Skip to main content
CloseSearch

Biden Competitive Across State

Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020

Military vote weak for incumbent

West Long Branch, NJ – Joe Biden holds a 3 to 5 point lead over Donald Trump in Florida, depending on a range of likely voter models. The Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll finds Biden with a large lead among Latino voters, but also suggests there are some possible signs of strength for Trump among older voters in this group. However, Biden has a sizable advantage in solidly Democratic areas of the state as well as more competitive counties. Trump holds a smaller than usual lead for a Republican incumbent among the large veteran vote contingent. The poll also finds widespread voter support for ballot measures to raise the minimum wage and to change the state primary election process.

Among all registered voters in Florida, the race for president stands at 50% for Biden and 45% for Trump. Another 2% support Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian) and less than 1% back Howie Hawkins (Green), while 3% are undecided. Voter intent includes 41% who say they are certain to vote for Biden (versus 40% who say they are not at all likely to support the Democrat) and 38% who are certain to support Trump (versus 49% who are not at all likely).

FLORIDA: VOTER MODELS
PresidentRegistered
voters
High likely
turnout
Low likely
turnout
Biden50%50%49%
Trump45%45%46%
Other2%1%1%
Undecided3%3%3%
 Source:  Monmouth University Poll, Sep. 10-13, 2020

Under a likely voter scenario with a somewhat higher level of turnout than in 2016, the race is unchanged at 50% for Biden and 45% for Trump. The margin narrows slightly to 49% Biden and 46% Trump when using a likely voter model with lower turnout. The last two presidential elections in Florida were decided by a single percentage point.

The Democrat has a large advantage among voters of color (70% to 22%) although the lead is smaller among Latino voters specifically (58% to 32%). According to the 2016 exit poll conducted by Edison Research for the national networks, Hillary Clinton won Florida’s Latino vote by 27 points (62% to 35%).

“Biden’s current lead among Latinos is similar to Clinton’s margin four years ago. One difference, though, is how Florida’s Latino electorate has shifted since 2016. There has been an influx of residents from Puerto Rico and a growing number of young voters. These groups tend to be more Democratic, which actually suggests that Trump could be doing slightly better among older Latino voters than he did four years ago,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The poll finds a tight race among Florida voters age 65 and older – 49% support Trump to 47% back Biden. Polls in other states have shown a preference for the Democrat among this age group and a recent national Monmouth poll put the “65+ vote” at 54% for Biden and 43% for Trump. The difference in Florida appears to be driven by older Latino voters. Among white voters age 65 and older, Trump holds a 52% to 45% lead in Florida which is similar to his 51% to 44% lead with this group nationally. Among voters of color in that age category, Biden has a 54% to 37% lead in Florida which is smaller than his 76% to 22% lead nationally. These differences among senior voters of color are technically within the survey margin of error for this group due to very small subsamples, but they are responsible for the variation in overall senior voter preferences between Florida and the national poll results.

Trump leads among white voters (56% to 39%), but this is smaller than his 32-point margin in the 2016 exit poll (64% to 32%). Trump has solid support among white voters without a college degree (65% to 29%), but Biden has a sizable edge among white college graduates (57% to 43%).

Biden currently holds a significant advantage in 7 counties where the vote margins were closest in the 2016 presidential election. The Democrat has a 60% to 33% lead among registered voters in these swing counties* where Clinton won the aggregate vote by a single point. Biden also racks up a sizable 63% to 34% margin in counties that went solidly for Clinton by a similar 27 points in 2016. Trump leads in the counties he won handily (60% to 33%), also by a similar 26 points four years ago.

Looking at regional strength another way, Biden currently has a 29-point lead (63% to 34%) in the 3-county southeast coastal portion of the state. He also has a small 6-point edge (50% to 44%) in central Florida. Trump leads in the rest of the state by 9 points (51% to 42%). In 2016, Clinton won the southeast by 28 points, but Trump won central Florida by less than a percentage point. He also won the remainder of the state by 19 points.

“The current picture has Biden maintaining a typical Democratic advantage in southern Florida while making notable inroads in other parts of the state,” said Murray.

Another key bloc in Florida is the military vote. Just over one-third of the state’s electorate reside in veteran or military households. Among these voters, Trump leads Biden by just 4 points – 50% to 46%.

A majority (56%) of Florida voters say that Trump respects our military troops and veterans either a great deal (40%) or some (16%). However, significantly more (70%) say the same of Biden (48% great deal and 22% some). Among voters in military and veteran households, 60% say the incumbent respects the military (43% great deal and 17% some) and 69% say the challenger does (49% great deal and 20% some).

“Trump won the vet vote by double digits four years ago but isn’t anywhere near that level now. Are the incumbent’s alleged negative statements about the military responsible? We can’t say for certain since we don’t have a prior trend on this question. But it sure can’t be helping,” said Murray.

The president gets generally poor marks for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak – 44% say he has done a good job and 53% say he has done a bad job. However, Biden does not have a clear edge over the incumbent on this issue. Voters are split on whether they feel confident (49%) or not confident (51%) in Trump’s ability to put the country on the road to recovery from the pandemic. The results are similar for Biden – 49% confident and 49% not confident.

Overall, Biden earns better personal ratings than Trump. Among registered voters, 47% have a favorable view of the Democrat and 44% have an unfavorable opinion of him. By comparison, 41% have a favorable view of Trump and 51% have an unfavorable opinion of him.

– Other poll findings –

The Monmouth University Poll also asked about two amendments on the Florida ballot this November and finds that both currently surpass the 60% support level required for passage. This includes 67% of registered voters who support a measure to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15.00 an hour by 2026. Just 26% say they will vote against this. Also, 63% of voters plan to vote for changing the state’s primary system for state and local offices to an open “jungle” format where the top two vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation. Just 21% oppose this.

More than 1 in 3 (37%) Florida voters plan to mail their ballot this fall. Another 25% say they will vote at an early in-person site and just one-third (33%) will go to their polling place on Election Day. Just over half (51%) of Biden voters say they will vote by mail this year, 26% will vote early in person, and just 18% will go to the polls on Election Day. By contrast, nearly half (48%) of Trump voters intend to vote on November 3rd versus 26% who will vote early in person and 22% who will vote by mail. More than 6 in 10 (63%) Florida voters are at least somewhat confident that the November election will be conducted fairly and accurately, including 62% of Trump voters and 66% of Biden voters.

Looking at other political figures in Florida, senior U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio earns a split 37% favorable and 38% unfavorable rating, with 25% having no opinion of him. The state’s junior senator, and former governor, Rick Scott has a net negative 31% favorable and 46% unfavorable rating, with 23% having no opinion of him. Current Gov. Ron DeSantis gets a split 38% favorable and 39% unfavorable opinion, with 23% having no opinion of him. Florida voters are also divided on whether DeSantis has done a good job (48%) or bad job (47%) handling the coronavirus outbreak.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from September 10 to 13, 2020 with 428 Florida registered voters. The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

* 2016 presidential margin by county groupings:

Swing (21% of turnout) – 7 counties where the winning margin for either candidate was less than 10 points, with a cumulative vote of 48.6% Clinton and 47.6% Trump (Duval, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Monroe, Pinellas, Seminole, St. Lucie).

Clinton (37% of turnout) – Clinton won these 8 counties by 10 points or more, with a cumulative vote of 62.1% to 35.2% (Alachua, Broward, Gadsden, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach).

Trump (43% of turnout) – Trump won these 52 counties by 10 points or more, with a cumulative vote of 61.6% to 35.1% (remainder of state).

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

1.If the election for President was today, would you vote for … Donald Trump the Republican, Joe Biden the Democrat, Jo Jorgensen the Libertarian, or Howie Hawkins of the Green Party?  [NAMES WERE ROTATED] [If UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following candidates at this moment, who do you lean toward – Donald Trump or Joe Biden?]

 REGISTERED VOTERS
(with leaners)
Sept.
2020
Donald Trump45%
Joe Biden50%
Jo Jorgensen2%
Howie Hawkins<1%
(VOL) No one1%
(VOL) Undecided3%
(n)(428)

[1A.  If Trump/Biden voter, ASK: Are you certain about your vote choice, or might you change your mind before election day?]

[QUESTIONS 2 & 3 WERE ROTATED]

2.What is the likelihood that you might vote for Donald Trump in November – very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Certain for Trump (from Q1/A)38%
Very likely 2%
Somewhat likely 6%
Not too likely3%
Not at all likely49%
(VOL) Don’t know2%
(n)(428)

3.What is the likelihood that you might vote for Joe Biden in November – very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Certain for Biden (from Q1/A)41%
Very likely 3%
Somewhat likely 7%
Not too likely6%
Not at all likely40%
(VOL) Don’t know3%
(n)(428)

4.There will be a measure on the ballot that would raise the state minimum wage to $10.00 per hour next year, and increase it by $1.00 each year until it reaches $15.00 per hour. Will you vote for or against this measure?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
For67%
Against26%
(VOL) Will not vote on this1%
(VOL) Don’t know6%
(n)(428)

5.Another measure on the ballot would change Florida’s primary election system for state offices such as governor and legislature. All candidates will appear on the same primary ballot and all voters will be eligible to vote regardless of party registration. The top two vote getters in the primary advance to the general election. Will you vote for or against this measure?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
For63%
Against21%
(VOL) Will not vote on this1%
(VOL) Don’t know15%
(n)(428)

[QUESTIONS 6 & 7 WERE ROTATED]

6.Is your general impression of Donald Trump very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable, or do you have no opinion?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Very favorable28%
Somewhat favorable13%
Somewhat unfavorable6%
Very unfavorable45%
No opinion7%
(n)(428)

7.Is your general impression of Joe Biden very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable, or do you have no opinion?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Very favorable25%
Somewhat favorable22%
Somewhat unfavorable9%
Very unfavorable35%
No opinion9%
(n)(428)

8.Please tell me if your general impression of each of the following people is favorable or unfavorable, or if you don’t really have an opinion. [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

Marco Rubio

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Favorable37%
Unfavorable38%
No opinion25%
(n)(428)

Rick Scott

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Favorable31%
Unfavorable46%
No opinion23%
(n)(428)

Ron DeSantis

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Favorable38%
Unfavorable39%
No opinion23%
(n)(428)

9.Do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the 2020 presidential election? [Is that very or somewhat optimistic/pessimistic]?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Very optimistic30%
Somewhat optimistic35%
Somewhat pessimistic16%
Very pessimistic14%
(VOL) Neither, don’t care2%
(VOL) Don’t know3%
(n)(428)

10.How motivated are you to vote in the November election for president – very motivated, somewhat motivated, or not that motivated?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Very motivated88%
Somewhat motivated8%
Not that motivated3%
(VOL) Don’t know0%
(n)(428)

11.Compared to past elections, are you more enthusiastic than usual, less enthusiastic, or about the same as past elections?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
More enthusiastic47%
Less enthusiastic12%
About the same39%
(VOL) Don’t know1%
(n)(428)

12.How will you vote this year – in person on Election Day, in person at an early voting location, or by mail ballot?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
In person on Election Day33%
In person at an early voting location25%
By mail ballot37%
(VOL) Won’t vote at all1%
(VOL) Don’t know4%
(n)(428)

13.Overall, how confident are you that the November election will be conducted fairly and accurately – very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Very confident23%
Somewhat confident40%
Not too confident24%
Not at all confident13%
(VOL) Don’t know1%
(n) (428)

[QUESTIONS 14 & 15 WERE ROTATED]

14.Has Donald Trump done a good job or bad job handling the coronavirus outbreak?  [Is that very or somewhat good/bad?]

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Very good29%
Somewhat good15%
Somewhat bad8%
Very bad45%
(VOL) Don’t know3%
(n)(428)

15.Has Governor Ron DeSantis done a good job or bad job handling the coronavirus outbreak?  [Is that very or somewhat good/bad?]

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Very good25%
Somewhat good23%
Somewhat bad16%
Very bad31%
(VOL) Don’t know5%
(n)(428)

[QUESTIONS 16 & 17 WERE ROTATED]

16.How confident are you that Donald Trump can put the country on the road to recovery from the pandemic – very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Very confident33%
Somewhat confident16%
Not too confident11%
Not at all confident40%
(VOL) Don’t know1%
(n)(428)

17.How confident are you that Joe Biden can put the country on the road to recovery from the pandemic – very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Very confident21%
Somewhat confident28%
Not too confident12%
Not at all confident37%
(VOL) Don’t know2%
(n)(428)

[QUESTIONS 18 & 19 WERE ROTATED]

18.Would you say Donald Trump respects our military troops and veterans a great deal, some, not much, or not at all?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Great deal40%
Some16%
Not much15%
Not at all27%
(VOL) Don’t know2%
(n)(428)

19.Would you say Joe Biden respects our military troops and veterans a great deal, some, not much, or not at all?

REGISTERED VOTERSSept.
2020
Great deal48%
Some22%
Not much10%
Not at all14%
(VOL) Don’t know6%
(n)(428)

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from September 10 to 13, 2020 with a statewide random sample of 428 Florida voters drawn from a list of registered voters. This includes 166 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 262 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English and Spanish. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The survey contacted a small oversample of Hispanic voters, but the full sample is proportionately weighted for party registration, age, gender, race, education, and region based on state voter registration list information and U.S. Census information (CPS 2018 supplement). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Aristotle (voter sample). For results based on the full voter sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
REGISTERED VOTERS
 
Party Registration
35% Republican
28% Other/none
37% Democrat
 
Self-Reported Party
33% Republican
35% Independent
32% Democrat
 
47% Male
53% Female
 
20% 18-34
22% 35-49
28% 50-64
31% 65+
 
66% White, non-Hispanic
13% Black
18% Hispanic
  2% Asian
  1% Other race
 
64% No degree
36% 4 year degree
 

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs