Republican presidential candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has been taking big strides toward first place in the important early nominating state of New Hampshire since the third Republican debate. A new poll shows him in third place and within 10 points of real estate mogul and front-runner Donald Trump.
That popularity in the state is a huge jump for Rubio from September, when the most recent WBUR Boston poll was conducted in the state. Rubio attracted just 2 percent of the vote in September, putting him in a tie with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The first term senator now carries 9 percent of the vote. Trump experienced a drop from 20 percent to 18 percent during that time, as did retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, who slipped from 17 percent to 15 percent.
Rubio was joined by one other candidate who experienced a gain of more than one point, and managed not to drop in the polls. Christie jumped 5 points to 7 percent of the vote. That means he’s tied for fifth place with the rapidly declining former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was at one point the front-runner.
Between the two governors and Rubio is Ohio Gov. John Kasich, with 8 percent of the vote.
As Rubio has risen in polls around the country, he has also been the subject of increased scrutiny. Trump, known for his attacks and his politically incorrect approach to politics, has attacked the senator for his personal finances. Rubio has dismissed the allegations that he misused a Florida state GOP credit card, saying that he set up the line of credit and paid for all of the personal charges with his own money. Speaking on George Stephanopoulos’s Good Morning America Wednesday morning, Rubio laughed when a video of Trump attacking him came on.
Trump has been targeting Rubio for a while, however. Early in October, Trump sent him a care package with water bottles, towels and a note making fun of the Floridian for sweating. Rubio later laughed off the package and the attacks and has said he thinks it’s funny to provoke Trump.