Poll: Front-runners lead in Florida, close contests in Ohio

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(CNN) — New state polls released ahead of critical primaries on Tuesday find Donald Trump poised to deliver a knockout blow to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in his home state, while the Republican front-runner is tied with Ohio Gov. John Kasich on his turf.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by a wide margin in Florida, while her advantage over Sanders in Ohio is narrower.

According to the new polling from Quinnipiac University published Monday, Trump has a wide lead on the Republican field in Florida, where he tops Rubio 46% to 22%. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz follows in third place with 14% support, with Kasich in last at 10%.

The new results mirror CNN’s poll of polls in Florida, where Trump leads Rubio at an average of 40% to 26%. Despite Rubio’s public optimism, the new poll suggests Florida — where Rubio has staked his campaign’s future — might serve as a humbling barrier for his White House bid.

On the GOP side in Ohio, the new poll shows Trump and Kasich are tied at 38% each. Cruz places third with the support of 16% of Ohio Republicans, while Rubio finishes a distant fourth at 3% — after his campaign told supporters to back Kasich in Ohio, as part of a strategic effort to prevent Trump from padding his delegate lead there.

For the Democrats, Clinton’s lead in Florida appears secure, as she is ahead of Sanders 60% to 34% in the Sunshine State, according to the Quinnipiac poll.

Ohio is a much closer affair, where Sanders trails Clinton by only 5 points, 46% to 51%.

The new poll shows that Ohio — which is culturally and economically comparable to Michigan, where Sanders pulled off a massive upset win last Tuesday — offers Sanders a chance this Tuesday to upend Clinton in a big swing state, pick up much-needed delegates, and infuse his bid with another dose of momentum.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted from March 8-March 13. Quinnipiac University surveyed 615 Florida likely Republican primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points; 519 Florida likely Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percentage points; 721 Ohio likely Republican primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points; and 543 Ohio likely Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points.

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