TALLHASSEE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - With voters sharply divided by gender, race and age, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are virtually tied in Florida as the focus of this year's presidential race shifts from the primaries to the November general election, a new poll shows.
The Quinnipiac University poll, released Tuesday, showed Clinton at 43 percent in Florida and Trump at 42 percent. While Clinton is widely expected to win the Democratic nomination, poll numbers are nearly identical when her primary opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, is matched up against Trump --- 44 percent for Sanders, 42 percent for Trump.
The poll shows Clinton and Trump are unpopular with huge swaths of Florida voters. Each is viewed favorably by only 37 percent of voters and is seen unfavorably by 57 percent.
Also striking is the difference in how women and men view the candidates. Clinton, seeking to become the first woman president, leads by a margin of 48 percent to 35 percent among women, while Trump leads by a margin of 49 percent to 36 percent among men.
Trump leads Clinton by a margin of 52 percent to 33 percent among white voters, while Clinton leads 63-20 among non-white voters. White women are virtually split on the candidates, but Trump leads by a huge margin ---- 61 percent to 25 percent --- among white men, the poll shows.
"Republicans' weakness among minority voters is well known,'' Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, said in an analysis accompanying the results. "But the reason this race is so close overall is Clinton's historic weakness among white men. In Florida, she is getting just 25 percent from white men."
The Connecticut-based Quinnipiac frequently conducts polls in Florida and other swing states. It also released results Tuesday of polls in Ohio and Pennsylvania that showed Trump and Clinton in similarly tight races in those key states.
"Six months from Election Day, the presidential races between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the three most crucial states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, are too close to call," Brown said.
The poll was released as Republican leaders in Florida and across the nation debate whether to support Trump, a New York real-estate developer who has run against the party establishment and made controversial remarks about women and minorities. But Trump blazed through the GOP primaries, including winning 66 of 67 counties in Florida --- losing only in Miami-Dade County to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who lives in the county.
Along with gender and race, the poll shows huge divides in Florida based on age. Clinton leads by a margin of 49 percent to 27 percent among voters ages 18 to 34 and leads 46 percent to 37 percent among voters ages 35 to 49. But the numbers flip with older voters: Trump is up by a margin of 49 percent to 38 percent among voters ages 50 to 64 and leads by a margin of 50 percent to 37 percent among voters 65 and older.
In the end, however, the poll indicates the race in Florida could come down to independent voters. Clinton and Trump each receive support of 39 percent of those voters.
The poll, conducted from April 27 to Sunday, surveyed 1,051 registered voters in Florida and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
Information taken from The News Service of Florida.