In the days leading up to last night’s presidential debate between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the Florida Chamber Political Institute (FCPI) deemed the race too close to call, the institute reported from Tallahassee.
Spokespersons noted that the institute’s recent statewide poll indicated that many Floridians simply don’t care for either major candidate. Marian Johnson, SVP for political operations, said that it was key for both contenders to “work to connect with voters” during the televised debate.
“Presidential debates offer candidates an opportunity to make solid gains and to improve their outcome at the ballot box,” Johnson said. “I believe Floridians will be watching the candidates closely to learn more about them, and to help determine which way they will vote.”
Clinton polled at 41 percent favorable/55 percent unfavorable, while Trump’s numbers were 39 percent favorable/53 percent unfavorable. Clinton led Trump by several points in the poll, but her lead shrinks slightly when third-party candidates are considered.
Closer to home, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) are also locked in a close contest for the U.S. Senate. Rubio’s ratings were nearly equivalent, at 43 percent favorable/44 percent unfavorable; while Murphy registered at 22 percent favorable/24 percent unfavorable. Significantly, Murphy was the only one of the four which a sizeable portion of the population (29 percent) had “never heard of.”
Voters were found to have a general dislike of political parties themselves, along with “billboard” trial lawyers. Party likes and dislikes were split fairly evenly; only trial lawyers drew substantial unpopularity at 14 percent favorable/35 percent unfavorable.
Issues most important to Florida voters included jobs and the economy, followed by education and schools.