In stunning fashion with just one week before primary Election Day, the Republican race for governor is tied. This according to a new poll released Tuesday by Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative. The survey found Congressman Ron DeSantis leading Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam 32 to 31 percent, with 22 percent undecided. The FAU survey confirms a Survey USA poll released last week that showed DeSantis leading Putnam 40%-38%, with 18% undecided.
This tightening is surprising considering there have been no dramatic changes in the GOP race that would warrant a dramatic shift in public opinion. Since DeSantis was endorsed by President Donald Trump in late June, and then at a public even in July, public polls have shown DeSantis with a double-digit lead over Putnam. The last FAU poll, conducted in July, showed DeSantis with a nine-point lead.
“Adam Putnam appears to have regained some of his footing in the gubernatorial race,” said Kevin Wagner, Ph.D., professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of the Initiative. “The difference may be which candidate is better able to turnout their supporters in the next week.”
Commissioner Putnam appears to have correctly called the adjustment in the race last week when he told FLA News, “It is an indication of coming off the ‘Trump bump,’ I believe, you’re seeing a return to normalcy in this race.”
The DeSantis campaign maintains it holds a healthy lead in the contest, with its internal poll showing a double-digit lead. Sources tell FLA News a private poll by the Florida Chamber, which has endorsed Putnam, has the race tied at 36%.
On the Democrat side, the FAU poll shows former Congresswoman Gwen Graham with a double-digit lead over her opponents. She leads former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine 29% to 17%. She led by only four points in the July FAU poll. Jeff Greene and Andrew Gillum are tied for third at 11%.
“One factor driving Graham’s lead is her support among females,” said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of the BEPI. “As the only female candidate, she leads the field with 32 percent of the female vote. Males also support her, but to a lesser degree at 25 percent.”
FAU’s poll was conducted August 16-20 and included 800 registered voters using a combination of online questionnaires and telephone calls. The margin of error in the Republican race is +/- 6.5% while the Democrat survey is +/- 6.3%.