Poll gives Clinton wide lead in Florida, with strong GOP support

Democrat Hillary Clinton enjoys an eight-point lead over Donald Trump in Florida, a key presidential battleground, according to a new survey, and that’s due in no small part to significant crossover support from 28 percent of early voting Republicans.

The poll, by TargetSmart, a political data firm, and the College of William and Mary, was first reported Tuesday night on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. It will be released Wednesday.

TargetSmart CEO Tom Bonier said on the show that its tracking survey of early voters in Florida, combined with its projections for likely voters, found that Clinton led Republican nominee Trump in the state, 48-40 percent. He said 28 percent of early voting Republicans cast ballots for her, while just six percent of Democrats who voted early sided with Trump.

Bonier said the results were “challenging the conventional wisdom of what we’ve seen so far.” Clinton, he said, “was performing incredibly strong with registered Republican voters.”

The survey was taken largely before the news last Friday that the FBI had renewed its inquiry into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Some polls have shown a slight tightening of the race since then, including in Florida.

By all accounts, its 29 electoral votes are crucial if he is to have a chance to reach the 270 necessary to win the White House. Most analysts say Clinton has more routes to that number than Trump and can without Florida in her column.

David Goldstein: 202-383-6105, @GoldsteinDavidJ