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Hillary Clinton holds significant lead over other Dems in Florida primary

Former Secretary of State holds 39 point advantage

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida's Democratic voters are strongly behind one candidate in the Election 2016 presidential race.

A recent poll conducted by the University of North Florida shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a commanding lead if the state primary were held today.

The statewide survey consisted of more than 600 Democrats who are likely to vote in the upcoming election.

The majority of respondents (54.6 percent) would vote for Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders landed second place with 15.9 percent, followed by Joe Biden at 11.2 percent. Biden announced Wednesday afternoon that he will not be running for president.

When asked who their second choice would be, 24.9 percent of Democratic primary likely voters would select Biden, closely followed by Sanders at 22.3 percent. Nineteen percent of respondents would opt for Clinton.

"The trend that Hillary Clinton is above on the Democrat side with regard to poll numbers is nothing new," News4Jax political analyst Jennifer Carroll said. "She had a strong debated and it just solidified her supporters to come behind her and rally behind her."

When asked what's the most important problem facing the United States today, 32 percent of Democratic primary likely voters think it's the economy, jobs or unemployment. For 13.6 percent of respondents, education is the most important problem, while 12.7 percent believe it's health care.

An overwhelming majority (76.4 percent) of Democratic primary likely voters approve of the way President Barack Obama is handling his job, while 76.5 percent approve of the way Vice President Joe Biden is handling his job. For Marco Rubio, the responses shifted in the opposite direction, with only 22.1 percent approving of the way he is handling his job in the U.S. Senate.

When asked about candidate favorability, the vast majority of Democratic primary likely voters (78.7 percent) have a favorable view of Clinton. Not surprisingly, when Republican primary likely voters were asked the same question, only 10 percent held a favorable view of Clinton. Also, most Democratic primary likely voter respondents -- 80.8 percent -- view Biden favorably.

The most important qualities that Democratic primary likely voters are looking for in the next president are honesty (19.4 percent), followed by leadership (8.2 percent) and integrity (4.5 percent). These results are strikingly similar to those from the Republican Primary likely voter sample.

When asked about the Democratic candidate debate that was held October 13, a slight majority of respondents watched at least some of it (38.3 percent said "yes," 13.2 percent said "only some of it"). Of those who watched the debate, 64.7 percent identify as very liberal.

"One thing about the Democrats is they're not embracing the socialist platform," Carroll said. "They don't understand it, and they think it's a bit too far out there, and I think that's why there was a draft to get Joe Biden to come into the race to be the alternative, in case Hillary Clinton did not fair well during the debate."

The Public Opinion Research Laboratory (PORL), through the use of a 27-station telephone-polling laboratory at the University of North Florida, conducted the telephone survey.