Marco Rubio has surged past Jeb Bush in Florida -- but Donald Trump is still on top

Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Florida) stock is rising.

A new poll out on Wednesday from Florida Atlantic University found that Rubio has jumped into second place in his home state, vaulting past retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).

At 19%, Rubio now trails only front-runner Donald Trump, who garners 31% support. Bush placed third in the poll with 11%.

“The biggest winner from the debate among Florida voters may be Marco Rubio, who has jumped over both Jeb Bush and Ben Carson into second place,” FAU researcher Kevin Wagner said in a statement.

Rubio has seen a somewhat significant jump after a strong performance in last Wednesday’s second Republican presidential debate. He also picked up 8 points in a CNN poll of Republican voters nationwide, putting him in fourth place overall.

Many pundits and political analysts said Rubio, along with former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, was a clear winner of the debate. Florida voters appeared to agree: 38% of the FAU poll’s respondents said Fiorina “won,” while 14% chose Trump and 11% favoured Rubio.

Rubio’s recent numbers in Florida still present some hurdles, considering the traditional advantages presidential contenders typically see in their home states. A recent Public Policy Polling poll conducted before the debate found that a plurality of Florida voters overall (including Democrats and independents) want Rubio and Bush to drop out of the race.

But in that poll and the FAU survey, Rubio posted some of the highest favorability scores of any Republican candidate. And if Rubio can survive the primary, he could be well positioned to challenge Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

According to FAU’s poll, Rubio would handily defeat Clinton in the key swing state, grabbing 50% of the vote to Clinton’s 42% in a hypothetical match-up.

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