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FAU/Mainstreet Research Poll of Florida Voters Shows Trump Holds Lead Over Biden

The White House

Florida - Tuesday April 23, 2024: Former U.S. President Donald Trump continues to maintain a formidable lead over U.S. President Joe Biden among Florida voters, according to the latest findings from the FAU Political Communication and Public Opinion Research Lab (PolCom Lab) and Mainstreet Research.

The survey found that 50 percent of registered voters in Florida expressed support for Trump, while 42 percent favored Biden. Another 5 percent opted for alternative candidates, while 3 percent remained undecided. Compared with PolCom Lab’s November 2023 poll (Trump 49 percent vs. Biden 39 percent), the gap has slightly decreased.

"Despite this very marginal improvement for Biden, it seems that Florida is going to be a safe state for Trump in this election cycle,” said Kevin Wagner, Ph.D., co-director of FAU’s PolCom Lab and professor of political science.

Race and Gender Disparities in Voting Patterns

Gender disparities are evident, with women leaning toward Biden (46 percent) and men favoring Trump (54 percent). Meanwhile, Biden’s appeal spans older cohorts, while Trump finds stronger support among middle-aged groups. Notably, younger voters show openness to third-party candidates. Trump enjoys higher retention among 2020 supporters and stronger support from Republicans and Independents. However, Biden performs better among Black voters compared to Hispanics and non-college graduate whites. These findings illuminate the complex dynamics shaping Florida’s electorate. All the specific data points can be found at the PolCom Lab’s website.

“If Biden wants to increase his chance of winning in Florida, he has to improve his campaign activities with the traditional Democratic party support base of women, Black, Hispanic and younger cohorts,” said Dukhong Kim, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at FAU.

Floridians Split on Abortion and Marijuana Amendments

Respondents were also asked about Amendment 4 that would allow a woman to seek an abortion up to 24 weeks or before fetal viability. Forty-nine percent of respondents were in support of the ballot initiative. Nineteen percent of respondents were in opposition, while 32 percent did not know whether they supported or opposed the amendment.

Among women surveyed, 49 percent expressed support, with 12 percent in opposition and 39 percent undecided. Notably, Black respondents exhibit the highest support proportion, with approximately 66 percent in favor. White college-educated respondents follow closely, with 55 percent supporting the initiative. A significant portion of respondents, particularly those identifying as “other” (50 percent), express uncertainty, indicating a fluid situation leading up to November.

“In order for the ballot initiative to become a constitutional amendment in Florida’s Constitution, 60 percent of voters need to be in agreement since the rules for a constitutional amendment were changed by the Florida Legislature in 2006,” said Luzmarina Garcia, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science at FAU. “The results point to a 11 percent gain that needs to happen between now and Nov. 5 for the ballot initiative to pass. Since almost one-third of respondents do not know how they would vote if faced with the ballot initiative, this means that it could go either way come November.”

On Amendment 3, proposing recreational marijuana legalization for adults 21 and older, results reveal a narrow margin, with 47 percent in support, 35 percent in opposition, and 18 percent undecided. Age plays a salient role, with younger cohorts showing higher support (ages 18-34, 48 percent; ages 35-49, 68 percent) compared to older groups (ages 65 and over, 36 percent).

Partisan differences are evident, with Democratic voters (58 percent) more supportive than Republicans (39 percent). Racial and ethnic disparities emerge, with Black voters (55 percent) more supportive than Hispanic voters (30 percent), aligning closely with white voters (approximately 50 percent).

Ron DeSantis’ Approval Rebounds and Casey DeSantis Polls Well Early On

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rebounded to pre-presidential race approval among Floridians, with 54 percent of Republicans expressing approval of his governance – similar to his approval rating in July 2023, according to a previous FAU poll . In November 2023, with the presidential primaries looming, he dipped to 50 percent .

Speculation about the 2026 gubernatorial race is increasing with early chatter about possible contenders. Head-to-head, 38 percent of Republican voters voiced preference for Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis over U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz in a hypothetical primary matchup.

“There is clear interest among Republican voters in seeing Casey DeSantis run for governor in 2026,” said Wagner. “This poll also suggests that the race is still open for new candidates to emerge over the next couple of years.”

Issues that Matter to Floridians Vary by Party Affiliation and Voter Engagement

Immigration emerged as the most pressing issue for 25 percent of respondents, followed closely by the economy (23 percent); cost of living (15 percent); and abortion (13 percent). Republicans prioritize immigration (40 percent), while Democrats focus more on abortion (25 percent).

“Partisan differences on immigration and abortion reflect campaign priorities not only of their presidential nominees, but for Republican state officials in Florida as well,” said Aaron Veenstra, Ph.D., associate professor of journalism at FAU.

Older respondents more aligned with parties show greater concern for immigration and abortion, than those who didn’t vote in 2020. They prioritize economic and cost of living concerns.

“Although partisans put significant value on these issues at the center of campaign strategy, those who didn’t vote in 2020 ranked them much lower compared with economic concerns and the cost of living in Florida,” said Veenstra.

Black and Hispanic respondents prioritize the economy as the most important issue, while white college-educated voters prioritize immigration. White non-college educated respondents also put immigration first, but the economy was close behind (27 percent to 25 percent).

The poll was conducted from Monday, April 15 to Wednesday, April 17, among a sample of 865 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in Florida. The survey was conducted using text message recruitment and IVR to complete the survey. Since the text messages were sent to random registered Florida voters, the poll can be assigned a margin of error. The survey is intended to represent the voting population in Florida. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. Margins of error are higher in each subsample.