For the entire month of September, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum lead former Congressman Ron DeSantis in every public poll of the governor’s race. Now in early October, two new polls show the race has narrowed to a statistical dead heat.
A new survey by Mason-Dixon shows Gillum leading DeSantis 45%-44% with 8% undecided. With a margin of error of ± 3.5 percent, that means the two candidates are tied. DeSantis has narrowed the gap within the past week, offering some evidence to back the antidotal theory that Republicans are returning to the GOP after the heated Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation process in Washington.
“The poll was conducted over the same days as the Kavanaugh hearings, which by most measures, appears to have galvanized Republicans,” said Brad Coker, CEO of Mason-Dixon Polling. “Any lingering divisions between DeSantis primary voters and Putnam primary voters are probably mending as a result.”
Mason-Dixon receives a B+ grade in the FiveThirtyEight pollster rankings. Another survey conducted on behalf of Gray Television stations shows Gillum with a 44%-43% lead over DeSantis, seemingly confirming the race is tied.
In the Mason-Dixon poll, Gillum leads with women, blacks and Hispanics. DeSantis leads with men and white voters. The two are tied – 41% to 41% – with independent voters. Gillum has a comfortable lead in southeast Florida (58-31), and a slight lead in the Tampa Bay region (46-45). DeSantis leads in North, Central and Southwest Florida.
The Mason-Dixon poll was conducted September 24-27 and surveyed 815 likely voters via land-line and cell phones.
The new polls are a come to reality moment for the Gillum campaign which has pushed the narrative of a runaway win. Other than Bill Nelson, no Democrat has won a statewide race in Florida in two decades. This is also a likely indicator that the DeSantis campaign has found its footing after a rough start following the Republican primary. DeSantis has beefed up his austere campaign team and has been aggressive in attacking Gillum’s proposed policies.
With nearly 2.5 million absentee ballots arriving in mailboxes this week, Floridians are voting and will do so the next 34 days.