Mason-Dixon Polling & Research said its survey last week of 820 likely Florida voters showed Rubio with a 7-point edge on Murphy. Rubio leads 47 percent to 40 percent for Murphy, with the poll having a margin-of-error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percent.
While Murphy is trying hard to lash Rubio to the Trump campaign, the Florida senator is drawing some of his strongest backing for Hispanic voters.
Hispanics favor Rubio over Murphy 53 percent to 38 percent — and he is attracting 16 percent of Democratic voters, the survey found.
Rubio’s glut of TV advertising, mostly paid for by outside groups ranging from the National Republican Senatorial Committee to the National Rifle Association, also has helped drive up negative impressions of Murphy among voters.
Mason-Dixon pollsters concluded, “It is extremely difficult now for a Democrat to win in Florida while losing the Hispanic vote.”
In the presidential race, Hillary Clinton’s margin over Donald Trump with Hispanics (64%-29%) is the primary reason she is currently holding a slight statewide lead in Florida.