Note: This article was initially published on the news site The Tab on 3/15/16.
Floridian presidential candidate Marco Rubio has said that winning the Florida primary is a priority. Although he comes from the Sunshine State, the sun doesn’t seem to be shining on him.
Today, the day of the Florida primary, he is 25 percent behind his GOP rival Donald Trump in the polls.
According to Charles Shields, a Political Science instructor at the University of Florida, a fundamental component of political support is name recognition. He said while Rubio may be recognizable in Florida, Trump is still the most candidate recognized in the state.
“There isn’t a single American who doesn’t know who Trump is,” Shields said.
Political Science student Eric Schoen said Trump has a massive presence in Florida. From hotels to businesses, Trump has brought a plethora of economic benefits to the state.
However, both Shields and Schoen agree that name recognition alone isn’t the only reason Trump is more popular than Rubio in Florida.
In Schoen’s opinion, Rubio is the least morally disreputable Republican candidate. However, he clarified that Rubio hasn’t been involved in big government for long.
“One of his negatives and positives is that he hasn’t done anything yet,” Schoen said. “Rubio is very inexperienced, so he shouldn’t be the most powerful person in the world.”
Shields attributes Trump’s success over Rubio as an issue of failure in both major political parties.
“The Democrats didn’t put enough effort into defeating Trump until it was too late,” he said.
He also attributed some of the blame to the Republican party. He said Trump has behaved very inappropriately, especially by Republican standards.
“It’s unfathomable that a party based around structure and effectiveness is failing at this time,” Shields said.
However, he said this is all just speculation, as it will be very hard to truly understand this presidential race until it is over. Shields also admitted his non-affiliation with the Republican party has probably led to his lack of ability to comprehend Trump’s success.
“I feel like I would have a better understanding of the thought process that goes into supporting Trump if I were a Republican,” he said.
Juliette Morgan, a Journalism major, has her own ideas regarding Trump’s success: “Donald Trump makes an ass of himself on TV, so people like how honest he is.”
She also said there is a large amount of elderly conservatives in Florida, as well as uneducated voters who will support Trump simply based on name and television presence alone.
Regardless of Morgan, Schoen, and Shields all saying they prefer Rubio to Trump, they agree Trump is going to win the Republican primary.
“Losing the primary will clearly be the end of Rubio’s campaign,” said Shields.
Schoen, despite his lack of support for the candidate, said he believes Trump will not only win the Florida primary, but will most likely become the next president of the United States.
He said: “Rubio is a very small fish trying to swim with the big sharks.”