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Support for Trump lagging in Florida with less than a month to go

Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop in Miami Tuesday to appeal to millennials, as Trump’s support appears to dwindle in the key swing state.
11 Oct 2016 – 12:52 PM EDT
Clinton has a narrow lead in the key swing state of Florida. Crédito: Getty Images / Collage by David Maris

MIAMI -- With polls showing Hillary Clinton's lead widening over Donald Trump, both candidates brought their campaigns to Florida on Tuesday, acknowledging the vital role of the country's largest swing state to deciding the outcome of the November election.

Fresh off Sunday night's debate, and with the dust still settling over Trump's lewd sexist remarks caught on tape by Access Hollywood, the real estate's mogul's campaign nin Florida appears to be in danger of crumbling.

Miami's influential Latin Builders Association -- the largest Hispanic construction group in the country -- on Monday became the latest conservative-leaning group in the state to throw its support behind Hillary Clinton. It's the first time the mostly Cuban American organization has supported a Democrat for president.

Trump, who spoke Tuesday evening in the Florida Panhandle, had made a concerted effort in recent weeks to win over conservative Cuban Americans, withdrawing his previous support for President Barack Obama's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba and end the 50 year-old embargo against the communist-run island.

"I'm a little disappointed," Trump told a rally in Panama City, referring to the recent polls. "I have created thousands of jobs in Florida. Hillary hasn't created one," he added, noting his various real estate projects in the state.

But the Republican candidate has failed to convince Florida's Hispanic political brass. Only Senator Marco Rubio has offered lukewarm support while Representatives Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have rejected Trump.

“I disagree with him on many things ... I wish we had better choices for President,” Rubio wrote in a statement Tuesday.

In a state where presidential elections have been decided by a mere hundreds of votes, that could make the difference come November 8. According to poll analysis site FiveThirtyEight, Florida is the state with the largest probability of tipping the election.

On Tuesday Clinton appeared in Miami alongside former Vice President Al Gore , a climate-change crusader, who she hopes will appeal to young voters in the low-lying state most at risk from sea level rise.

Gore also recalled the 2000 presidential election in Florida which he lost to George W. Bush by just 537 votes.

“Your vote really, really, really counts,” the former nominee said. “You can consider me as an Exhibit A for that,” he added.

That wasn't the only close election in Florida. In 2012, Barack Obama won by 74,000 votes.

The Republican Party is in open revolt over Trump, with nearly half of all 331 incumbent Republican senators, House members and governors condemning his remarks about women, and roughly one in 10 has called for him to drop out of the race, Reuters reported.

In other bad news for the Trump camp in Florida, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker on MOnday ordered Florida to extend voter registration at least an extra day after the Democrats sued in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, signaling that the Democratic party could push to register more voters in the coming days.

Voter registration was supposed to close at 5 pm Tuesday, and Governor Rick Scott refused to move the deadline, prompting the lawsuit. In Florida, Democrats tend to be more aggressive at registering voters close to Election Day, the Miami Herald reported, particularly honing in on millennials, African Americans and Latinos.

As of October 10, there were more than 12.6 million Floridians registered to vote, with about 4.5 million registered as Republicans and 4.8 million as Democrats, according to the Florida Division of Elections.

Walker said more than 100,000 “aspiring eligible” voters were likely to register in the week before the deadline, when Hurricane Matthew was barreling down on Florida’s east coast.

Among Florida voters overall, Clinton has a narrow lead. Real Clear Politics gives the Democratic candidate a 2.4-point advantage over Trump, using seven recent polls.

Among Florida Latinos, Trump is lagging even more, surveys show.

A Univision poll from Bendixen & Amandi International and The Tarrance Group released this month found that Clinton is gaining support among registered Hispanic voters in Florida. She gained five points since September, putting her at 58%, while Trump's support stands at 28%. The poll shows an even split among Florida's Cuban Americans, a group which has historically voted strongly Republican. In the survey, 41% said they plan to vote for Trump, and another 41% for Clinton.

There's another issue that could drive millennial voters to the polls: to vote for Florida's amendment to legalize medical marijuana. Almost three-quarters of the state's voters approve of the measure, according to a September poll from the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Jessica Weiss and David Adams contributed to this report.