Minority voters help Clinton dominate Sanders in Florida poll

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Clinton. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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Marc Caputo

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Hillary Clinton is maintaining a massive lead over Bernie Sanders in a new Florida Democratic primary poll that shows she’s pulling strong support from African-American and Hispanic voters.

The strong minority support underpinning Clinton’s 54-24 percent lead over Bernie Sanders in the University of North Florida poll bears a resemblance to her outsized backing by black voters in South Carolina, where the former secretary of state beat the Vermont senator by taking an astonishingly high 74 percent of the vote.

Clinton’s support over Sanders with African-Americans was highest, 67-12 percent. Hispanics favored her over Sanders by 66-22 percent. Non-Hispanic white voters backed her 48-30 percent, according to the poll.

Clinton’s campaign Sunday was making a strong push in one of the largest African-American suburbs in South Florida, Miami Gardens, where former President Clinton held a rally with black officials and reminded the crowds that in-person early voting begins Monday in many counties, including heavily minority areas like Miami-Dade County. At least 250,000 Democrats have cast absentee ballots ahead of the March 15 primary.

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Democrats are sure to make race and ethnicity part of the presidential campaign, and many were abuzz Sunday with Republican frontrunner Donald’s Trump’s initial reticence to denounce former KKK leader David Duke, whose endorsement Trump previously had said he disavowed.

At the pro-Clinton rally, Rep. Frederica Wilson of Miami singled out Trump in making her case for Clinton, who would continue President Obama’s legacy.

“She deserves to go back to the White House, but this time as the commander in chief,” Wilson said. “If we elect Donald Trump, all of Obama’s hard work will be wiped out.” 

Wilson also made sure to mention that Clinton would be the first woman president, something female voters of Florida seem to be keenly aware of in the poll. Among women voters polled, Clinton was favored 58-20 percent over Sanders. Men backed her 49-20 percent over Sanders. Clinton also beat Sanders among every age group of voters who were polled. 

The poll of 685 adult registered Democrat likely voters, identified from the Florida voter file, was conducted Feb. 22-27 and has a margin of error of 3.74 percentage points.