in his own home state, it is difficult to see how he can win elsewhere.”
The next day of voting is on March 1, known as “Super Tuesday,” as GOP members will cast votes in 13 states. Around 25% of the total delegates will be up for grabs.